WHILE kids across the Lothians let out a collective sigh of relief when the school bell rang yesterday, parents could simultaneously be heard letting out a sigh of exasperation.
Holidays can be a stressful time for families, with hyper children wanting to do something exciting every day and parents counting their pennies – as well as the appearance of each and every grey hair.
But don’t despair – the Evening News has come up with a host of family-friendly, and some kids-only, activities to carry you all safely through the Easter holidays.
The Edinburgh International Science Festival, which starts today and runs throughout the Easter break, has a number of offerings that guarantee to keep children entertained. Jungle expeditions, bubble making and extreme balloon modelling are all highlights.
Children can take part in hands-on experiments including dissecting a (fake) eyeball, as well as trying their hand at some crime scene investigation techniques, while the whole family can take a virtual trip to Asia for £10 through Expedition Botanics.
World of Bubbles at the City Art Centre will provide fun for the whole family as you get the chance to step inside a giant bubble or turn a bubble square. For a full list of Science Festival activities, events and prices visit www.sciencefestival.co.uk.
Also coinciding with the Easter holidays is Britain from the Air, an outdoor exhibition of more than 100 aerial photographs of Edinburgh.
The exhibition takes the form of a walking tour of the city, with photographs being displayed at stopping points along the outdoor trail covering the West End, Castle Street, St Andrew Square, East Princes Street Gardens and The Mound.
The exhibition provides the perfect activity for taking in a bit of culture whilst getting a bit of gentle exercise. Take a trip to Lauriston Castle in Davidson’s Mains next Saturday for a special Easter-themed event designed especially for families.
In return for a fee of £6 per adult or child, there will be games, crafts, stories and an Easter egg treasure hunt.
Pre-booking is essential. For further information and to book, contact Margaret Findlay on 0131 529 3963 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For families on a budget, there are a host of free or low-cost events and attractions to visit across the Lothians that can will keep everyone entertained during the Easter break.
Although you might have been born and bred in the Capital, how often have you visited the area’s plentiful museums?
Having a wander round some exhibitions can be a great way for a family to while away a few hours - and keep out of the cold if the spring doesn’t arrive any time soon.
The new-look National Museum of Scotland offers a number of free family-friendly exhibitions and events, and is hosting extra events during the Science Festival.
It will play host to Pisces, a massive installation using hundreds of balloons to create a spiral structure inspired by Greek mythology.
Visitors to the museum can watch artist Jason Hackenwerth at work creating the sculpture up until March 29, before it goes on display for a further couple of weeks.
The free Sci-Fun Roadshow will also take place in the museum from March 28 to April 1, giving kids the chance to control lightning, see a hole in their hand, solve a crime, become part of a human circuit and then relax in a spinning chair.
Another free attraction is the Museum of Childhood, which appeals to young and old as it gives parents a chance to take a trip down memory lane while leaving children suddenly feeling grateful for their Xboxes.
And just down the hill on the Royal Mile is the Museum of Edinburgh, which has recently undergone a revamp and is also free.
Its newest attraction, called Foundation Edinburgh, shows the city’s dramatic history unfolding in just 17 minutes - right from the volcanic creation of Arthur’s Seat in prehistoric times.
In East Lothian, its museums are holding a special event on Easter Monday dedicated to making Easter puppets.
Families can call in to John Muir’s Birthplace, Dunbar Town House, Prestongrange Museum or the John Gray Centre to make their own puppets to take home with them for just £1 each.
At Cameron Toll Shopping Centre, an Easter activity programme has been organised to help parents keep their little ones amused while they’re out doing their shopping.
Children under five can take part in a dance and movement class, while ‘Messy Munchkins’ sessions give youngsters a rare opportunity to show their creative side without having to worry about how much mess they make - all for a small donation to the activity leader.
Alba Falconry will also be mesmerising young and old with spectacular birds of prey from 10am until 5pm in the shopping centre from now until Monday.
Edinburgh Leisure is running a series of sports and arts and crafts camps across the city, covering everything from swimming and kayaking to animation and Highland dancing.
Prices vary depending on the activity and duration of the course. For full details, visit www.edinburghleisure.co.uk.
From next Friday up until April 15, the Almond Valley Heritage Centre in Livingston will be offering its ‘Easter Eggcitement’ activities.
Families can meet lambs, chicks and other new arrivals on the farm and hunt for Easter eggs and also watch Almond Valley’s famous plastic duck race.
There will be an opportunity to get creative and make Easter bonnets and rabbit masks and join in with other seasonal fun. To find out more go to: www.almondvalley.co.uk