Water and Juice
Protective Ear Wear
Small Toys, Playing Cards, or Dice
A brief game of Minecraft or Jetpack Joyride can often times allow you to finish that concert that your kids have obviously become bored with.
A brief game of Minecraft or Jetpack Joyride can often times allow you to finish that concert that your kids have obviously become bored with.
“Mom, I’m hungry.”
“Hey mom, I need a snack!”
Anyone else dread these words from their children’s mouths? If so, I will promise you that you are not alone. I HATE hearing from my children that they need a snack and are hungry because if it were up to them they would never eat a meal and would live completely off of crappy snacks. (Sadly they like all of the bad stuff that I HATE buying for them.)
When it comes to being at Summer Camp Music Festival I will admit that I like to plan ahead for my kids. For one they are not going to eat a meal sized snack so vendors are generally out when it is snack time. For another they are kids so, while there is tons of kid friendly foods (more about that keep reading!!), there are times that they just want their favorite.
I try to choose goods that are not going to have damaging effects on the environment and most of the time we use BPA free containers and such for everything but sometimes I need to be more convenient. I also like to feed them whole foods or organic snacks but sometimes I relax and just pick up their favorites. Festival time is one of those times when I let them choose what they want and let them have all of their favorites.
Feeding your kids at Summer Camp is a necessity. How you do it is up to you. 90% of the time in life we eat whole healthy foods. 90% of time we choose snacks that we can put in recyclable bags and containers. Summer Camp is not one of those times for us. I am all about convenience when it comes to Summer Camp and feeding my children. I want it to be easy. So I choose a lot of convenience based products.
I am a list person so for those of you are like me, creating lists is going to help you stay on top of things. If you are not a list person the following “lists” might annoy you. I prefer to group my lists into categories. Then I prefer to list the things that I need to buy and pack. I will admit that I do allow the kids to eat some of their less than healthy favorites (so please no judgements!). These are not foods that they get to eat often.
*Mini Cereal Boxes (For some reason these are one of my kids most exciting things about camping…weird, huh?)
*Fruit (I will have a big bowl of cut up watermelon and a big bowl of mixed berries and grapes this weekend!)
*Lunchables (I know, I know…these are awful but my kids have honestly not had one in over three months so I don’t feel bad letting them have a few this weekend!)
*Veggies and Dip
We eat dinner at the festival because that means that we do not have to pack grills or anything to cook on. This is one thing that we take a little extra money for. The convenience alone is worth spending a bit and one great thing about Summer Camp is that there is a wide variety of foods that are healthy and affordable.
*Snack Packs (I get the small cracker and cookie snack packs because they are easy to throw in the kids’ bags and take with us anywhere in the festival.) Remember to teach your kids not to litter.
*Small Bags of Chips (Yes I bought a big box of the small bags of chips as well.)
*Goldfish (I know that these are not that healthy either buy all four of my children love them and I try to avoid buying them as a general rule of thumb but this time they are a special treat for them.)
*Gallons of Water (my kids each have a few water bottles and a Camelbak that we will take with us)
*Gatorade/Powerade/Sports Drink (each kiddo will have a water bottle that is dedicated to Gatorade throughout the festival)
*Juice (I prefer to take in jugs and use the Gatorade bottles for this. I do pick out bottles without a straw because I do not want to have to clean out a straw or mouthpiece that has been used for anything but water.)
*Sprite (My kids do not get soda very often but they love it so why not offer them a little special treat each day that we are enjoying the festival.)
Remember that it is very important that your kids stay hydrated. Keep them drinking all day long and make sure that they are getting enough to drink.
Okay, so who doesn’t love a treat every once in a while?!? I know that I still enjoy a treat from time to time. These are the treats that I take for my kiddos. Keep in mind that you do not want to take treats that could melt so that is a lot of the reason for the specific treats that I choose.
*Chewy Sweet Tarts
*Tootsie Roll Pops
*Caramel Apple Pops
I will admit that mommy really likes candy after having a few drinks, so on my late night some of these might be mommy treats too!
I am hoping to publish an allergy guide that can serve not only for this festival but that I can pull from for pre-festival coverage in the future. I attempted to figure this out beforehand but it was kind of impossible. I will be walking around to food vendors on Thursday night and Friday so that I can get this allergy guide posted and linked up to the social media feeds. This should help parents who are worried about allergies and you can access it from your phone to have on hand.
*If your child has severe allergies you might want to ask if that food is served from the vendor. Cross contamination at a festival is very likely and no parent wants to deal with an epi-pen level emergency at a festival. So it is my opinion that if a food is served by a vendor that you choose to not feed your child food from that vendor.
*Ask how the items are cooked. If your child has a peanut allergy there is a chance that foods could still be cooked in peanut oil (actually our zoo cooks all fried foods in peanut oil so it is something real that you have to be aware of!). This is a HUGE lesson that you should learn now to avoid issues in the future.
*This is a question that might feel odd and will feel unnatural to you. When it comes to figuring out how to avoid your child having an allergic reaction at the festival you have to be proactive. You have to be willing to figure out everything that you can about the food being cross contaminated with something else. Taking this extra step is really going to minimize any issues that you might have.
We all know that I am a HUGE fan of babywearing but I am not a big fan of strollers. I have been lucky enough in the past to have both of these handy items at Summer Camp and I will explain the good and bad of both!! To be honest I use both daily when I am at the festival and my husband does too.
This year when it comes to strollers I will be taking the Britax BAgile with us. This is a handy little stroller but I do feel something with wheels that were just a bit bigger would be easier on the festival grounds.
As for baby carriers there are three that will be making their rotations throughout the festival. I have a Toddler Tula, a Toddler Lenny Lamb wrap conversion, and a MOM Tai. I LOVE all of these for different reasons so depending on the time of day, you will see one or the other.
*If you are traveling where you have to carry everything in to the festival grounds then it is really convenient to put your baby on and walk through the gates.
*Baby carriers take up very little room when you are packing.
*Babywearing is a great way for you to dance and let baby sleep during shows.
*Even older kids can appreciate “baby”wearing when you are walking around for long periods of time.
*Touching your baby and being close to your baby is good for you both. Plus it will help ease your little one’s anxieties if they are not used to being in a crowd.
*Babies are happier when they are being carried and held.
*Your baby is going to develop faster. It is proven that their central nervous system has benefits from being held.
*Your baby can feel your cues when you are nervous or happy so they know who to interact with safely. This can be HUGE in a big crowd of people.
*You can comfort your baby when you are wearing them.
*Plus it is going to be way easier on you all the way around if the weather should turn a little gray and there is mud. Strollers suck in the mud!! Even the best ones that I have owned suck in the mud!!
*Strollers can haul other stuff for you…toys, picnic blankets, small coolers with water and snacks for your kids, and a change of clothes for your kids.
*Strollers help you maneuver through crowds, generally no one wants to be the person that ran into the stroller!
*Strollers are a comfortable place for your little ones to sit.
*Strollers have protection from the sun and other weather elements like rain.
*Strollers can be a great place where your little one can take a nap while you are walking around.
*Strollers offer you a break if you have a kiddo that just wants to be held or worn all of the time.
I can’t wait to see you there and if you see me please come say hi to us!!
So Huxley is my five year old and one spunky little guy. Today I got to sit down and talk with him about the top ten things that he says that you need to have in your child’s backpack when going to Summer Camp.
First off Huxley has a few favorite backpacks that he really loves. He wanted me to tell you all about them and what we love about them.
This one is not as much fun as some of the other choices for a kids backpack. What I like about this backpack is the quality. I love that after an entire year of use it is still like new. The zippers work great, there are no thin spots in the canvas material. All in all this backpack features all of the quality that you expect from the Kelty brand just in a size that is comfortable for little ones to wear.
The Trunki Paddlepak
The Trunki Paddlepak is one of those backpacks that has a cute and fun design. These backpacks come in different colors and different sea life themes. They are fun for little ones and they are “splashproof.”
The first thing that came out of Huxley’s mouth when I asked him what he would put in his backpack was food. I asked for specifics and it was determined that by food he meant snacks. His personal top choices for snacks are fruit roll ups and donuts. I guess I know what is on his wish list for food at summer camp.
Huxley really loves playing with glow sticks. I know that I already shared this picture but I have to share again that glow sticks really become a whole lot more when you are at Summer Camp. In fact his glow sticks helped him transform his shoes into “rocket shoes” last year.
This is not the flashlight that we have but Huxley definitely was focused on having a flashlight in his backpack so that he could “see in the dark.”
Huxley has been to his fare share of festivals in his young five years. He understands the importance of being able to stay cool when he is at those festivals. So one of the first things that he said he wanted in his backpack was a “little fan.” We have used a wide range of these and we have some that are really small and some that are bigger. He loves being able to have his fan blowing on him while we are sitting in the sun enjoying a show.
There are so many great card games out there for kids. Tonight when we were talking about packing for Summer Camp he picked up Herding Cats as his choice for a “card game” so I guess that this is one of their popular games right now.
We are a board game type of family…not to be confused with bored games. (I am such a dork but sometimes I seriously can not help myself!!) Anyways Huxley was showing me a few of his board games that he wanted to take to Summer Camp with us. It was cute and made mommy think that we need a small tote full of toys and games so that we can shut them up and make sure that if it rains nothing gets damaged.
This has been one of Huxley’s favorite toys since he got it from grandma and grandpa last year for his birthday. It is 7 months later and he is still playing with it every time. The watch does some cool things and he loves to take pictures and play around on it. So he thought that this would be a great toy to take with him. (This might be because he was told that some of his electronics were not an option!)
When we travel to festivals we typically take two water bottles. One of these the kids get Gatorade or Poweraid in the other is strictly for water. I am not sure what two water bottles we are taking this year or if we will need two because we are going to have Camelbaks for them!
There are many times when books are great at a festival. You can read to your child before bed. They can quietly look at books in the morning when everyone else is still sleeping. Plus books are a great resource in between shows when kids get bored. I would highly recommend having plenty of books to read with your child at Summer Camp.
Finally a few special toys are something that the kids really enjoy having. Huxley says that this is the special toy that he wants to take with us. I have no idea why this is suddenly the toy of choice since it certainly seems like something that is made for younger children. However it is the toy that he has come to love so it is the toy that he will be bringing along.
Since I have been attending Summer Camp Music Festivals since 2004 with a little one in hand I have learned some great packing tricks that make life so much easier with kids. I have been to Summer Camp with anywhere from 1 to 4 children of mine so there have been years that were definitely more difficult than others.
Here are my top ten things that I think every parent needs to pack along.
If you have ever tried to climb through mud that was up way past your ankles you will understand just how important these are. Now I know that many people shy away from spending this much money on a pair of boots or shoes for their kids but this is one thing that I will make sure that my children are never without again. There are so many reasons that I love Bogs but one of these is that they are so comfortable. Here are some more….your child will not have wet feet, your child will not have cold feet, your child will be able to walk through mud without problems, your child will be able to play in puddles without issues, and finally they come in all colors and sizes so your children are going to love them.
It is very likely that your child is going to get hot while they are at Summer Camp. One thing that I would remember to take along is a squirt gum or a spray bottle. If you are worried about your child bothering other people then a spray bottle might be a better option. There are even some great spray bottles that you can find with small battery operated fans on them. These work great for Summer Camp!
I love that Camelbak makes kids sized packs. These are so convenient and they seriously are going to last you forever. My oldest got his Camelbak Skeeter when he was just 3 years old. He is going to be 12 this summer and it still works without leaking. I don’t know many other things that are made for children that are going to last 9 years! Another great thing about Camelbaks is that my children LOVE drinking out of them so they are always excited to drink water which means they end up drinking a lot more water than they would if they were just drinking out of water bottles.
Another product that our entire family loves is Keen sandals. There are a few different reasons for this. One of these is that Keens are very comfortable. They are also okay if they get wet. (I used to love Birkenstocks but after ruining one too many pairs at festivals I started wearing Keens!) They are closed toe so your child is less likely to injure themselves. They also come in a wide range of colors and patterns so that your child can pick the one that they like best.
Go to the Dollar Tree and spend a little bit of money stocking up on glow sticks and glow toys. This is one item that I honestly feel you can never have enough of when you have children and are at Summer Camp. Plus if you put enough glow sticks on your kiddo and they run off in the crowd, they are really easy to catch up with. Your children might also enjoy coming up with their own unique things to do with the glow sticks and creations to build.
If you have a picnic blanket that is great. If you do not have one and cannot afford one pick up a Booginhead Splat Mat for each of your kiddos. We have three picnic blankets that go with us to every show that we go to. We throw them on the ground and it becomes a nice little spot for us to sit and dance with the kids where they can kick their shoes off without worry of stepping on something. It also becomes a safe zone because people in the crowd rarely step on your blankets.
I will admit that it does not rain every single year at Summer Camp. However it does rain almost every year. If you are concerned about it raining then I would be inclined to pack a rain jacket. Another great thing about rain jackets is that with a long sleeve shirt on under them they become very warm.
When choosing a sunscreen for Summer Camp make sure that you pick up one that has a high SPF. Children who get sunburns are not happy campers. In fact, they are often grumpy and intolerable. So make sure that you pick out a sunscreen that has a very high SPF and if you are using sunscreen from last year make sure that it has not expired. You want your children to be protected all day long. (When speaking about sunscreen I would like to state that I am in love with SuperGoop!! They have the best sunscreen on the market and their CC Cream is wonderful for moms who want some light coverage all summer long!!)
Concerts are loud, especially if you want to get close enough to see the band with your child. Make sure that your child’s ears are protected with some great ear protection. This year I purchased all new ear protection for my children for Summer Camp and it was way more affordable than I thought that it was going to be. In fact the ear protection that I purchased can be found on Amazon for less than $15 per pair. (These are Snug Safe brand and they come in a wide range of colors…enough colors in fact that each kiddo go to pick out their favorite!)
If you are coming through the gates and do not have an RV pass and are traveling with children the wagon is going to be your saving grace. Many people do not realize until they get to the gates at Summer Camp that you actually have to carry all of your gear and all of your stuff through the gates. If you are camping alone with your kids this can be a struggle to get everything. Just remembering to pack light and making sure that you have a wagon is a great idea. As a bonus the wagon can be used throughout the weekend to let your kids hang out and take naps during shows and to ride around in between shows. Our children LOVE being able to jump in the wagon for rides and we love that the wagon helps us to get everything that we need where we are going. (We have used a few different wagons and I would highly recommend one that has very sturdy wheels that are bigger!)
Summer Camp Music Festival is just around the corner. If you are a parent and you love music then there is a good chance that you will be taking your kids along with you to the festival. Well this is where I come in. I am a parent and I have been attending Summer Camp for 12 years with children in tow. That’s right for nearly all of the past 12 years of Summer Camps I have had at least one child with me. There are a few things that I have picked up along the way and lots of information that I would have loved to have at my finger tips before I attended the festival for the first time.
First things first, taking kids to Summer Camp is more work than traveling alone. However if you prepare yourself right you are going to have a much better time and a time that is not nearly as stressful. I am going to try and compile a great guide for all of you parents out there that are looking to go to Summer Camp with their children.
I feel honored to be included among the media team at the festival. I am excited to be able to share some of my favorite Summer Camp memories with my own children with you. I am also excited to help you have a fun experience so that you will continue coming back to Summer Camp!
A Comprehensive Guide to Summer Camp with Children
Bands to Take the Kiddos To
Special Activities for Families and Children
Emergency Information Every Parent Needs to Know
Special Considerations for Those with Disabilities
The Ultimate Summer Camp Packing List — Packing with Kids
Things That Come In Handy at Summer Camp with Kids
What to Talk to Your Kids About Before Attending Summer Camp
Some Questions Your Kids Might Ask While Attending Summer Camp
The Top Ten Things to Do at Kids Camp
Ten Things You Must Remember When Attending Summer Camp with Kids
Ten Things Althea Says You Should Pack in Your Child’s Backpack (That’s right my 6 year old is going to help me tell you what other little kids her age should be packing.)
Ten Things Huxley Says You Should Pack in Your Child’s Backpack (Huxley will be giving you his picks for what to include in your child’s backpack.)
Weather Precautions to Take at Summer Camp
What to Leave at Home — A Look at the Items You Will Not Be Getting Through the Gates
Cloth Diapers and Festivals — What You Need to Know
Feeding your Kids at Summer Camp
Babywearing Vs Strollers — The Good and the Bad That You Should Know
?? Please feel free to let me know questions that you have about Summer Camp.
Plus you will get to check out some awesome highlights and features about some of my favorite bands that are going to be at Summer Camp.
Another exciting thing about the Summer Camp Music Festival is that my husband will be joining me and will be writing as well. He is going to offer you a few preview posts including:
A Dad’s Favorite Summer Camp Memories with His Kids
Dad’s Ultimate Guide to Summer Camp
Everything Dad Needs in His Backpack When Attending Summer Camp with Kids
Well, I will tell you some basic information about Summer Camp Music Festival.
Summer Camp Music Festival takes place in Chillicothe, IL on May 22, 23, and 24, 2015.
During the three days of music more than 100 bands will grace the stages. Bands range from regional artists to bands that are known around the world. In my many years of Summer Camp attendance I have never been disappointed with the line up or bands that I was able to see.
You can pick up tickets for the festival now before the price goes up again. Right now they are at the 3rd level price point which is $224.50. The total price with fees is $247. Do keep in mind that once the tickets allotted for this level have sold out that they will go up in price so it is a good idea to buy your tickets now if you have not already purchased them.
There are some additional ticket add ons that you might want to take advantage of as well. If you are interested in getting into the campground earlier than Friday morning than you can pick up a Thursday pre-party ticket for just $35 (it is required that you have a 3 day pass before you can use the pre-party ticket). This year’s Thursday pre-party includes performances by the following: The Infamous Stringdusters, Manic Science (Manic Focus and Break Science), Floodwood, Future Rock, Dopapod, The Werks, The Nth Power, Turbo Suit (previously known as Cosby Sweater), Sun Stereo, DJ NODJ, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Family Groove Company, Artifakts, Blake Gardner & the Farmers, Business as Usual, Chicago Funk Mafia, Dead Language, DJ Amplifi, Earphoric, Fanny Pack, Fox Valley Harvest, Hog Magundy, Home Stretch Ride, Hyryder, Ifdakar, Little Pizza, Moontang, The Dawn, and Yojimbo.
As with all festivals there are VIP upgrades available. I have attended Summer Camp as both VIP and general admission and I will stand behind the VIP experience here. It is pretty amazing. The check in procedure and the fact that you are parked so close to the camping area are the two big selling points for me. If you have the extra $200 for the basic VIP upgrade per person then I would highly recommend it. In addition to the special parking and camping there are special seating areas at the bigger stages, Thursday pre-party access, a VIP bar in the campground and at a few of the stages, your own special VIP poster, and entrance to one of the late night shows (more about this in a minute). For $300 you also get deluxe parking, 2 late night shows, a case of Goose Island beer, and an official event t-shirt. The $420 upgrade also includes all 3 late night shows, Super Deluxe parking (yes this means a whole lot less walking!!), and an official event sweatshirt. For $1000 you can live the experience of being a rock star during the entire event with rockstar parking, and an all access backstage pass which allows you to get into the green room where you can rub elbows with the artists and enjoy some free beer and snacks.
If you love Umphrey’s McGee there are also some amazing Umphrey’s VIP packages available. These include a picnic with the band, complete with food and beverages; a private Umphrey’s set in the church; special access to the Golden Ticket Merch Event, free downloads of all of the UM shows for the weekend, a commemorative laminate, special dedicated staff available to you throughout the weekend, and an exclusive umVIP merchandise item. You can view these special packages to learn all of the details and additional information.
Not a tent camper?? Well if you purchase the VIP access you can take advantage of these special hotel and shuttle packages. You can also pick up tickets for RVs but hurry only primitive and VIP upgrades are available now.
Plus if you can not attend the whole weekend you can grab a Sunday one day pass for just $75, so there is really no reason to not attend at least the one day of fun.
Keep in mind that if money is an issue that there are still volunteer opportunities that are available for you to be able to work and get your price of admission refunded to you. Just check out the ticketing page for more details.