Taking Kids to Crowded Places

EKKA 2011

The husband and I took the kids to the EKKA (aka The Brisbane Show) for the first time last weekend.  One of the reasons why we haven’t ventured out to the show with our children before is, well…because taking four children to a heavily crowded event is a nightmare challenging.

Now the kids are more independent, we decided to attend the annual show this year. I have so many fond childhood memories of the EKKA and was excited to share this experience with my kids.

Below are some of the ways I prepare for a long, busy, crowded day out.

1. Pack

I always take food supplies wherever I go because buying food for our family costs a fortune! We did buy treats while we at the EKKA (because the food is part of the experience!) but the majority of supplies I bring with me. This is what is typically on my list:

  • Cut sandwich
  • Apple
  • 2 x packets rice crackers
  • Water bottles for each person
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wipes
  • Change of underwear (for the little one)
  • Hats
  • Sunscreen

I keep everything in a backpack because it’s easy to carry around. It’s also a good idea to take strollers to use a pack-horse, even if the kids are older. In a few years, when we don’t have strollers anymore, I will probably get everyone to take their own backpack to carry supplies.

{first taste of fairy floss — ever!}

fairy floss at the ekka

2. Safety

Safety weighs heavily on my mind when taking children to crowded places. Below are steps I take to ensure my children’s safety.

i) Write my mobile number in pen somewhere hidden on my child’s body, under a sleeve or jumper if possible. You can buy id wrist bracelets for this purpose also.

taking children to crowded places

ii) In the (unlikely) case one of my children does get lost, I’ve instructed them to stay still, and I will come and find them.  The worst thing they can do is walk around trying to find me.

iii) Talk to my children about staying close at all times and remind them that Mum and Dad are there to give them a fun day, and we can do more things as a family if they follow the simple rules.

iv) Dress my younger children in bright clothes. When we were at the EKKA, it was easy for me to spot the bright red hat on my son so I could make sure he was with me all the time.

taking kids to crowded places -- wear bright clothes tip

3. Plan

While we didn’t have a fixed plan for the day, it did help to have a general guide in what to do, and where to go. To help plan out the day, we checked the relevant website, picked up a map to take with us. Things I particularly look out for are toilets and eating areas.

I also have a flexible guide in my head about what we plan to buy for the kids so I’m not influenced to get everything we see. The children were allowed to choose 2 showbags (which we decided before we went to the show).

4. Enjoy!

The only thing left to do was to enjoy the day! And we did! Sure, it was a big day, but it went surprisingly smoothly.

Do you have any more tips for taking kids to crowded places?

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  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I love the idea about writing the mobile number on your kids’ arms. I will definitely be doing that in future.

    I also think the bright colours is a great idea. One of my work colleagues went on his honeymoon to the US and came back laughing about the family groups he saw at Disneyland, all wearing matching T-shirts or hats. But that is one easy way to locate each other!

  • Reply
    Kate @ Puddles and Gumboots
    August 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I always dress the kids in easy to spot shirts when we go out to busy places or places where there might be quite a few kids running about. Love the idea of writing your mobile number on their arms hadn’t thought of that!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      August 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      I’ve seen those fancy arm bands but I like to do things that are really easy…writing with a bit of pen fits the bill 😉

  • Reply
    Betty Anderson
    August 18, 2011 at 10:36 pm


    Your awesome, smart and creative mom as always….I like the idea about Writing your mobile number in pen in your children’s arm, that’s the easiest and smartest thing to do esp. going to crowded places..You have awesome blog, I’m still single but I love reading your stuff honestly I shared it to my sister all your great ideas here…Best wishes to you Kelly and keep writing…

    Betty Anderson

  • Reply
    Dulce Chalé
    August 18, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    From the time they can walk, I also teach my children that if they get lost, to find another mom with kids and ask for help. This was an amazingly valuable tip from Protecting the Gift, by Gavin DeBecker. Statistically, asking a mom with other children is far, far safer than having them try to find an employee/security guard. It is also much easier for a small child to identify another mommy with kids than to be trying to look for an unfamiliar uniform or tag.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      August 19, 2011 at 7:49 am

      Good tip Dulce. Mums often look out for out people’s children too. If saw a crying child once…alone and I waited with her until the Mum found her. Mums have that eye for a child in trouble don’t they? Thanks Dulce.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I have 5 kids and usually do the outings myself while my husband is at work, so I have used most of the tips already provided, but would like to add two of my own.

    I always take a picture of each of the kids at the beginning of our outing. That way I can show people what they are wearing and what they look like.

    I always wear a bright shirt or hat, that way, if the kids get separated from me, they can see me in the crowd. Same idea as dressing the kids in bright colours!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
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    […] dynamics  remind me of the Zipper ride at the EKKA (the annual Brisbane show). This infamous ride consists of individual cages that spin on a wheel […]

  • Reply
    August 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Planning a 2012 trip to the Ekka this post in invaluable. You might want to repost it! I’m taking our two kids for the first time and the thought of losing them terrifies me. I’ll be doing all of the above!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    What an excellent post! Thanks so much. Our toddler is still too small for the Ekka; she gets just as excited by the $2 rides at the shopping centre without any money in them. I love the idea about going to find another Mummy with kids if lost. I think that they are handing out ID brands at the Police stand at the Ekka too, if you want a cheaper option.

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