Eight events for under 5s at Edinburgh International Science Festival
- Arusa Qureshi
- 3 March 2017
From monkeys to space and time, activities that are ideal for young scientists
Edinburgh International Science Festival is an annual celebration of all things science and technology which aims to educate and inspire people of all ages and background. Through a diverse range of events, the two-week festival covers a number of interests within the sciences and beyond from robots and animals to music and food and drink. This year's programme places an emphasis on the connections between networks and disciplines, with the 2017 theme inviting you to explore how science intersects with creativity, society and economy.
Though there are many lectures, workshops, exhibitions and activities for big kids and adults, the festival can also be a haven for the little ones thanks to the many events on offer for under 5s. We've rounded up our top pick of events that help introduce science and technology to tinies.
City Art Centre – Family Events
There's surely nothing better than a science playground for kids to navigate and explore their way around. The City Art Centre is transformed for the entirety of the EISF, with daily workshops, shows and interactive events designed just for kids. The Little Giants workshop is led by Buzzy the giant honeybee who takes kids on an adventure to find out more about the world of bees, while in Marvellous Magnets storytellers introduce ideas of magnetic attraction and repulsion. Aside from the bookable workshops, daily drop-in activities include Wee Wonder World, which offers smaller scientists the chance to inspect the world around them and Carnival of the Mind, which allows you to take a closer look at the secrets of the brain.
1–15 Apr, 9.30am–4.30pm. City Art Centre day pass required. Adults £8, children aged 3-6 £7, under 3s free.
My Monkey and Me
The National Museum of Scotland's Monkey Business exhibition features over 60 taxidermy specimens, giving visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with primates through film, photography and interactive exhibits. Inspired by the exhibition, My Monkey and Me is a workshop designed especially for babies aged 0–2 years which uses sensory science, stories and songs to delve into the world of monkeys.
National Museum of Scotland, 1–6 Apr, 10.30am, £3 per child (accompanying adult free).
Moments in Time
Scotland's scientific history is rich with discovery and innovation, which this year's EISF programme is keen to draw attention to. Moments in Time is a family-friendly outdoor installation using old Scottish police boxes to examine the history of science in Scotland. Step inside and discover more about the various achievements of pioneers and scientists through immersive snapshots which highlight their impact on society today.
The Mound Precinct, 1–16 Apr, free.
Mini Zoomers: Sensory Scientists
Summerhall's weekly digital arts workshop The Zoom Club host a series of special Mini Zoomers workshop events, which offer sensory play and action art adventures for under 5s. Each of the six events focuses on a different theme, from space travel to volcanic eruptions, giving little ones the chance the play freely through messy experiments and fascinating science stories.
Summerhall, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 & 14 Apr, 11am, £7.
Wild About Scotland Bus
What better way to learn about Scottish wildlife than by hopping aboard a double-decker bus that's kitted out with various interesting objects and specimens? The Wild About Scotland Bus is suitable for all ages but a great way for kids to learn more about conservation and in particular, RZSS native conservation projects. The bus is packed with animal skulls, activities, microscopes to examine mini-beasts and more.
4–5 Apr, Grassmarket; 10–13 Apr, Summerhall; 15–16 Apr, Edinburgh Zoo; 10am–4pm, free.
Sing and Dance in Space and Time with Mr Boom
The benefits of learning through music and play are endless. So why not join Mr Boom on a musical adventure that will take kids on an exciting journey through space and time? Mr Boom is a one-man band that arrives from the moon in his spaceship, using song, dance and lots of audience participation to teach imaginative thinkers.
Summerhall, 5 Apr, 11am. £6 (family £20).
A truly hands-on workshop for tinies organised by the Scottish National Gallery and Eureka Edinburgh that combines science and art. Taking inspiration from some of the works on show in the gallery's main collection, the workshop is all about the science behind what happens up in the sky. Kids can build clouds, create rainbows and learn more about sunlight and weather.
Scottish National Gallery, 8, 9, 15, 16 Apr, 2pm, free (ticketed).
A brand new space for the 2017 festival, the Experimentarium is filled with all kinds of scientific activities that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Learn about how rivers work by creating your own mini river with the RiverLife team, explore the affect of certain foods and bacteria on your health in the Food Discovery Zone or meet the British Heart Foundation to try your hand at being a heart scientist. All the activities are free, giving kids the chance to experiment with different concepts and ideas without restriction.
Summerhall, 10–14 Apr, 11am–4pm, free.