How To Host A Successful Seasonal FestivalJan 26, 2022
Festivals may look very different from service to service, due to influences such as the venue, available resources, the strengths and skill set of the host/ess, the ages of the children and the cultures/values represented in the group.
Festivals can be a wonderful opportunity to research and embed things meaningful to your families further into your service. Reach out and ask your families if there is something special to them that they would like included during the festival - now is the time to go above and beyond!
Organising your own festival can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.
Identifying your strengths and building your festival around them is a ticket to a successful day. If crafting is your thing, organise some craft activities for the children and their parents to enjoy together! Maybe you love nature play, so you might organise a treasure hunt bushwalk. If you are into storytelling, you may share an interactive, engaging story with your families.
When it comes to executing your festival, try breaking down your tasks into manageable steps;
1. Pick a date and plan what you would like to do.
Consider logistics when you select a venue - how accessible is the space? What time do you want to have your festival? What are the ages and capabilities of your group?
2. Get the children involved by making a save the date to hand out 6 weeks prior to your chosen date.
Handmade invitations (example to the left) can be handed out to families 3 weeks before the festival. Drop hints and reminders about the date in the lead up to your festival so no one forgets or double books themselves.
3. Consider if the children are going to be making seasonal crafts that can be used or displayed at the festival.
Make sure you're talking about them in your daily write-ups to families if they are - this is another great way to stimulate interest and remind people.
4. Preparation is key.
Plan your menu or organise if you're outsourcing food. Complete a risk assessment and communicate your intentions to your coordinator. Create a list of what you will need to take with you to the venue; first aid kit, rugs, cutlery, plates, spare water, hats, sunscreen, etc.
5. On the day, make sure you are early to set up the activities or crafts you planned for your festival back in step one.
These ideas are likely to have evolved throughout the season and may look different to what you initially planned.
6. Wait for your families to arrive!
Remember, play to your strengths and don't plan things that may overwhelm you on the day.
Festivals are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the changes that each season brings with the families that make up your service. It is also an opportunity for the different families to meet and connect, as sometimes it can feel difficult to make those connections during rushed pick up and drop offs.
Hosting a festival also offers you a platform to showcase to families the relationships you have with their children and how you manage your days. It can give families an insight into your professionalism and the effort you put into the program you provide.
Families rarely get to see you in action - so this is a great opportunity to share and have fun!