THE February half term break is upon us. The kids are restless. It's cold outside. That virtuous voice in your head is telling you to be a good parent and do something educational, that will actually help them learn something. But it needs to be fun – because otherwise they'll moan. Here's our guide on how to be a sneaky parent ... how to trick your kids into a day-out around Scotland that they think is fun, but is actually improving.

1. Discovery Point, Dundee

Short of going on an expedition yourself, it’s hard to think of a day-out that would more inspire and fascinate budding adventurers, scientists and historians. The opportunity to take a wander around the original RSS Discovery, the boat on which Captain Scott explored The Antarctic, is just one of its many thrills. There are also audio-visual displays telling the tale, not just of the Discovery Expedition, but of Scott’s ill-fated attempt to be the first to the South Pole. And if you want to discuss the big stuff - death, survival, the limits of human endurance, and what it’s like to live for weeks on pemmican, a mixture of dried beef and lard – it's all here in heaps.

2. The Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Get inside the buses and the trams. Wander down a reconstructed Victorian street. Marvel at the building itself, a wonder of metal and glass designed by the late Zaha Hadid. But most of all tell a few stories. For this is a museum that’s really best designed for the sharing of memories, for passing on tales between parents or grand-parents and children.

3. Ship Space, Inverness

At the heart of this museum is a model of the Titanic, only one that's just a tenth of its real size, and which children can explore, as if they were giants. And it's all the work of one man, former engineer and Inverness resident Stanley Fraser, who decided to build his very own version of the boat. Crafted from found and donated scrap materials, including a disused shed, it’s a tribute to the ship, yes, but also a demonstration of just what you can do with some junk and some ingenuity.

4. Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

At the top of the Royal Mile, lies the tower of the Camera Obscura where you can explore a multitude of optical illusions, including mirror mazes and a vortex tunnel. Patrick Geddes who bought the building in 1892, was an advocate of the idea that exhibition could be an exhilarating form of education. At the heart of it all, is the Camera Obscura itself, in which, through a periscope lens system, the city around is projected onto a table.

5. Surgeon’s Halls Museums, Edinburgh

Older kids, over ten, with a fascination for the gory and anatomical, can find much to fascinate here. Among its most famous exhibits are a pocket book made from the skin of the infamous Bodysnatcher, William Burke, a letter between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, Dr Joseph Bell, plus interactive displays and exhibits about the history and development of medicine.

6.The Battle Of Bannockburn Experience, Bannockburn

In 2015, the year after it opened, the Bannockburn Experience, commemorating Robert the Bruce’s victory over the English in 1314, was named the best visitor centre in the UK. And deservedly, as one visitor, the writer Julie Davidson, described it is a “a spectacular triumph for the combined forces of 3D science and historical narrative”. She wrote: “The technology is astounding and the scholarship sound. My preview visit found me ducking beneath flights of arrows, flinching from cavalry charges and receiving confidences from a digital Scottish spy responding to “gesture recognition.” The visit culminates in the Battle Room, in which an interactive game allows you to play the underdog as 8000 Scots beat a massive 22,000-strong English army. There’s also, outside, a nice Medieval physic garden.

7. Inverary Jail, Inverary

If you want to show your kids that they've got it quite good, this atmospheric museum is the place. Its prison cells and court rooms provide sobering lesson in what happened to criminals in the 19th century – even as a child. Kids as young as seven were tried and locked up here. You can even torture yourself with the thumbscrews. or pilliwinks as we call them in Scotland.

8. Glasgow Science Centre, Glasgow

The place were science is a riot. During the February school holiday, the centre is extending its opening hours, as well as putting on special activities. Among these are a workshop in programming a video game, fun sessions like how sound works, as well as presenter-led dissections of the heart and lungs. Plus there’s always the opportunity to chill out watching the constellations in the Planetarium.

9. National Museum of Rural Life, East Kilbride

Wellies definitely required at this one of the muddiest museums in Scotland. It is, after all, partly a working farm, using 1950s methods. Try to get there when the cows are being milked, and check out the Tamworth pigs and the long necked ducks.

10. Deep Sea World, Fife

As well as the sharks, rays, crabs and lobsters, it’s also possible, this half-term holiday to meet a mermaid, hunt for treasure and befriend a clownfish.. And let’s not forget the 112 metres long underwater walkway, the longest in Europe.

11. Vikingar, Largs

The Vikings are, without doubt, among the more popular historical subjects for kids, and Vikingar transports visitors back to an entirely pre-leisure world. There you can visit a Viking longhouse, learn about how they cooked, watch a cinema presentation on centuries of Viking history, and swipe and touch the information panels in the Viking Hall of Knowledge.

12. Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick

It may be chilly outside, but the birds are still there. And it's possible to watch them from the warmth and comfort of this state-of-the-art centre. Among the interactive exhibits are screens linked to webcams mounted at prime bird sites. At this time of year gannets are coming ashore. Fulmars, razorbills and guillemots could be on nest sites if the February weather is good.

13. New Lanark Visitor Centre, Lanark

This restored 18th century cotton mill village where social reformer Robert Owen pioneered some of his ideas, gives a vibrant insight into what life was like back then. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site, and among its thrills are the Annie McLeod Experience dark ride, in the company of the ghost of mill girl Annie, who tells the story of her life and times in 1920.

14. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s biggest, most educational indoor playground. And, this February half term, as well as the regular collections, there is a programme of events connected to the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition. Kids who have fallen for Blue Planet II – and who hasn’t? – are bound to get a thrill out of the images, the wildlife information, and the educational materials on how the photographers did it.

15. National Museum of Flight, East Lothian

The Spitfire's the theme of the Reach For The Skies exhibition at the museum this half term. Make an Airfix model, or try on a Spitfire pilot's boots and helmets. Alternatively, explore a Concorde, or find out how aeroplanes fly, how they are built and the skills needed to fly them.

16. Aberdeen Science Centre, Aberdeen

The museum that used to be called the Satrosphere, and was Scotland’s first science centre, isn’t huge, but there are plenty of interactive exhibits, and staff that can bring it all vividly to life. Currently it’s hosting The Secret World of Gases, in which, through live science shows and demonstrations, kids can find out a multitude of things gassy, including how cold liquid nitrogen is and how hydrogen could provide power in the future.

17. Kelvingrove, Glasgow

Pick your educational subject. Will it be a to trip the arms and armour collection? A chat about design in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh gallery? Or perhaps you’ll just go for a full yomp round the gallery. There are, after all, many reasons why Kelvingrove is the most popular museum in Scotland.

18. Traquair House, Innerleith

If you want a proper 3D puzzle, that can be challenging even for adults, look no further than the Traquair maze, situated in the grounds of a magnificent baronial mansion said to be Scotland's oldest inhabited house. Great for testing logic, spatial awareness, and orientation skills.

19. Kilmartin Museum, Lochgilphead

You don’t go to Kilmartin just for the museum – you go there for the full experience, of exploring one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric landscapes. Learn about the Iron age and Neolithic people, before, or after, heading out to see some of the 800 historic monuments, cairns, standing stones and rock art dating back over 500 years. There’s even a ringing stone, which sounds like a bell when struck.

20. Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, Fraserburgh

The most exciting thing about this museum is that it’s in a lighthouse – and what child doesn’t hanker for getting inside one of those? And, not only that, one that tops a castle. Try on a keeper’s uniform, and learn about the Stevenson family who built the lighthouses. Watch out, also, later in the year, for the 20th anniversary of the automation of Scotland’s last manned lighthouse when the old lighthouse tower of Kinnaird Head will be put back into action as keepers man it for 24 hours.

21.Treasures of the Earth Museum, Fort William

Gem stones are irresistible for kids. And they clearly remained alluring for the father and son team who founded this museum in a former Catholic church over 20 years ago. It’s a huge collection, which, the museum’s website declares, has been “500 million years in the making”.

22. Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

Earth science doesn’t come more fun. And, even those kids who have done a tour of the interactive museum before, can find new things, particularly with the launch, yesterday of Operation Earth, their new family programme. Become a trainee environmental scientist, find solutions for the problems the planet is facing, play food chain Jenga, try out flying a drone with a simulator.