Advice and essential items for a kids festival #1

So this summer, we’re off to Camp Bestival 2015! So I thought I’d gather together some of our festival loving friends — who regularly take their kids along to enjoy the fun — and ask them to compile their top tips and essential items for a kids festival.

Given the fact my boys are only two — and this will be their second festival (you can find out about their first experience here) — it was more for my benefit but I thought it would be lovely to share my findings ;)

First off is Tamandra — she and her husband Jim have two children, Flo and Freddie and they always camp for the full duration of a festival in a tent.

Over to you Tamandra :)

Tamandra’s Advice and Essential Items for a Kids Festival

essential items for a kids festival
Tamandra and her crew at Camp Bestival
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

What age did you first take your kids to a festival.    

Flo was just 13 months when we took her to Cornbury. Freddie was a similar age when we went to Camp Bestival for the first time — Flo was 4. We have been every year since.

This will be our 5th year.

What do you like best about festivals with kids?    

I love having the excuse to dance like a loon (my actual style of dancing in any case) when you dance with young children.

They help me get into the festival spirit far faster — as an adult its a bit like stepping into a giant dressing up box! I enjoy the sheer amount of un-distracted time I get to spend with them as well.

Life slows down and its easier to all chug along at the same pace. We make full use of the chance to do free crafts and just hang out together.

Last year my daughter was really keen to make her way right to the front of the stage and we danced away together to different bands (she is a resolute Swifty so it was lovely to see her pogo-ing away to The Levellers!!)

Camp Bestival - Set 1 091
Tamandra, Flo Jim and Fred with Tamandra’s step-daughter Emilia and friend Lindsey at Camp Bestival
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

What’s your ultimate festival checklist when camping in a tent with children? 

  • Snacks (preferably non crumbly snacks for a quick fix as often food and drink stalls are away from the camping areas) and cartons of drinks.You can buy milk but remembering to do so — and trying to keep it cold — pretty much negates the point of taking cereal.
  • Aldi do vac-packed croissants and pain au chocolat which tend to go down really well with ours!
  • Normal pyjamas; onesies are great normally but camping at festivals makes toilet trips in onesies a real issue. Trying to keep them off the floor whilst wiping… say no more….
  • Take your own loo roll or wipes (it ALWAYS runs out, as does the antibac gel).
  • Take something really distinctive to attach to your tent so your children can find it after a trip to the loo (and you can at 1am when returning after late night dancing!) If you have access to a cheap fishing rod they are lightweight and tall — from which to fly a flag attached to your tent.
  • Glow sticks or solar lights are good to attach to pegs around the tent to prevent trips in the night.
  • Depending on the age of your children, consider taking a bucket (or something) for a midnight wee. Crocs or flip flops any sort of quick slip on shoe for urgent mid night toilet trips… children especially tend to forget that the loo is no longer just down the hall but a couple of minutes walk from the tent.  Reading this back I seem obsessed by toilets!!!!!!
  • Loads of carrier bags — good for rubbish but also for wet stuff,  if the weather isn’t kind.
  • A sense of humour. You will be closer to other tents than you would ever normally be and, the likelihood is, you will hear snoring and you will hear children — so if it is yours, try to take a deep breath and don’t stress about it. The only thing bad about hearing a child crying is hearing harassed parents shouting to try and get them to be quiet! 

What are your 5 essential festival items?

  1. Hats; not so much for the sun but to cover unwashed hair!!!
  2. I stock up on glow sticks, temporary tattoos and glow in the dark face paints etc. This gives children (and adults) something to mess around with whilst waiting for the later acts to come on. Outrageous false eyelashes come into this category as well! A trip to Poundland or Claire’s Accessories will be money well spent :)
  3. A lanyard with details of all the acts on. It may seem obvious but these often sell out very quickly on day 1 so make it a priority to get one. It enables quicker decisions when you find yourself wondering what to do at any given time.
  4. Cheap poncho style waterproof. They tend to be the ones that pack up very small but are enormous and shapeless when opened up. They are great for whipping out if you need quick cover for all your bags etc when away from your tent. 
  5. A small picnic blanket. Not your best one, as festivals tend to be crowded, there is a high chance that people will end up walking on it at some point!
Essential items to take to a family friendly festival with kids
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

1. Picnic Blanket  — H&M
2.Tattoos, false eyelashes and neon face-paints — Claire’s Accessories
3. Glow sticks — Outdoor Camping Direct
4. Waterproof Poncho — Outdoor Camping Direct
5. Hat — Accessorize

What are your essentials when festivalling with kids? Is there anything you’d add to Tamandra’s list — I’d love to hear from you!

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Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.

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