There are plenty of things for youngsters to do while on holiday break

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

After the new toys have been broken in — and many household budgets have been broken — parents might be looking for ways to keep children occupied while they are out of school for the holiday break.

To fend off the doldrums, a host of free or inexpensive options, such as camps and ice skating, is available.

Several venues, such as the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Science Center, have extended their holiday hours.

Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park, 1551 Mayview Road, is hosting a third annual winter camp, said Ryan McCleaster, assistant director for recreation and leisure services.

The camp,Kids Just Wanna Have Fun, began Wednesday and will take place Thursday, Friday and Monday, but children are still being accepted.

The camp will include swimming, arts and crafts and team games for children ages 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and ages 7 to 12 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“(We host it) for another alternative for things to do for the children, during the school recess … trying to get them in here and active,” McCleaster said.

The camp is $75 for a center member, $80 for a township resident who is not a center member and $85 for a resident of another community who is not a member of the center. For details or to register, call 412-221-1099.

Other local options include:

Messy children will find solace at The Carnegie Science Center's MessFest on New Year's Day at Allegheny Center, North Side. Sponsored by WISH 99.7, the event will feature playing with goo, finger-painting, creating “Mars” soil, making sidewalk chalk out of plaster of Paris and tempera paint, and testing packing materials in raw-egg drops.

MessFest will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the center, One Allegheny Ave. The price is included in the cost of admission to the science center. Admission starts at $17.95 for 13 and older and $11.95 for children 3 to 12. Children younger than 3 are free.

The center, which has a host of other child-friendly activities, has extended its operating hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Saturday. The center will be closed on Sunday.

View a calendar at or call 412-237-3400.

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, at 10 Children's Way, North Side, has extended its hours to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through New Year's Eve. For details including pricing, visit or call 412-322-5058.

Local libraries host many free, child-friendly programs, including story times and arts and crafts programs, year-round. To view a compilation of events at local libraries, visit the Allegheny County Library Association's website, Near the middle of the page, click on “Find Programs at ACLA Libraries.”

North Park, on Pearce Mill Road in Allison Park and on Buffalo Drive, in South Park offer ice skating daily, except Mondays. Skating rinks are open 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday; 9 to 11 a.m., noon to 3 p.m., 4:30 to 7 p.m. and 7:30 to 10 p.m. Friday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 4:30 to 7 p.m. and 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Skating rinks will be open from noon to 5 p.m. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Prices are $3 for children 17 and younger and adults 60 and older. Adults between 18 and 59 are $5.

Call North Park's rink at 724-935-1280 or South Park's rink at 412-833-1499, or visit

Iceoplex at Southpointe, 114 Southpointe Blvd., Cecil, is offering stick times from 11:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. and 3 to 4:50 p.m. Thursday and 11:15 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. Friday. The cost for most players is $10 each; goalies play for free. Players must bring their own equipment.

Also, public ice skating will be offered from 1:30 to 2:50 p.m. Thursday, 12:45 to 2:15 p.m. and 8:30 to 9:50 p.m. Friday; and 8:30 to 9:50 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $10.

Also, a Family Fun Night will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. New Year's Eve. It will include skating, soccer, football, dodge ball, arts and crafts and an obstacle course.

Each ticket for Family Fun Night — $10 in advance or $13 at the door — includes two slices of pizza and a drink. Call 724-745-6666, ext. 200.

Public ice skating will be offered from noon to 3 p.m. New Year's Eve and from 2 to 4 p.m. New Year's Day at the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center, 900 Cedar Blvd. Prices are children 5 and younger, $4; students 6 to 18, $6; adults 19 to 61, $7; seniors 62 and older, $6. Skate rentals are $3. Call 412-561-4363.

The Penn Hills YMCA, 11817 Frankstown Road, is hosting Holiday Vacation Days for children 5 to 13. The program, which includes arts and crafts and sports, runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Jan. 2-4. The cost is $20 per day for a member of the YMCA and $30 for a nonmember. Lunch is not provided. Call 412-795-2600.

Western Area YMCA, 195 Montour Run Road, Robinson, is offeringFun Days for children in kindergarten through fifth grade from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Daily activities include games and arts and crafts. Pizza is provided for lunch at a cost of $1.50 per slice. Parents must provide two snacks if children are staying for a full day's program. The program is free for children enrolled in the afterschool program and $30 per day for a child who is not enrolled. Call 412-787-9622.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or

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