Family Day at the Festival

The Family Day on the Saturday is one of the highlights of the Festival. Its venue for many years was the King Street Halls in Kirkwall, where both floors were packed with activities for all ages to try. With continuing growth, it moved in 2019 to the larger space of Kirkwall Grammar School.

We seek each year to source an ever-expanding range of activities from across Scotland and the UK, and are constantly delighted by the enthusiastic response.

You may find yourself moulding a 3D-printed flower or modelling a molecule, operating a robot arm or a Raspberry Pi computer, building a geometric lantern or making a noisy drawing with sonic pencils and electric paint.

You might learn how to recognise native plants and what to do to conserve native bees, how to find your way around the night sky or upcycle fabrics and plastic.

The pandemic prevented delivery in 2020 and 2021, when we developed a varied online programme for schools and families. The situation for 2022 is still uncertain.

We had a great time at the Family Day today, and came home with so much stuff that we had made. Zerowaste chicken, Geometric lantern and herbal soap bombs being our favourites, as well as being human drum machines and making circle art to go into the town hall installation and causing bangs and fizzes and colours upstairs.

Wonderful day at the Family Fun Day in King Street Halls!!! 5 hours of fun, facts & interest – the kids (and us!) have enjoyed every part of it. Very many thanks to all there – already looking forward to next year!”


We moved to a new venue at Kirkwall Grammar School, with a wealth of activities for every one to enjoy, and we had a great turnout of people. You could control an underwater robot, or make a map or a rocket, or paper from natural materials. You could find out about seashells and the creatures that live in them. You could learn about kelvins and candelas, or how to make your garden bee-friendly. You could make a molecule or a geometric lantern. You could find out how to make your own toothpaste, build a wind turbine, or run an electric car.


How far can a model car run on hydrogen? You start by connecting up the leads and seeing the hydrogen come bubbling up out of water – and oxygen too. And it was a day when you could make paper from natural materials, paint a 3D-printed butterfly or steer a Mars rover. You could learn to use an astronomical telescope, or make a cloud chamber and see particles from outer space.


You could make a cloud chamber and see particles from outer space. You could write in runes, or study ancient seeds and pollen. You could try a Raspberry Pi or learn about life in polar extremes or on alien worlds. You could make a constellation chart, a molecule or a plastic-free kite. You could learn about dragonflies and damselflies, or test your speed and coordination in the Fitlab.

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