Parades are fun for the whole family, but unless you’re lucky to be at a house on the parade route, packing smart can be a challenge. Our veteran moms and dads offer these top tips for a great family parade experience.
1. Stay clean. Bring hand sanitizer, wipes, and even toilet paper (or flushable wipes to kill two birds with one stone). Kids will be grabbing beads, dropping on the ground, among other things. Bathroom facilities can be questionable, so carrying wipes and toilet paper (or flushable wipes) helps. Bathrooms can also be scarce. If you can, get information ahead of time on where you can use a bathroom. Diapers and potty training kids almost make things easier, as those things can be handled in your own vehicle.
2. Ride it out! Your child’s wagon makes a great mode of transportation for either two tots or your gear. With a little creativity, you can decorate it as a kid float!
3. Bring bags for the loot. Stuff a few large, sturdy bags for throws into your wagon. A few canvas bags are usually in abundance at home and are perfect for toting home the loot.
4. Rise above the crowd. Don’t want to a huge ladder? A step stool can do wonders to give a little height. We found some great 2-4ft ladders at local hardware stores that work great.
5. Be safe. You should keep an eye on your little ones at all times, but write your cell phone numbers on their arms using a permanent marker. Just in case. Talk to your kids before you go about staying with family and set up rules. A plan for what to do if someone gets separated is also a great idea.
6. Get in the spirit. Choose comfortable costumes that can be layered underneath if it gets cold and are easy to remove when going to the bathroom. This is a good tip for adults as well.
7. Be an early bird. Catch the parade at the beginning. Not only do you get to see the parade on the earlier side, parents can walk their kids to look at the floats as they line up.
8. Carry provisions. Even though people are usually selling things along the route, crowds and availability can be tricky. Water and healthy snacks should be ready for tired tummies. Plus, healthy snacks from home are probably better than what you’d get from a parade vendor. We all know treats can rain down from a float or two, so water, fruit and string cheese are a good balance.
Planning can really help for a smooth parade outing. Get out there and have some fun. And be sure to teach your kids to say, “Throw me somethin’, Mister!”