Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Family Outings at Their Best
This past weekend we decided to behave like a normal family unit and attend two of Edmonton's festivals: K-Days (yes, I will forever call it K-Days and hope that's what my kids will call it too), and Heritage Days.
Because of our DS who still naps all our outings take place in the afternoons. We decided to skip lunch and head straight down to the K-Day grounds after he woke up which turned out to be a good decision as we got decent parking near the entrance and the line-ups weren't too bad when we first arrived. Here's some of the things I learned from our family outings:
- ALWAYS take the 'Lost Child' sticker. It's uber sticky and they can't take it off themselves if you put it on their back. Put 2 cell numbers on there in case one of you doesn't hear your phone or loses it. And consider getting an extra sticker to put on your hubby if yours gets as wrapped up in the excitement as mine does ;)
- give you kids a set of rules. Since mine are so young we keep the rules simple: NO running away from mommy & daddy. That and 'No hitting' as that should just be a standard one that applies at all times
- measure the height of your child before you go. We were very disappointed to realize that our DS could only go on about 5 rides. We at least had enough common sense to measure him at the grounds prior to purchasing tickets or an all day ride pass at that would have been useless to him.
- the food on the grounds suck, everyone knows this. The only surprise every year is what new menu item have they added that will kill you faster than the last one. So, plan ahead to bring a few healthy snacks, eat inside at the food court, or simply resign yourself that after eating on the midway you will have little Tasmanian Devils on your hands until that junk food/sugar high settles down. (IF you time this correctly you can let them wear off that energy dancing to one of the free kids shows on the Telus stage, we did - SCORE!)
At Heritage Days
- since you're travelling with small kids remember to take the map that is provided in the Edmonton Journal a couple days before the event. It's best to plan out what food you know you'll love (and the kids will like) and map out your best plan of attack. I always plan so that I hit the ticket booth first, the Lost Kids tent second, and then various food booths and planned potty breaks. I saw one dad RUNNING with his kid over his shoulder to the closest bathrooms & another mom push her way past 30-odd people in line to make sure their kids made it in time, plan ahead and this won't be a worry
- LOST KIDS STICKERS - I know I mentioned it above but whatever event you attend it's best you scope this tent or service out. When I was volunteering for the Food Bank later in the evening one very distraught dad came running up to us to ask if we'd seen his 3 year old son - scary!
- Sunscreen, shade, sunscreen, shade. We always try to go with the grandparents or other people to help us keep an eye on the kids. This also helps when you need to take a shade break, some people stay to watch the kids in the shade while others go out and forage for food to bring back to the tribe.
- Bring a donation to the Food Bank! Even with carrying that stroller, and diaper bag, and sippy cups - we're parents so we're used to juggling multiple things, a few items for the food bank won't break the balancing act.
- Know when to call it quits. Yes, you might not have made it to that Hungarian tent for some langos but if the kids are whining and they're having a harder time listing to the few rules you gave them, it's time to pull the plug and get on a bus home.
Those are just a few of the things I find helpful when doing our family outings to some of the many Edmonton festivals. On a side note, I just wanted to say how amazing Heritage Days are. It was my favourite festival as a child, and it's my favourite festival as an adult. When I was on my volunteer break I was sitting on the hill people watching and it struck me what I love so much about this festival; it's about diversity, understanding, and acceptance. What better way to celebrate Edmonton and the people that live in it. I truly hope to instill this in my children and hope they see it & love it the same way I do.