10 Essential Do’s and Don’ts when taking your children to festivals

Welcome to our new guest blog slot, where we ask resourceful heroes for their tips on everything from going to festivals (see below) and school holiday activities to home energy improvements and water saving.

This month, Award winning Blogger Kara Guppy says it’s great fun taking children to festivals, provided you go prepared. Here are her top tips:

Are festivals really a place to take children? YES! Providing you go prepared, they really are a fantastic experience no matter what ages your children are as there is so much to see, do and experience. Here are some tips to make your festival-going experience less stressful and more pleasurable — for everyone.

Camp Bestival in Dorset

  • Take sun cream — there are often shaded areas and tents but you will be out exploring in the sunshine quite a lot of the time
  • A first aid kit is handy to treat those irritating insect bites
  • Wet weather gear is advisable — I know this summer has been amazing but, well, this is the UK after all!
  • Spare clothes — festivals are messy business
  • A large garden trolley, like this one — I saw so many of these and wished I’d had one. Camp Bestival even had a “pimp-your-trolley” competition — we saw them decorated with flowers, fairy lights and made into jails, aeroplanes (with the family in uniform) and castles! They are great for carting around all your stuff, and lined with a duvet or beanbag they make a great bed or sofa
  • Baby carrier — if you are taking a young baby, this is a must.
  • Headphones — the music gets very loud so protect the kids’ ears with these
  • Look at the itinerary before you go and decide what you want to do and see. Stick to those times, and take the rest of the time as it comes. Don’t do too much.
  • Festival toilets can be unpleasant so take anti-bacterial gel and toilet roll
  • Food and drink is often pricey but there is usually free water, so take water bottles
  • Get some Kattoos — put them on your child’s arm and write your phone number on them — if your little ones get lost, you are easy to contact

Isaac, 5 and Eliza, 2 dancing around the umbrella at Camp Bestival

Ok, now I have to admit I haven’t done any camping but if you feel the urge to get under canvas at festivals, here are some top tenting tips from tattooedmummy:

  • Camping is not scary. Anyone can do it and you don’t need lots of equipment. Too much stuff can be a hindrance (and expensive)
  • If you want to give it a try before you buy, try borrowing some stuff from your friends — lots of keen campers have more than one tent and are happy to loan you some kit
  • Ebay and Freecycle are both great places to find camping bargains. And look in the sales at the end of the summer
  • Camp for the first time in your garden (or a friend’s garden) — that way you can experience the joy without the risk of forgetting anything. The kids will love it.
  • Children sleep better in the open air. Let then run about. Give them “jobs” to do. Even washing up can be fun in a field.
  • Don’t expect children to help unless you are specific about what you want them to do, even teens!
  • Don’t ask “Can you help?”, say “Please pump up the beds,” “Please tidy the tent pegs away” etc
  • Don’t set bedtimes; just play it by ear. As the children get sleepy suggest a story in the tent, or colouring while they are in their sleeping bags
  • Take plenty of toys but don’t feel you need to fill every minute — kids can amuse themselves with very little. Let them learn to make their own fun. Or suggest a scavenger hunt
  • Toy ideas — bubbles, a Frisbee, colouring books, a quiz book, a ball, wooden/plastic swords and dress up things. Encourage the children to put on a play for you in the evening after the festival activities are over
  • Don’t worry about mess. If you eat outdoors, dropping food doesn’t matter. Assume you will wash all clothes (and children!) when you return and just let them have fun. Take wellies — children have a habit of finding water anywhere
  • Festival toilets can look nasty — talk to your children before you go about poo, as in “You may see it — it doesn’t bite.”
  • Don’t wear a watch — sleep when it’s dark, get up when it’s light.

The key is to relax and try not to plan too much. Camping and festivals will create memories that your children will remember forever. Keep your temper, smile and make the experience memorable for everyone!

Kara Guppy blogs at chelseamamma.co.uk. She was a Finalist in Brilliance in Blogging Awards Family Category 2013
Follow her on Twitter: @chelseamamma

Do you have resourceful hero experience you’d like to blog about? If so, we’d like to hear about it. Email us at Nigel’s Eco Store at helpme@nigelsecostore.com with your idea and we’ll be in touch.