Hack the Summer with Fun Things to Do in Pittsburgh

I stepped into the backyard.  There were hockey sticks strewn about the driveway, shoes in the grass (must they ALWAYS take off their shoes when they are outside??), and a baby doll stroller hanging from a tree.  

The kids are on summer vacation and our lawn shows it.

Hack the summer with these best kids activities and play spaces in Pittsburgh, information about the Chick-Fil-A One app.

Besides the toy tornado that has hit the yard, Summer is good to my kids.  They’ve got neighborhood friends to play with at the drop of a hat (a hat which most likely lands in the lawn with the rest of the kids’ possessions), are hitting the pool every other day, and are just enjoying the carefree days of summer!

But sometimes, a mom gets tired of removing toy baby strollers from tree branches.

Sometimes we need to get out of the house and go on some summer adventures. 

I was excited when I had the chance to meet up with some of my closest friends for a playdate at the park. The kids could run around and get their energy out on the playground while us Moms (and one Dad) chatted all things Summer.  Like, how to keep the kids active and having fun while creating a summer of memories with the whole family.

We chatted about ways to Hack the Summer and get out of the toy-nado funk and into local Summer fun.  What better way to make the most of summer than to build summer memories in our city?  We  came up with a few fun ideas to visit and places to play in Pittsburgh as a family. 

Here’s what we came up with:

Best Pittsburgh Summer Play Places for Kids and Families

Best Ways to Cool Off in Pittsburgh On a Hot Day: 

Pittsburgh’s Water Steps- The North Side’s fountain is a place to
cool down on a hot day. Kids can wear water shoes and get right into the water
feature while enjoying a great view of the city’s skyline.

The water fountain in the South Side Works just calls out to kids!
 They can run through the water on a hot day. There is free live music on
weekends for the whole family to enjoy.

Mellon Park’s spray park is a fun way to cool off that doesn’t
involve swimming.  Pack a picnic lunch and eat it on the large lawn.

Fall Run Park in Shaler (North Hills) is a mile long hike along a
rocky creek that is perfect for kids of all ages.  Kids (and adults!) can
play in the creek and will find a beautiful large waterfall at the end of the

Best Parks in Pittsburgh:

Blue Slide Park in Frick park is a unique playground with it’s
cement slide. Bring a piece of cardboard to slide down the slide that is
built right into the hillslide or play on the multi-level playground.

Squall Run Playground in Fox Chapel has two playground areas that
are great for different ages.  Kids love to play in the sand volleyball
court too, so bring your sand toys!

Highland Park’s Super Playground is a huge wooden playground with
passages, play features, and a castle-like appearance. 

Best Indoor Activities in Pittsburgh (for rainy or super hot days): 

Shaler Library has the best children’s librarians and programming
for kids.  People come from all over to attend story times, STEM
activities, hands-on learning programs, and interactive themed activities.
 There is something for everyone and something happening every day.

Sorgels Orchards has a great play area and mom can pick up a
couple of groceries in the market after play time.  They have great ice
cream for a treat, too!


While we chatted about things to do in Pittsburgh this summer, we had a great lunch from Chick-fil-A and got to talk about Chick-fil-A’s new app called Chick-fil-A One.  It’s a GREAT app for busy parents who have kids in tow as they try to grab a meal.  We’ve shared our love of Chick-fil-A before and how the restaurant is perfect for busy families who NEED to get out and enjoy a meal while creating memories.   Chick-fil-A has taken ease for families a step further with their new app!

Look at all it can do: 

Easy cookie pop recipe for kids and families

Easy cookie pop snack idea for kids

When we were done with lunch and play, our crazy crew headed home with full bellies and memories of a fun day with friends.  

We had some leftover Chick-fil-A cookies that were perfect for making these cookie pops.  It was easy to cut up the cookies into quarters and pop lollipop sticks into the cookie pieces.  Take these cookie pops to one of the play spaces we’ve shared above or one of your favorite local places while you “Hack the Summer” and avoid the chaos of toy baby stroller in trees.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and Mobility Independence

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

As an Occupational Therapist, I’ve worked with individuals of all ages.  I was lucky to start my career in a way that allowed me to gain experience in a variety of settings.  I saw individuals whose long-term disabilities kept them in the home.  I saw patients at the hospital who were struggling with a new diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome.  The school environment showed me how persistent a child with Cerebral Palsy could be as they mobilized throughout the building alongside their peers in a wheelchair mobilized by only their chin.  I saw geriatric folks in skilled nursing facilities who had lived their adult life with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. 

Thinking back to these hard-working, strong individuals reminds me how far a person can go when heart is involved.  I’ve seen many clients over the years but these folks who never gave up were the ones who stand out.  They are the people who inspire others and can do anything they put their heart to; even if the only part of their body they are able to control is a chin.

One of my favorite ways to build function in individuals is by helping people to reach their own goals.  When a client has a role in making their goal, it makes goal-making especially meaningful and motivating.  Many clients have a goal for mobility.  Each of those individuals that stand out in my mind were strong, with big hearts, and bigger goals.  They had goals of mobility and independence.

Today, I’m excited to share information about the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association as they work to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. By providing members with the best and most beneficial solutions for increased mobility, the NMEDA is the best source for wheelchair accessible vehicles and mobility equipment.

Information about wheelchair accessible vehicles and mobility independence with National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association.

Most of us take independence and mobility along with the freedom to move about within our day for granted. The freedom to move around a classroom, apartment, or grocery store are luxuries those with physical disabilities struggle with.  Wheelchair accessible vehicles and mobility equipment are tools that enable those with disabilities to take back their independence.

When looking for a way to improve mobility, the NMEDA is the program to meet any mobility challenge.  NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP) guarantees you a personal Accredited Dealer, in order to receive the expert attention you deserve. You’ll find in-person evaluations, specialized training of equipment, 24-hour local emergency roadside services and so much comfort knowing that your loved-one has support and reliable safety.

Information about wheelchair accessible vehicles and mobility independence with National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association.

NMEDA QAP  mobility equipment dealers offer modifications and adaptations such as wheelchair ramps, hand controls and steering aids, transfer seats and seating solutions, wheelchair securement and tie downs, scooter lifts and special acceleration and braking solutions for adaptive vehicles.  This is a truly individualized way to ensure safety while meeting customized mobility needs.

Information about wheelchair accessible vehicles and mobility independence with National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association.

Thinking about all of the strong individuals that I’ve worked with, I can’t help but recognize the ways that a customized wheelchair mobility system could have helped families and their loved ones.  A wheelchair accessible vehicle can help the son who must make his outpatient doctor’s appointments.  It can help the student whose mother wants to drive him to school each day for a little more one-on-one time.  It can help the family whose live-in grandfather wants to watch his grandson’s baseball game.

Check out a NMEDA dealer near you today to find out more about the ultimate safety and reliability offered in the vehicle modification industry.

Who do you know with the heart and determination to make independence happen? Do you know an individual looking for wheelchair accessible vehicles or customized mobility equipment?


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July Occupational Therapy Calendar

Can you believe that July is upon us?  This month’s Occupational Therapy calendar is full of backyard summer fun activities that build skills using sensory processing components.  These are great activities to get the kids moving and developing skills using the senses.  

In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been sharing monthly calendars where you can find themed activities designed to build developmental skills using the senses.  

These calendars and activities are backed by expertise, education, and experience as an Occupational Therapist.

July Occupational Therapy Calendar ideas for a sensory-based backyard with therapeutic activities designed to build development in kids.


July Occupational Therapy Calendar

This month is all about backyard summer fun and creative ways to incorporate sensory input into summer activities.

There are a few easy steps you’ll need to do to get the calendar:

July Occupational Therapy Calendar ideas for a sensory-based backyard with therapeutic activities designed to build development in kids.

These activities are sure to keep away the summer boredom.  Many kids who receive school-based OT are on a break from their school-based therapy services and are following a summer program.  These ideas are perfect for adding to a summer therapy program or just doing for fun!

Are you looking for Occupational Therapy activities to beat the summer OT slide?  What are you doing to work on certain goal areas?