It’s a bit late for this year but I thought I would write this post and share my tips for taking a toddler to Just So festival (many of the tips will work for other family festivals too) as I looked for something similar before we went.
Before you go:
- Buy the programme and pick out the things you really want to see. There is a lot going on at festivals and lots you will want to see. At Just So some things are on at specific times and others are on all the time. Some things are repeated every day and a few things may only be on for one day. There were a couple of things we really wanted to see so we made a point of going to the first session. This worked best as we later realised things were cancelled or postponed due to the weather.
- Think about your child and what will work for them. F still needs an afternoon nap but we knew she would sleep in the buggy. We also knew that we would be wasting our time trying to put her to bed in the tent at her usual bed time, so we popped back to the tent after eating (or took pyjamas with us some days), put her in her pyjamas and put her back in the buggy. We did this Friday and Saturday night and both times she was asleep before we got back to the festival, slept through the show or band and transferred back to the tent well at the end. This won’t work for all toddlers though so think before hand what will work best for your toddler.
- Pack for all weathers. We had periods of glorious sunshine, rain showers and even an electrical storm. Dressing in layers is really useful as we were away from the tent for long days and the weather changed a lot! Take wellies for everyone as the site got muddy after all the rain. The team did their best though putting straw and wood bark down in key areas. Don’t forget to pack sun cream and sun hats for little ones too. If you are camping make sure you take warm clothes and extra blankets for the nights as since it’s at the end of August the night can get cold. Thankfully we were lucky and two of the nights were really warm but the last night was colder (F never noticed due to the warm clothes and extra blanket).
- Pack plenty of clothes and nappies. There were nappies in the baby changing area but I wouldn’t rely on this and take plenty with you. Baby wipes are useful for more than just nappy changes so again take plenty. It’s a fine balance between taking everything you need and not taking too much as you obviously have to get it all from the car to the tent. Think about using a rucksack instead of your usual changing bag.
- Take some food with you. Festival food can be quiet expensive so it would be expensive to eat out for all your meals. We took food for breakfast at the tent and packed lunches for friday/saturday. We also took lots of snacks for all of us including fruit. I was pleasantly surprised by most of the food prices at Just So. Children’s portions were expensive though as they were generally only a pound less than an adult portion. They were quiet big so not a problem if you have older children or more than one but we found F couldn’t even manage half her pasta meal (and she likes her pasta!).
- Take bubble wands or bubble guns and glow sticks. Bubbles were great for keeping F entertained when we were hanging around waiting for shows to start. Again they did sell them on site if you forgot your own.
- Take a waterproof backed picnic blanket (one that you don’t mind getting muddy). You will need this more than just at meal times.
- Remember to pack favorite toys. We didn’t take too much as we knew we would have to carry it from the car to the tent but we made sure we packed F’s favorite soft toy to make bed time easier. Something to keep the children busy while you put the tent up is useful too.
- Pack reins and a buggy. We didn’t bother hiring a trolley and we found our pushchair fine for getting around most of the site. Reins were good too as our little one has a habit of running off. I have to say the festival wasn’t as busy as I expected which is a bonus with young children. Yes it was busy but the site was big enough to handle the numbers.
Once you’re there:
- Relax and enjoy. Try not to worry too much about routines etc but going back to one of my first tips, do what is best for your family, so you all enjoy the festival as much as possible.
- Explore the under 4s area – Peekaboo is the under 4’s area and includes a baby changing tent that was well stocked with all sizes of nappies and plenty of wipes which I wasn’t expecting. Towards the end of Sunday most sizes were gone so make sure you still take nappies. The tents in this area are all quiet small and be warned there is no front to the baby changing tent which was interesting in the pouring rain! On Saturday there was a fantastic interactive show on for under 4’s called the adventures of Pom. F was mesmerised by this and sat still all the way through (quiet an achievement). This was on in a tent called ‘the den’. Be warned it was a very small tent and a very popular show. We went to the first showing and got there early. Lots of people were turned away and given notes to give them priority at the next showing. It was only on 3 times so I hope everyone who wanted to see it got the chance as it was really good for older babies and toddlers.
- Don’t feel that your toddler will only enjoy the under 4’s area (peekaboo). There were plenty of other things to amuse them. In the high seas there was a big pile of sand and lots of buckets and spades which F loved. Bubble hour was also popular with her (giant bubbles, what’s not to love?). She loves dancing and music so Footlights was fun for her too. We went to see a comedian during nap time. It wouldn’t have worked for us with her awake as there was nothing to keep a 2 year olds attention.
I hope you have found these tips for taking a toddler to Just so festival useful. If you do decide to go to the festival, I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time.