2011 31/05

Surviving Summer Festivals with Kids

Yesterday I posted a list of all the upcoming festivals happening around West Michigan this Summer.  Today, I’m going to share a few tips with you on how to survive those festivals when you have kids in tow!

Survival Tips:

  1. Check the schedule before you embark! Time is usually of the essence when traveling with kids, so make sure you know where you’re going and when things start! Also, take into account time for traffic, parking, and unloading the kids and all that stuff from the car!!  Speaking of stuff…
  2. Bring a stroller or wagon! Your little ones may be big enough or determined to walk but eventually they’ll get tired and you’ll be stuck carrying a tired five year old, a half eaten elephant ear, and a giant stuffed dog that cost you $30 to win at the ring toss as you try to find your car amongst the hundreds of others. Plus, if the kids do decide they can walk to the car, you can always use the wagon to tote the giant stuffed dog!
    Surviving Festivals
  3. Ditch the stroller! I know, I’m totally contradicting #2 here!  But, if you have a baby with you, you might want to consider leaving the stroller behind and use a baby carrier!  Sometimes navigating a stroller around through crowds of people can be more work than it’s worth.
  4. Anticipate weather change! If you’ve lived in Michigan for at least one summer, you know how quickly weather can change in a matter of a few hours.  Toss in some sweatshirts or long sleeves, an umbrella, and some sunblock in the backpack or wagon. (Yet another good reason to bring the wagon.)  At least toss them in the back of the car…you can always stop back at the car and change your clothes if needed!
  5. Apply and Re-Apply! Regardless if the sun is in it’s full glory or if it’s hiding behind the clouds, don’t forget to lather up with sunscreen!  You may not even notice how much sun you’re actually getting until it’s too late! Put a good base coat on before you leave the house and then reapply every few hours.  Consider bringing along a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses to help protect your face and eyes!
  6. Pack a snack or meal! Of course, indulge in the “culinary arts” of the festival.  Eat a corn dog, followed by a funnel cake, and top it off with ice cream.  But, if you’re planning on spending the day (or night) out you will want to pack something a little more nutritious for snacking or as a meal.  Likely your kid will have a meltdown at some point, so why tempt fate with a sugar induced crash or a hungry kid? Some carrot sticks, crackers, or granola can help balance out that blood sugar and curb hunger.  If you’re going to be out for multiple meals, look around for a cafe where you can get sandwiches instead of opting for another corn dog. Check out Katie’s Healthy Snacks To Go eBook for some ideas!
  7. Bring water! Inevitably you and your kids are going to get thirsty.  Avoid dehydration by packing a few water bottles with you (again, good reason to take the wagon).  Bottles of water are crazy expensive at festivals and you don’t necessarily want to be sucking down soda after soda.  Maybe even pick up a few reusable water bottles that have the built in ice pack/tube to keep your water colder longer.  A thirsty mom kid means a cranky mom kid.
  8. Scope it out first! If the festival has a carnival section, take a few minutes to walk around and check it out before you buy a roll of ride tickets.  Make sure there are rides that are age appropriate for your kids and check the height restrictions.  Also, ask the ride attendant if accompanying parents ride for free.  Now you’ll have a better idea of how many ride tickets you actually need.  Most carnivals even offer a “kids day” where the prices are discounted during the day or if you purchase an “all you can ride” wrist band.  Again, make sure it makes sense for your family.  If your kids are pretty little, they might not be riding enough rides to make the wristband worth it.
  9. Take a break! While it may make sense for you to just “make a day of it” and forego naps so you can take in all the festivities, consider breaking your day up.  If the festival is local, head home for naps and go back after naptime.  It will give everyone a much needed break.  Or, make it a two day affair and go in the morning/early afternoon one day and again in the late afternoon/evening on another day.
  10. Leave the dog at home! We love our dog and we love taking him places with us because he’s so well behaved around people.  However, there are times when it’s just better for everyone if he stays home.  There are quite a few festivals that prohibit pets (be sure to check before heading out) and then there are times when there will just be too many people and taking along a dog might be a huge pain!  Remember, your sanity is at stake here!

I’d love to hear your suggestions on how to survive Summer festivals with kids! We’re planning on hitting quite a few festivals this year and, with three kids, I need as many tips and tricks as possible!

This post is linked up with Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.

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  • Great tips! I wanna go to a festival now! :)

    Thanks for linking up!

  • Great list! I’m just jealous that you live in a part of the country where you can enjoy summer festivals. In Texas, it’s just hot, hot, hot and that’s no fun.

  • Jessica — I’m surprised you don’t have some fun small town festivals in Texas! You just need to come up to the north country and check out Michigan!

  • Great list. I like #10, even though I totally am one of those people that has a really well behaved dog and feel guilty leaving him at home, but you’re right sometimes it is easier, and a lot of places don’t allow them.


  • @ICStarzz — We have a boxer who is really well behaved too. He LOVES being around people so we try to take him whenever we can. But sometimes I have to convince my husband that trying to walk the dog while corralling two little ones and taking care of a baby isn’t always the best idea :) Of course he mopes as he sees us leave the house without him :(

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