Should you “Festival” with a toddler??????
Yes, you should!!!
One of the things I said before I had a baby was that I was never going to let a baby stop me from doing what I love.
And what do I love? Festivals! The music, the food, the people, the atmosphere – it’s all heaven for me!
The one thing that I did not quite plan for, however, was the prep work.
When it was just me, I grabbed my sunglasses and cash and enjoyed the day. There is much more prep involved when I’m “festival-ing” with my little buddy. I’ve put together a checklist that will help you live your best festival life! Enjoy!
What to bring
Don’t be a hero. You do not want to carry that sweet bundle of joy all day without assist. Even the most active toddler is going to demand to be held when it is most inopportune. I know that some without children will say that strollers and wagon clog the festival course. But, if they feel that way then they can carry my 40 pound child for me! Pro-tip for those choosing a baby carrier-use a structured carrier for hiking. Your back will thank you!
I know, I know. Your toddler isn’t a dog. I’m not talking about a literal leash (although I have seen a retractable leash clipped to a belt loop-terrible idea by the way, don’t do it). When they aren’t demanding to be held, toddlers are typically zipping through crowds like they’re hyped up on 3 shots of espresso. The leash gives them boundaries. It is making it easier to hold their little hands without bending over. Plus, if you get the backpack style, extra storage! Animal Planet has some sweet options, check them out here on Amazon!
Even the most tan baby will burn if out all day in the blazing Louisiana sun. Give your festival baby longevity and apply, reapply, and reapply some more. Don’t forget yourself, momma! And the bug spray. I swear the mosquitoes these days seem to be on steroids. Grab some bug spray or those bug repellant bracelets!
Reusable Drink Container
Of course, please patronize our local vendors. We want to keep our festivals in business. HOWEVER. I am not sharing a drink with a toddler. I do not understand why they can’t just drink without leaving little floaters, but they can’t. So they get their own SPECIAL cup.
Again, always patronize the local vendors when you can. But, I think we all know that when the most delectable items are available, they’ll refuse to eat anything but Goldfish. Do yourself a favor and pack some options! I rely on old faithful Goldfish, cuties, and frozen pb&j sandwiches. No one likes a hangry toddler! Major crunchy points if you use reusable silicone zip locks! Options found here!
Hat for the obvious reasons, see “sunscreen.” But, even though most toddlers won’t keep sunglasses on, they may think about it if the wind kicks up and there’s a major dust storm!
Hearing Protecting Earphones
Not all toddlers with need these, but you know if yours does. My sweet little nephew gets GRUMPY with a capital G when he is over stimulated. Sound is the biggest culprit. Though he didn’t use his earphones the whole time, they were pivotal in our ability to keep the party going! Click here for some what we used!
Again, please patronize the local face painters and temporary tattoo artists. It’s one of our favorite things to do at a festival. But, you and I both know that the kiddos are going to want one every day or every time you pass the booth. Do yourself a favor and pack some extras. You can use the water from their gross water bottle to put it on.
Bathing Suit and Towel
On the off chance that we have a late cold snap, ignore this part. But, since we’re living in Louisiana reality, I think this is one of the most important things to remember. When you leave in the morning for the festival, put their bathing suit under their clothes. At almost every festival we attend, there is a water exhibit or, it rains. Pack extra underwear and shorts for when they’re done with the water, but start with the bathing suit. It makes life a lot easier.
Tissue/Toilet Paper/Hand Sanitizer
Need I say more?
Do this instead of chairs. They are way easier to carry. Let’s be honest, when you get to your destination, the likelihood of anyone sitting down for long is not high. Click here for my fave from JJ Cole- It’s lined! No wet butt when you put it on the grass!
If you’ve been to any festival in Louisiana with a child, you most certainly own one or all of the following: a tiny metal washboard, African bongos, or a wooden xylophone. Bring those bad boys with you. Not only is it so cool to watch our mini Cajuns jam with the band, but it will save you $$$$! You know they’re going to want them again!
Quiet Independent Toys
Everyone gets a little touched out during a stimulating festival. Bring a few small quiet toys for when everyone needs a break. Find a quiet corner and let everyone take some time rest. Maybe grab a little cocktail for Momma too!
Your sense of humor and a Smile!
You’ll probably be skipping naps and there will be some meltdowns. Take breaks and scout out the less crowded areas first thing in the morning so you know where to go to take a break. And if your toddler wants to park it in front of the Native American pan flute tent, then park it and go with it!
What to skip
Here’s the deal. If it’s going to rain, you’re going to get wet. It doesn’t matter what you do. Just embrace it. Not that I ever have an umbrella anyway. It’s a great excuse to dance in the rain!
I agree, I’m more comfortable in a chair than on the ground. This 35 year old back likes a little support. But, I rarely sit in it. I’m chasing someone or checking out the shopping. A chair is cumbersome to lug around and makes moving around in the festival difficult with the crowds, so just leave it at home.
“Festival-ing” with my little munchkin are some of my favorite memories since becoming a mother. Don’t let their age stop you from getting a dose of Louisiana culture! For your convenience, I’m attaching a printable Festival Checklist with blanks to add your own must haves!
What do you need to festival? Leave them in the comments!