Children and families spoilt for choice at new Cambridge Festival

The Cambridge University Botanic Garden

You can enjoy a virtual exploration of the Botanic Garden as part of the Cambridge Festival, finding out what's in season, what's in bloom, and explore some of the reserve areas. - Credit: Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Interactive games with zombies and aliens, virtual escape rooms, jaw-dropping science demos, mini explosions, gory guts, brain-tingling quizzes, gripping stories, talks about poo and ice cream, masterclasses, and even a talkaoke…

These are just some of the online activities at the Cambridge Festival – a new event from the University of Cambridge.

The Cambridge Festival features dozens of children's events

There are lots of children's events to enjoy in the online Cambridge Festival - Credit: Children events

It’s fair to say children and families will have a hard time choosing what to do when the festival kicks off on Friday, March 26 and runs for 10 days online.

Festival manager David Cain said: “We are extremely excited to be hosting such a huge range of online events for the whole family to enjoy at the very first Cambridge Festival.

"These events are designed to get people involved, to inspire, engage and enthuse everyone, alongside offering a large dose of fun and entertainment.

"What better way to learn about the wider world around us?

"I encourage everyone to dive in and browse through the programme. There’s bound to be something that grabs your attention!”

Cambridge Festival brings together the Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 

Cambridge Festival brings together the Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Credit: Cambridge Festival

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With more than 100 free events aimed at the whole family, choosing which to highlight is no easy feat.

Starting with the under-12s, here are just a few events that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere in the world during the course of the festival.

The Institute of Astronomy is teaming up with the Department of Engineering to host a series of fun activities all about our closest cosmic neighbour – the Moon.

The sky at night

The Institute of Astronomy is teaming up with the Department of Engineering to host a series of fun activities all about our closest cosmic neighbour, the Moon, as part of the Cambridge Festival. - Credit: Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

In Project MoonBase: Habitation on March 26 at 9am, the task is to create a habitable place where people can live on the Moon.

On April 3, kids get to build a model Lunar Rover in Project MoonBase: Transportation and see what kind of experiments astronauts carry out on the Moon.

Youngsters get to use bits and bobs from around the home to investigate how rovers can gather information and send it back to Earth in Project MoonBase: Data and Communications, from March 26 to April 4 all day.

Animal Adventures in the Museum of Zoology.   

In Animal Adventurers players build a team of animals to help search for treasure in the Museum of Zoology. - Credit: University of Cambridge + Julieta Sarmiento Photography

There are also several fun, interactive workshops which offer three to five year olds and their adults an opportunity to explore the Fitzwilliam Museum’s ‘The Human Touch’ exhibition.

In Atoms All Around Me on March 27, 2-4pm, children aged seven to 10 can explore what atoms are and how they combine to create the incredible world we see around us.

During an afternoon of creative activities, they can make a recipe book to explore the structure of some of the most common types of atoms and learn how these come together to make some familiar objects.

The University of Cambridge is staging the Cambridge Festival

The University of Cambridge is staging the Cambridge Festival - Credit: Cambridge Festival

A favourite for families who visited the Cambridge Science Festival in previous years, CHaOS comes to the Cambridge Festival between March 27 to 28, and on Saturday, April 3.

In CHaOS Talks at Crash, Bang, Squelch! enthusiastic volunteers reveal some jaw-dropping science during a series of live stream talks on everything from seeing, spies and seaweed, to the physics of rollercoasters and the lives of stars.

The team share some of their favourite experiments in CHaOS: Scientific Stories at Crash, Bang, Squelch!, such as chemicals that go bang, contraptions that defy gravity, or medical facts that blow your mind. Expect gory guts, icky insides and mini explosions.

In The Experiment Files at Crash, Bang, Squelch! children get to complete two weird and wonderful experiments in real time – from using ketchup to clean coppers and making mini explosions, to creating their own sunset. 

Further events for young children include A Virtual Exploration of the Botanic Garden (March 26 to April 4, all day), and the very first Polar Museum’s Little Explorers Quiz.

Join the Polar Museum's Little Explorers Quiz for four to seven year olds as part of the Cambridge Festival.

Join the Polar Museum's Little Explorers Quiz for four to seven year olds as part of the Cambridge Festival. - Credit: Scott Polar Research Institute

The Cambridge Festival programme is teeming with events for teenagers. 

Highlights include Battle of the Beasts on March 26, 7pm-7.45pm.

In this interactive fun game show from the Museum of Zoology, experts compete for votes for the best adaptation in the animal kingdom, most creative tool use and more.

an interactive fun game show from the Museum of Zoology

Battle of the Beasts is an interactive fun game show from the Museum of Zoology. - Credit: University of Cambridge + Julieta Sarmiento Photography

Players in Zombie Virus: Can You Save Cambridge? must identify the origin of a mysterious virus spreading in the city and turning everyone into zombies.

If you are interested in extra-terrestrial life, there are several engaging talks such as Ask the Experts: Aliens! on March 28 at 5pm, during which evolutionary biologist Wallace Arthur takes on all things alien.

There are even more events to keep the entire family entertained, starting with two exciting, fun escape rooms.

Can your family team defeat the Department of Pathology's Virtual Escape Room? Or how about becoming a Babraham Institute researcher and puzzling your way through a world of science in Breakout at BI: The Cell Escape.

Virtual escape rooms are part of the Cambridge Festival.

You can take part in two fun virtual escape rooms as part of the Cambridge Festival. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Festival

These online escape room-style events are fun for all the family with no specific expertise or prior knowledge needed – though puzzle-solving skills definitely give you the edge!

One unmissable event is the sure to be lively Talkaoke Asks..., a pop-up talk show, enabling conversations between anyone.

The Talkaoke experience is a journey from one unexpected subject to another. It can be topical, funny, deep, out-there, or all the above.

Experts from the Wellcome Genome Campus, the University of Cambridge and other Cambridge institutes offer a fun-filled, often surprising, conversational adventure.

The new Cambridge Festival

Hundreds of prominent figures and experts in the world of science, current affairs and the arts will take part in the new Cambridge Festival. - Credit: Cambridge Festival

Festival organisers believe that it is never too early to begin investigating the world around us. That is why they have created a magazine packed with exciting activities.

Full of ‘try this at home’ activities, including hands-on experiments and knowledge-boosting quizzes, you can even try your hand at creating your own windowsill garden, giant sea-scorpion, or perfume. 

The ‘Festival Zine’ is available to download online. A hard copy can be requested by emailing cambridgefestival@admin.cam.ac.uk

View the full programme of events at www.festival.cam.ac.uk

University of Cambridge is organising the new Cambridge Festival

University of Cambridge is organising the new Cambridge Festival - Credit: Cambridge Festival


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