Monday, 14 October 2013

Our Big Day Out - why we're making a bit of an exhibition of ourselves.

So, the Big Day Out is on at the Corn Exchange this coming weekend (19/20 October) and we’ll be there, complete with books, flyers, stickers, balloons – and voting slips! For there will be the chance to let us know which, in your view, are the best venues and activities for under 5s in Edinburgh and its surrounding areas.

The idea behind the vote is that a lot of the event’s value to us will be as an information-gathering exercise. We want to get you talking to us. All of the Edinburgh for Under Fives committee members move within their own circles and bring information back to each monthly meeting, but even as a committee our scope is limited to our individual experiences. Our lovely researchers keep in touch with us and let us know about things that they've found out during the research phase of the book, but they're all busy people and after their research is over they usually get on with other stuff, which is completely fair enough. I keep up with my Twitter feeds when I can, read family-friendly magazines and surf the relevant websites, but there’s nothing like just chatting to a wide range of other parents and carers for finding out the most useful nuggets of information – especially about what’s just closed (after all, it’s easy to spot an ad for a new place but a closure is much less trumpeted affair).

As a book that's published every two years, Edinburgh for Under Fives is never going to be the most up-to-date source of information that’s out there, we realise that. But we strongly believe that there’s a place (a bookshelf, hopefully, or, even better, a pram bag) for a printed book that contains the sort of first-hand information from other parents that inspires you to get out of the door on a chilly day with the buggy or hop in the car and go exploring. We can give you updates on our website and through Twitter and Facebook, and we’re working on making sure that these become great sources of up-to-date information. But for this we do need your help to know exactly what’s going on out there.

And we'd really like to find which of Edinburgh’s family-friendly activities and venues has found a place in your hearts, and those of your wee ones. We might have our own ideas about what might be the best things to do and places to go, but I’ll bet there’ll be some surprises when the votes are counted.

So if you’re at the Big Day Out, come and tell us what you know, and cast your vote for the best places and activities for young children in and around our brilliant city. If you’re not coming along, you can still vote. Just email me and find out how. In any case, please do keep in touch and make sure we’re informed about what’s going on. We’d be really grateful, as would all the other parents and carers who your information would help. Email me at

Until next time, happy exploring!



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