A festival is a perfect opportunity for a great family day - or weekend - out. There are over 750 festivals and carnivals a year in the UK alone, so the summer holidays boast many vibrant and diverse events to keep you entertained. And with many being free or low cost, you don’t need to break the bank to join in.
As well as being fun, going to festivals can teach and encourage your child to be adventurous and get creative. Festivals give them chances to grow in confidence, develop social skills and adapt to new environments. Whether it’s dancing in the street at a carnival, marvelling at an air show, or trying new delicacies at a food festival, these summer gatherings will give your children new and exciting opportunities.
Festivals should be fun and magical - don’t let the thought of mud and masses of people put you off. Remember how awesome your first festival was, and enjoy introducing your child to live music. If you go with a group of trustworthy adults, you might even have a little ‘you’ time too.
Here’s our tips for enjoying festivals with the kids:
- Be seen and stay safe – Make your child stand out like a beacon. There is nothing more horrible than losing your child in a busy crowd. So being able to spot your them from afar is your number one priority. Make sure you can be seen too, and that your child knows what to look out for if they lose you. A giant inflatable for the push chair or cart or a helium balloon to tie to your wrist will help you stand out.
- Contact details – If the worst does happen and you do get separated, make sure you can get back in contact - fast! Write or stick your phone number on your child, somewhere nice and visible. Give them a laminated card with it on, make wristbands with it on, or even create a t-shirt with it for your child to wear. Pick out a really obvious meeting point that you can head for and wait, and make sure they know how to identify organisers and officials to ask for help.
- Getting around – If you've got a lot to carry, and you're past the pushchair stage, get a cart. You could use a gardening cart or you can hire one at most major festivals. You could take it one step further and customise the cart with bunting, parasols and stickers, perhaps as a fun activity to do before you go. adding lights or fluorescent materials will make pushchairs or carts easier to spot in the evening.
- Get creative – Help build up the excitement before the event itself by making floral headbands or headdresses in advance. This provides a lovely rainy day activity to do together as a family. You'll find lots of ideas on Pinterest: Floral Headband.
Keep it clean – Mud, doughnuts, soft drinks, mud, feathers, mud, straw – your child will experience new tastes, textures and things to squish their hands into, especially if there are market stalls and art spaces. Team this with the great outdoors and you'll want to make sure the trusty wet wipes are at the ready. Consider choosing biodegradable ones to reduce litter and your environmental footprint.
- First Aid – Take just in case of any bumps and scrapes. All major festivals will have first aiders but they might not stock SpongeBob SquarePants plasters! Also, don't forget the waterproofs!
- Photo funtime – Pack bubbles, props (like stick-on moustaches), and face paints and take some silly snaps. It'll make the day more fun and leave you with some memorable photos - no filters required!
- Shade and protection - Shade is often hard to find at festivals, so take parasols or umbrellas and hats. Again, customise them so you can spot each other in a crowd. And don’t forget to take plenty of sunblock.
- Snacks - Festival food is expensive, so take snacks and drinks with you to save money. Make your own healthy, energising pick and mix from dried fruit, nuts and cereals.
What's your favourite festival for families? Let us know and keep up to date with our latest news and blogs on Twitter @Parentkind.
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