Best shows for children at Edinburgh Festivals 2017
The Showstoppers' Kids Show / credit: Steve Ullathrone
We pick the best shows for younger audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival
Whether you've got an 18-month-old toddler looking to be entertained, or a hard-to-please 10-year-old who's too cool for school, there's a show at this year's Fringe waiting for them. We've sifted through over 150 children's shows on offer and plucked out a few diamonds worth a look. Some are old favourites we're glad to see back, others are newcomers worth taking a risk on; some are sensible with a serious message, others are downright silly – we hope all of them will show you a good time. Keep checking back throughout August to see which ones we love the most.
The Amazing Bubble Man
He's been doing it for over 30 years, so Louis Pearl knows a thing or two about blowing bubbles. Prepare to be amazed, amused and potentially put inside a bubble.
The Amazing Bubble Man, Underbelly George Square, Thu 3–Mon 28 Aug
Ami and Tami
Brooklyn musical theatre company Floating Tower presents its dynamic new version of Hansel & Gretel, complete with a specially written score performed live by actor/musicians.
Ami and Tami, Underbelly Cowgate, Fri 11–Tue 24 Aug
Arr We There Yet?
Head First Acrobats from Australia follow up their hugely popular 2016 Fringe show for adults with this exciting family romp set on the high seas, in which a pirate, sailor and chef all fight to be captain of a ship.
Arr We There Yet?, Underbelly's Circus Hub on the Meadows, Sat 5–Sat 26 Aug
Scottish Opera's brand new opera for tiny tots aged 6–18 months, featuring cello, percussion, soprano and baritone. And you can relax – babies are very welcome to roam around during the performance.
BambinO, Edinburgh Academy, Tue 8–Sun 20 Aug
A Fringe hit in 2016 with the gentle and charming Head in the Clouds, Ipdip Theatre returns with this new outdoor show for babies and toddlers, inspired by the game played by comic strip characters Calvin and Hobbes.
Calvinball, Royal Botanic Garden, Sat 5–Sun 27 Aug
Comedy Club 4 Kids
Although you never know who's going to be on the bill at this daily dose of family-friendly Fringe fun, with so many high calibre comedians in town, it's a safe bet they'll know how to make you laugh.
Comedy Club 4 Kids, Assembly Roxy, Fri 4–Sun 27 Aug
David Walliams' The First Hippo on the Moon
Walliams' best-selling tale of space adventure gets a stage makeover by Les Petits Theatre Company, the team behind Fringe hit Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs.
The First Hippo on the Moon, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 2–Sun 20 Aug
Dr Zeiffal, Dr Zeigal and the Hippo That Can Never Be Caught
Mouths of Lions, the team behind this long-titled adventure, walked away with the 'Best Family Show' at Buxton Fringe last year, pulling in laughs from toddlers to grandparents.
Dr Zeiffal, Dr Zeigal and the Hippo That Can Never Be Caught, Assembly Roxy, Thu 3–Mon 28 Aug
The Gruffalo's Child
The always wonderful Tall Stories theatre company brings back one of its all-time greatest shows, based on Julia Donaldson's popular picture book.
The Gruffalo's Child, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 2–Sun 20 Aug
How to Be a Kid
One of Britain's finest theatre companies, Paines Plough brings back its fabulous, purpose-built Roundabout venue for this tale of a 12-year-old girl who's so busy helping at home, she's forgotten how to be a child.
How to Be a Kid, Roundabout @Summerhall, Fri 4–Sun 20 Aug
Is This a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth
The always entertaining Andy Cannon gets under the skin of Shakespeare's legendary character, journeying back a thousand years to separate fact from fiction.
Is This a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Thu 3–Sun 20 Aug
Based in the West Bank in Palestine, Al-Harah Theater is one of the region's longest-running performance companies, creating work in challenging circumstances. This tender tale features a young girl who has lost her smile, but fellow villagers help her find it.
Jihan's Smile, Summerhall, Wed 2–Sun 13 Aug
Jason and the Argonauts
Take That Thou, the team behind last year's excellent Ruff Guide to Shakespeare return to the Fringe with this modern rendition of the Greek myth.
Jason and the Argonauts, the Space on Niddry Street, Fri 4–Sat 19 Aug
The Listies Made You LOL
Australian duo Rich and Matt went down a storm in 2016, when they brought their particular brand of chaos to the Fringe – so fans will be pleased to see more raucous behaviour is coming our way.
The Listies Make You LOL, Pleasance Courtyard, Tue 2–Sun 20 Aug
Mark Thompson's Spectacular Science Show
TV astronomer Thompson has an infectious enthusiasm for all forms of science, and he's ready and willing to share it in this family show filled with fun facts and explosive experiments.
Mark Thompson's Spectacular Science Show, Gilded Balloon at the Museum, Wed 3–Sun 27 Aug
The highly acclaimed M6 Theatre Company presents this heart-warming and magical tale about Mavis, a woman with a big dream and a cleaning trolley full of wonder.
Mavis Sparkle, Pleasance Courtyard, Tue 2–Sun 20 Aug
The Polar Bears Go Up
Two brave polar bears head for the mountainous heights, in this gentle but fun show for ages 2–5.
The Polar Bears Go Up, Pleasance at EICC, Thu 10–Sun 27 Aug
The Showstoppers' Kids Show
The multiple award-winning improvisation troupe returns with this kiddie-friendly version of the grown-up Showstoppers' show, where audience members call the shots and the performers always rise to the challenge.
The Showstoppers' Kids Show, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 2–Sun 20 Aug
The Tale of the Cockatrice
Based on a lesser known English folk tale, this mix of theatre and puppetry for ages 6+ introduces audiences to a deadly monster who can kill people purely with its stare.
The Tale of the Cockatrice, Venue 13, Fri 5–Sat 26 Aug
The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck
Award-winning soprano Michelle Todd teams up with the talented folk of Children's Classic Concerts Festival Ensemble for this musical adaptation of the Beatrix Potter book.
The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck, Underbelly's Circus Hub on the Meadows, Fri 5–Sat 26 Aug
Three Half Pints Present The Three Musketeers
Best known for their appearances on CBeebie's Spot Bots, the Three Half Pints can entertain all ages with their slapstick silliness – as they'll ably prove in this 17th century romp.
Three Half Pints Present The Three Musketeers, Gilded Balloon Teviot, Tue 2–Sun 27 Aug
Spanish company Aracalandanza deliver the only dance show tailor-made specifically for children and families at this year's Edinburgh International Festival, inspired by the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci.
Vuelos, Church Hill Theatre, 11–13 Aug.