Summer not only means barbecues and rain but, if you're really lucky, a trip to a festival or two. But what if you have children in tow now? Does that mean the fun begins and ends with Legoland, the beach and trips to the park?
In a word, no. Festival goers can still wear fairy wings, a happy smile and dance the weekend away with the best of them. The only difference will be a buggy with a little person next to you and a few minor changes to the experience.
The best festival for families, in my opinion, is Camp Bestival but that has just gone although there are others coming up. If you're not lucky enough to get to one this year, file the following information away for next. And buy your tickets early. You wouldn't want to miss out on the fun would you?
Here are my top tips for family fun at festivals:1. Attitude
This is perhaps the most important thing you'll take with you. Forget it or pack the wrong one (like Grumpy or Diva) and you'll have a rubbish time. There will be litter. The toilets will sometimes be horrid. Remember, this is a festival with thousands of people. There will be some not-so-pretty things. But the good stuff, and other festival goers, will more than make up for it.
2. Hand gel
At the risk of sounding like some hygiene freak, I've written about this not-to-be-left-at-home gem before. Take lots of it because the hand sanitizer at the toilets does run out. And drum into the children, until they're bored of it, when they visit the loos: DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING.
3. Baby wipes
Along with a relaxed attitude, it helps to extend this to showers. There will be long queues for these and you won't want to waste precious hours so boil a kettle for a strip down at the tent or pack lots of baby wipes. Dry shampoo, surely, was invented for festivals.
Although the food and drink is usually wonderful, it can be notoriously costly. To help your budget, bring food from home so that you're not totally reliant on the food stalls. Lots of drinks for the little ones helps too so hopefully the only things you'll end up buying are some new tutus and ice-creams.
5. Ear defenders
Sometimes you'll want to be closer to the stage than others so these are a must for young children.
We saw loads of people carting tired little ones around in these not to mention using them to lug their stuff from the car to the campsite (which, no matter what the blurb says, is always a trek). Worth their weight in gold.
7. Walkie talkies
If you have older children, chances are they will want to roam around in a gang. Chances are, you might not be so keen. So take some walkie talkies and everyone happy. Mobile phones are handy (see below) but walkie talkies are great for kids.
8. Permanent markers
This is not something I even considered, but they are handy to have for writing your mobile number on your child's wristband. Our number scrawled in ballpoint pen soon wore off so we were left writing on wrists. And do write your number: I saw lots of tear-stained tots reunited with anxious mothers thanks to their wristbands.
These are essential because you will (hopefully) be staying out late, with the little one snuggled in a trolley/buggy and it gets cold. I'm sure summer evenings never used to but now they are. A snuggle under a blanket sipping hot chocolate in between grooving to Chic will make everyone happy.
10. Tent flags and earplugs
The campsite will be a sea of tents so best stick a flag up on a special flexible pole, just in case junior does wander off. And ear plugs are useful, unless you're an extremely heavy sleeper.
Do you go to festivals, got any great tips to pass on? I'd love to hear them, so leave me a comment!