Things to do with the Kids at Festival Time

A photo of a small child running.

Edinburgh for Under Fives is the popular family-friendly guide to Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife. Available as a guidebook and online, it contains more than 1000 parents and carers’ reviews of places to go and activities for children under 5. Editor Cathy Tingle gives us her pick of things to do with the kids in accessible venues during festival time.

Encounter a Kitten

Edinburgh’s festival season offers something for all ages – and if you’re particularly small you can’t really go wrong with a wee play about a kitten. Pitschi would prefer to be a hen, a goat, a duck or a rabbit – because anything’s better than being a cat! This delightful Komedia production brings Hans Fischer’s book to UK audiences for the first time. Full of humour, music and song (not to mention animals), Pitschi is the perfect show for young ones.

12-16 and 18-23 August at the Quaker Meeting House (Venue 40).

Enjoy Stand-up for Kids

For slightly older children, Funny Stuff for Happy People with Martin ‘BigPig’ Mor is just ideal. Described as ‘Uproariously funny’, the show is a great value 50 minutes of comedy, circus skills, storytelling, poetry and stupid science that will have adults laughing too.

12-17 and 22-24 August, Stand in the Square (St Andrews Square).

Pop to the Pleasance

The Pleasance is running three shows for children aged 3+ that have drawn praise from Edinburgh’s parents and carers this summer.

Emily Brown and the Thing has enthralled audiences at this year’s Festival. When they hear a Thing crying outside their window, Emily and her old grey rabbit Stanley try their best to help him get to sleep. Will they ever manage? A lovely story for young and old.

The Cat in the Hat, based on the famous Dr Seuss book, has also managed to quieten many a restless young crowd with its lively and engaging story. Crazy fun that’ll put a smile on everyone’s face.

Where have Sid’s shoes and socks got to? Your kids will have lots of fun finding out at Sid’s Show. From the bottom of the sea to outer space, Sid from CBeebies goes on the hunt in an interactive adventure filled with games, songs and magic.

Performances at the Pleasance run until 25 August.

Chill Out in Front of the TV

If you need a breather (and especially if you have wee telly-watchers with you) make your way to the BBC Pink tent on the corner of Potterrow for sofas, beanbags, books, a wooden train set and even the odd iPad. This is a particularly good area if you have babies as it’s a great space for breastfeeding and for wee ones to roll around safely, but for older children there’s a fun screen nearby where you can stand and have your picture taken with the Zingzillas, Mr Bloom and more recognisables. The BBC promises occasional guest appearances so you might even encounter a real-life recognisable too.

Or Relax with a Book or Two (thousand)

Edinburgh Book Festival is a fantastic place to attend an event and be inspired, or simply hang out – and still be inspired, just by the buzz in the place. I’d live in the middle of Charlotte Square Gardens until 25 August if I could – but the nice thing is that there’s enough there to keep my children happy too (perhaps not for three solid weeks, but definitely for an hour or two).

Once you get through the entrance tent, most of the children’s activities are held in the far left corner (Baillie Gifford Story Box, Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab and Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre), where there’s also a buggy park. Every day from 11.00-16.30 there are free activities for children in the Baillie Gifford Story Box, including some scheduled sessions such as ‘Get Crafty’, ‘The Big Draw’ and ‘Bloomin’ Rubbish’ which encourages recycling by creating a garden from unwanted bits and bobs. There are still spaces at some of the ticketed children’s events, from authors’ readings to drawing with illustrators, so get online and see what’s available.

Locations: Edinburgh

Tags: festivals