I love festivals but my reasons for going to them have over the years changed and my circumstances have certainly changed. Before it was all about me and my friends, now it’s not just about me and my friends; it’s also about my children and considering my reasons for taking them.
I want them to enjoy going to to festivals and have plenty of wonderful experiences from going, and from those experiences they can hopefully benefit every day.
At the grand old age of 7 by son always talks about and looks forward to his festival holidays. He is unaware of how much he learns from going to them, but such life experiences are hard to find elsewhere.
All this made me reflect on what those experiences can teach my children? How can they develop from them?
Here’s what I believe are the Top 10 incidental things young children learn at festivals, I could have gone up to 100 there’s so many to choose from (especially when you consider the educational content of workshops), but these are my favourites:
10. Behaviour and responsibility
To listen carefully to instructions from parents and other people. To take instruction in workshop and on-site activities and also to take some responsibility for their own personal safety.
9. Forming relationships with others
Making friends with adults and peers of mixed ages. Getting involved in groups and practising both taking turns and working together.
8. Self confidence and self esteem
To be confident to try new things. From joining in with new activities, with new groups of people, and confidently dealing with new environments to taking part in workshops and perhaps even getting involved in a performance.
7. Sense of community and meeting people
Everyone is very much in the same situation at a festival. The festival for those few days becomes your world, where people from all walks of life are joined by a common ‘festival-going’ bond.
6. Different foods
Trying foods that they would never usually have at home. There are often different tastes, textures and smells from all corners of the world at festivals.
5. Different types of music
They may only have listened and danced to music you listen to – festivals are always a great chance to hear new music and to watch how the performers relate to the music and audience.
4. Play / stimulating imagination
Listening to new stories and spoken word, enriching their vocabulary and worldly understanding, and in turn incorporating it into their own play and learning.
3. Independence / feeling free to be themselves and to accept others
To be able to feel like they can be whatever they want to be, and to see other people very comfortably expressing themselves in their own special ways too!
To have more of a understanding of the weather, the nature around them, respecting the environment, the importance of keeping warm, dry, or whatever is appropriate.
1. To see and hear things they would never normally experience.
They will be in a totally different environment, away from home, with different people, different food, the whole day will be spent doing and seeing things they would not normally.