Children's Museum

Currently Closed

Three children working on circuit blocks with wires and wooden bases.


MAKESHOP® is a space for children and families to make, play and design using “real stuff”— the same materials, tools, and processes used by professional artists, builders, programmers and creators of all kinds. It is also a place where physical materials and digital media resources intersect; where visitors are encouraged to be curious, creative, experimental and innovative. A team of skilled makers and educators is always on hand to help visitors translate their visions into tangible objects. Visiting indie crafters, hackers and inventors also stop by too.

Frequent Activities

On any given day we offer a variety of ways that you can explore, interweave and repurpose to create, learn and try something new.  Some of the things you may encounter in MAKESHOP® include:

  • Woodworking
  • Circuitry
  • Textile processes such as sewing and weaving
  • Stop-motion animation   
  • Take Apart with recycled toys, electrical systems and small appliances

We also offer activities suitable to the skills of our younger visitors every day, such as:

  • Build-It: a custom-made building system that lets children create large-scale structures using nuts, bolts, hinges, brackets and panels made of various materials.
  • Open-ended play and material exploration areas such as Clinky Rods, Light Pipes and Magnet Maze.

Check the web calendar for upcoming MAKESHOP events, workshops and special programs. And check out our MAKESHOP® blog for more information, inspiration, photos and experiments. 

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more details and images of the work we're doing with visitors and groups.


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Share your photos with us by tagging @makeshoppgh on Twitter and Instagram!

MAKESHOP® is a partnership of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE)

The Art Here

  • Stars**line^up (for Martin Gardner) by Dick Esterle
  • Sculptures from the Capital Children’s Museum's Nek Chand Fantasy Garden, by Nek Chand, gifted to us from the National Children’s Museum

Design Matters

  • The Children's Museum's prototyping process was key to the creation of MAKESHOP®. We had offered many of these activities in the past but in the summer of 2011, we began exploring more open-ended, tinkering-style programs, with greater facilitation, in a dedicated maker space.
  • MAKESHOP® is designed as a real workshop - unpolished, accessible and functional - and was built using wood and metal with exposed fasteners to tell the story of how things are made. 
  • Cardboard, plastic food containers, old clothes, scrap lumber and broken toys all find new purposes and uses in MAKESHOP®. Many of the materials are reused or upcycled, taking on a new and different life with the help of tools and imagination.

Related Field Trips

Visiting Tips

Use the downloadable file below for tips for before and after your visit to MAKESHOP®.