Top tips for taking babies/toddlers to a festival

festival tips for babies & toddlers

festival tips for babies-toddlers

We’re gearing up for festival season here. First up is Camp Bestival – and we can’t wait {well…. I’m not looking forward to the long drive there!} This will be Beastie’s first festival – we had to be sensible grown-ups last year and use all our money to move to a bigger house so missed out on any festivals! Festivals can be just as much {if not more} fun with kids, as long as you’re prepared! Here are a few of my top tips for taking babies or young children camping to a festival.

1| Pitching

It can be tricky at the best of times getting a tent up, let alone trying to keep an eye on a toddler as well! We take a pop-up play tent for ours to sit in while we set up camp. Mine have always been good at staying put if asked. Take a few toys to keep them amused and some drink and snacks. The past couple of festivals we’ve done, pitching is the time we’ve all gotten sunburnt as we’re out in the middle of a field for a long time, so the sun tent will offer some protection for your littlest too. Have a test run if you can of pitching your tent to help speed the process up slightly. If you have a crawling

Have a test run if you can of pitching your tent to help speed the process up slightly.

If you have a crawling baby, or a toddler who won’t stay put – consider a pop-up playpen so you don’t have to worry about them disappearing!

2| Sleeping

It might be worth having a practise run of sleeping in the tent at home so it’s not totally weird for your toddler.

Remember that it still gets really cold at night, even in the summer so the key is plenty of layers. Mine tend to sleep in a vest, PJ’s and either a thick sleeping bag with arms or a fleece onesie. I usually co-sleep on a double airbed whilst camping, so we have a thick fleece blanket underneath us and then a duvet over the top.

Sheepskins are fantastic to line a cot/bed – they’ll keep babies toasty all night long.

Ready beds are great for toddlers who’ll be sleeping by themselves, or a pop-up cot for a baby is a great idea.

My little ones have always loved having the big glow sticks at bedtime – they work great as a nightlight if they don’t like sleeping in the pitch black.

I keep a head torch handy for middle of the night feeds/nappy changes/comforting…nothing worse than trying to scrabble around a tent in the pitch black trying to find what you need!

3| Weather

Unfortunately, you can’t guarantee warm & sunny weather! So be prepared for every eventuality. Take waterproof all -in-ones and wellies for crawling/toddling little ones – we love Muddy Puddles suits, welly boots or waterproof booties if you’re little one isn’t walking. Saves on changing countless wet/muddy outfits the entire weekend!!

If you luck out and get some sunshine, you’ll want plenty of suncream and hats – festivals are set in big open fields with not much shade – it’s easy to get burnt!

4| Playing

I always pack a bag of toys to keep little ones amused in the tent. Some wooden cars, books, mini figures, model animals, a couple of little tubs of playdough, a mini aqua draw are all great toysto take

BUBBLES – pack plenty of bubbles {and a few extra tubs}. They are ALWAYS a great way to cheer up a cross/tired/naggy kid!

Don’t worry about a little dirt – babies and toddlers will want to pull up handfuls of grass {and eat it} and play with sticks. A little dirt never hurt anyone.

5| Food

For babies on solids, take a cool bag with plenty of jars/pouches of food – it’s one of the only times I’ve used pre-made baby food, as keeping homemade cold enough/fresh isn’t possible. Pack plenty of finger foods, lots of cheap bibs and disposable spoons too!

If you’re bottle feeding, it’s tricky to sterilise – look at disposable bottles or bottle liners and cartons of ready made formula {pack more than you think you’ll need!!}

It can be expensive buying food at a festival – especially if you have a fussy eater. We take breakfast/lunch food with us, as well as lots of snacks and buy an evening meal.  {See my feeding a family at a festival post for more on this}

6| Essentials to take

Baby wipes – and lots of them. Not only useful for nappy changing, but wiping dirty fingers, faces, dropped spoons – as well as standing in for a bath for a few nights!

Ear Defenders – many little ones don’t like loud music, and these can be an essential if you want to listen to some bands without them being unhappy! Also great for evening bands if your little ones are tired – one year my daughter slept right through an entire Levellers set even though we were fairly near the front wearing a pair of these!

Head Torches – I take one for everyone {apart from babes in arms!} – makes getting back to your tent in the dark easier, as well as middle of the night trips to the toilet or nappy changes.

First Aid Kit – from blisters to cuts and grazes, you don’t want to have to go to the first aid tent unless you really have to.

Warm Jumpers – even if you’re forecast sun all weekend, it can still get chilly once the sun goes down. I make sure everyone has a thick wooly jumper or fleece to keep them snug.

7| Getting around at a festival

Festival sites can be pretty large, and little legs can get tired easily. A sling is a great way to carry your baby or toddler {I love the Mountain Buggy Juno}.

If you take a pushchair you’ll need one that’s great on different terrains and can glide through mud easily! We use our ancient Mothercare Urban Detour three-wheeler. It’s old and black [so doesn’t matter if it gets filthy}, the wheels can cope with mud and bumpy ground. Taking a buggy also means you have somewhere to carry/store all the stuff you need to carry around with you.

Lots of people use a wagon to carry older kids about it. To be honest, we’ve found them heavy and difficult to pull around but when they’re all decorated up they do look pretty!

Above all – don’t stress about the usual routine and have fun!!

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5 Comments

  1. June 21, 2016 / 14:13

    Step one is definitely my least favourite bit! Camp Bestival is a lovely first festival for a baby though – have fun!

  2. June 22, 2016 / 08:08

    Great tips, the having a practice run one is a really good idea. I always wonder what mine would think of sleeping in a tent as they never have before, we are meant to be camping at a car show in August but I’m still debating whether to stay in a hotel instead, it’s different as festivals though as it’s part of the experience. Definitely want to do it, I kind of wish I was at Glastonbury today. I’m going to be envious all weekend, unless it rains of course ;) x

  3. June 22, 2016 / 11:12

    Love these tips Polly! I’m going to bookmark this ahead of Camp Bestival next month. Those head torches look WELL handy!

  4. June 30, 2016 / 11:42

    This sounds like such a brilliant family experience, but I wonder if I’ll ever be brave enough to do it! Fab tips, it really does make me want to venture outdoors a bit more as a family x

  5. July 1, 2016 / 12:41

    I’ve only gone to a festival with Wilf once and I was quite heavily pregnant to it was a bit tough but I’d love to go back maybe next year when M is 18 months! x

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