Guest review from Tor and family. Thanks for checking out Into The Trees 2019.
My top parenting tip is to keep your expectations low. Don’t hope too much and you can’t be too disappointed, right?
It was with this in mind that me and the family headed Into the Trees last weekend. I was aiming for camping with friends, with a bit of nice stuff to look at and activities for the kids to complain about. As idyllic as the Instagram photos were I knew my family experience wouldn’t mirror the smiles and wholesome activities.
Well. Blimey. It was just lovely. And it lived up to the hype.
To start with, the decorations, signage and set up details were so beautiful you feel like you’re in a well planned photoshoot before you even get to any activities. But the substance behind the style is absolutely there. With knobs on.
We hit the Schools Without Walls art trail on Saturday morning. Set in the woods, it was inspiring and well organised. My son kept pointing and saying “I want to make that” and “I want to do one of those”. He never says that.
The crafts and activities on offer around the festival were varied and easy to do, and quickly effective. After finishing his first craft my son said “more crafting please” and we did four things quickly and easily. It was straightforward to access and plenty of happy crew around to help out a little one if an activity was a little tricky. We flipped between exploring the woods, or sitting down and doing an activity. No pressure.
We spent Saturday afternoon loafing around the bar and mini stage, nipping off to make lanterns, dancing with other kids to our own music, face and hair painting each other, just whatever came to mind.
We joined in the bat walk Saturday evening but didn’t make the woodland ceilidh. Not getting back out after the kids’ bedtime was not surprising. It was also not a worry. As the focus is on the day time, unlike most festivals with a solid evening entertainment programme, you don’t feel you are missing out if a day with the smalls has taken it out of you..
Sunday took us to the Woodland Tribe playground, the barefoot walk (done repeatedly by all!) some more crafting, tree listening, fabulous faffing about in the woods and pond dipping.
A few things across the weekend were timed so it was worth keeping an eye on a couple of must dos. But the atmosphere across the whole event was one of relaxation. I’d just come from 3 days working indoors at a tech conference and after a 10 minute verbal offload on Friday night I settled into the field and didn’t look back.
We were super lucky with the weather, which of course makes being outside easier. That occurred to me as I wandered round and I found myself planning what I would bring next year to manage all that, if the weather was colder or wetter, as I wouldn’t want to miss out just because the sun wasn’t shining as bright.
There were of course fraught moments. Our kids are 5 and 2 and I’m generally a control freak! Getting dressed and meal times were a battleground just like at home. Can’t win them all.
We managed to make so many family memories in just one weekend. I kept trying to remember what the kids said about how much fun they were having but I was so relaxed they kept falling out of my head! Maybe I’ll remember next year!
See you next year at Into The Trees