Fun for All the Family

Spark children’s imaginations with crafty, puzzling, scientific and interactive fun at one of our FREE family-friendly events. Inspiring, engaging and accessible, our events promise fun for all. Join us and see where your imagination takes you.

The ‘Fun for Families’ strand is supported by The Shepherd Group.

Events to look out for

Discovery Zone Friday 1 and Saturday 2 June

Find out about bugs, smartphone memory games, prehistoric cheese and much more at the Discovery Zone. Join us in Parliament Street for lots of hands-on, interactive fun!

Behind the Scenes of Science Weekdays throughout the Festival

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at world-leading research centres at the University of York? Here is your chance to find out. 

The Mozart Question: Music and story in performance Tuesday 5 June

Acclaimed author Michael Morpurgo returns to York with a moving performance of his book, The Mozart Question.

Creating Stories on Screen: Acting workshops Wednesday 6 and Wednesday 13 June

Ever fancied being a star of the screen? This is your chance to step in front of the camera and learn how to act for film and TV.

Romeo and Juliet and Vampires: Supernatural Shakespeare in young adult novels and films Wednesday 6 June

What’s more impossible than vampires? Romeo and Juliet and vampires? Discover where to find supernatural Shakespeare mash-ups as you explore the source of this attraction. Suitable for 11+

Fish ‘n’ Ships: Fishing through time Friday 8 and Saturday 9 June

What can old fish bones tell us? Join archaeologists, ecologists and historians from the University of York to learn how people caught, farmed and used fish historically.

Cornstarch Decorated Paper Workshop Saturday 9 June

Create your own decorative papers using cornstarch paste. Find out why it’s a great way of making greeting cards, wrapping paper, decorative boxes and more. Suitable for children aged 7+

Explore the Impossible! Saturday 9 June

Build the impossible with Lego. Take a journey into the past or construct a York of the future – you decide.

Book Making for Families Saturday 9 June

Could you be a bookmaker? Find out about early printing and handwritten books then make a book of your own. Suitable for children age 7+

Festival Fringe Family Fun Afternoon Saturday 9 June

Join us for an afternoon of energetic, crafty, puzzling, scientific and historical fun. Suitable for 5 to 11-year-olds but other family members are welcome to join in too.

Making the Monster: The science behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Saturday 9 June

Chemist and author Kathryn Harkup takes a thrilling and gruesome look at the science that influenced Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

The Historic Yorkshire Word Hunt Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June

George loves collecting old Yorkshire words, but unfortunately some have gone astray! Collect a map and help George put the words back into his dictionary where they belong.

Witchcraft and Wizardry Sunday 10 June

Budding witches and wizards are invited to find out more about parseltongue, potions, astrology and more at our Harry Potter-inspired day.

From Railway to Greenway: The making of the Solar System Greenway Sunday 10 June

Join us for a guided cycle ride, or a self-guided walk or bike ride, and discover the stories behind the Solar System Greenway.

The Lifeboat That Saved the World Monday 11 June

Based on an ancient Mesopotamian story, the children’s book The Lifeboat That Saved the World retells the tale of a man charged with saving the world from a life-destroying flood. Join its author Irving Finkel for a thrilling look into the past. Suitable for anyone aged 9+.

Zombies in York Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 June

Zombies have taken over York and brought the city to a standstill – but we were quick enough to catch one! Come along and watch as scientists dissect the captured zombie and then help us save the city through hands on activities. Suitable for children aged 8 to 12.

Psych!York: Interactive family fun Saturday 16 June

How do you see colours? How good is your memory? How do you recognise faces? Come along to Psych! York and enjoy brain colouring and crafts, illusions and interactive exhibits.

Church Conservation: An impossible task? Saturday 16 June

Find out how a church building is cared for, spot issues around the building on your own ‘eye spy’ condition survey and learn about object conservation.

Medic! A sense of First World War battlefield medicine Saturday 16 June

Have you ever wondered what battlefield surgery in the First World War was like? Learn about medical care during the war. Suitable for children aged 8+.

Talking Portraits! Saturday 16 June

Imagine if portraits could talk – what stories would they tell? Join University of York students as they unlock the secrets of the paintings of the Lord Mayors of York displayed in the historic Mansion House. Suitable for children aged 9 to 13. Mansion House admission applies.

How Many Sails? Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June

Windmills have four sails. Right? Wrong! Find out about mills with five, six, eight and even more sails, where they are and why. Tickets: £3 (Children 5-18 £1, under 5s free)

Space: The final frontier? Sunday 17 June

Take a journey to the furthest reaches of space as we celebrate astronomy and space science.