You might not immediately put an art festival on your to-do list as a family, but we have a few ideas to make them fun for everyone, especially your kids. While the festival is an art lover’s paradise, there’s no reason that you can’t enjoy a day there with the kids, too. After all, art is for everyone! Here are a few tips for enjoying the day at an art festival with kids this summer in Des Moines.
Check out the festival program and map online.
There’s usually a map, program and sometimes an app, on an art festival’s website. Look for it online and scope out what you want to see during your visit. Restrooms and sitting areas are also usually marked, which is good to know when attending with kids.
Leave the big stroller at home.
Umbrella strollers are made for events like these where you may be going in and out of tight quarters. You might also want to think of using a sling or a baby pack. They’re much easier to maneuver in and out of the artist tents.
Go early in the day.
Crowds are hard with children and harder still when you have a child in a stroller or wheelchair. If going early in the day doesn’t work for your family, consider going for the last hour of the festival.
Bring water and snacks.
Even though art festivals have food, some really good food, actually, hunger can strike your kiddos at any time. We also know the novelty of fancy food truck fare can be lost on a toddler. It’s always good to have a few snacks and a water bottle on hand, just to keep anyone from getting hangry.
Be prepared for the weather.
Summer in Des Moines can be everything from hot and humid to chilly and overcast. It’s a good idea to bring along sunscreen, as well as, a sweatshirt – just in case, depending on the forecast.
Games make the festival more interactive and allow parents to spend more time enjoying the art. You can play “Eye Spy”, “Secret Painting” (One player chooses an object in an exhibit but does not tell the other players which one it is and the others have to guess), “I’ll Take That One” (Each player chooses one piece of art they pretend they are going to buy) or “Build a Rainbow” (This is essentially a color hunt. See if you and your kids can find every color of the rainbow) are just a few examples.
Mix it up.
Break up visits to artist booths with watching art demonstrations, listening to live music, taking part in the free hands-on art projects in the youth art area and having a snack (or two).
Choose a destination or reward.
We all need something to look forward to and go seek out. Some kind of sweet treat, a visit to the “kid zone”, whatever it is, make it something your kids are excited about and looking forward to.
Remember where you parked.
Sounds super obvious, right? I thought so too until one time my friends and I couldn’t find our car and had to keep walking for about 40 minutes on a sweltering summer day. If you’re not good at remembering, (like me;) take a picture with your phone of the parking garage level, nearby landmarks, cross streets, etc.
If the art festival really sparks an interest in your kids, try out an art class or two.
What are your tips for enjoying the day at an art festival with your family?
Find a list of summer festivals in Des Moines here.