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Renaissance Faires - Things to Do (and Not Do) with your Children at a Renaissance Faire

Updated on April 8, 2012



Thinking of taking your child to his first renaissance faire?

Thinking of taking your child to your first renaissance faire?

Renaissance faires are great fun for children and adults alike, and there are a lot of ways you can make a great event even more amazing for yourself and your child.

Read on, MacDuff...


Check Ahead for Children's Activities


Some faires have activities especially planned for children, like:

  • Children's games.
  • Storytelling.
  • Craft activities
  • Tea times with characters
  • Special events during the day, like being knighted by King Arthur or joining Robin Hood's band of merrymen.

Finding out about these ahead of time can enhance your day and create a special memory for your child.

Many faires have these listed on their websites, or will respond to an email of inquiry. Be sure to ask whether there is any registration or additional cost required, whether they happen at specific times of day, and if there are any other details that you need to know in order to participate.

Once you have the information, talk to your children to see if they want to do these activities. They may surprise you. Your wild child may find himself fascinated by the hands on weaving demonstration, and the quiet one may prefer sword practice to lunch with a princess.


Start Enjoying It Before You Get There


Half the fun is in the anticipation. You and your child can have a lot of fun getting ready before you go.

  • Does your child like dress-up? A simple tabard or princess costume from last Halloween can make your child part of the shire. (Plan for costumes that adapt to the weather, and know that you may end up carrying hats, swords or cloaks.)
  • A renaissance faire is immersive theatre, and, at a good faire, the cast will try to involve you and your child as much as you will permit. Tell your child about this, and model some skills for talking with the faire folk.
  • Teach your child some simple renaissance words, such as "Milord" and "Milady" (Mr. and Mrs.) and "Huzzah" (hurrah!). This lets him participate in the faire more actively.
  • Let our child be part of the planning for what you want to do at the faire.


Read Your Program


There are more things to do at a good renaissance faire than anyone can do in one day. Amongst all of this abundance, you'll have to choose what you want to do; and your program is there to help you do just that.

If you can get your hands on the schedule in advance online, look over the performances and events and start prioritizing what will most appeal to your family. If not, once you arrive, pull your party aside for a moment and consult a program to choose what you want to see first.

There may be times when your party may split into two or more groups, to meet the varying interests of the individual personalities involved; and the program can be a big help with that as well, helping you scatter to the four winds and then meet up for turkey legs afterwards.

Your program may also have a map in it, with important things such as stages, food and bathrooms. This makes it easier to get where you want to go.


Watch for Educational Opportunties


A renaissance faire is primarily entertainment, but many of them also have historical or educational components to them.

Depending on the faire, you might be able to

  • watch the blacksmith forge items of iron.
  • try a bit of weaving on the weaver's loom.
  • ride a horse.
  • attend page school and learn how children began to learn how to be knights.
  • cook on an open fire.
  • hear stories of lifelong ago.

Opportunities like these and many more may be found on the faire's website, in their program, or just scattered around a faire like precious jewels. Watch for them and take advantage of the chance to touch hands with the life of another time.


Interact with the Citizens of the Shire


A renaissance faire is unique in that it is immersive entertainment. This means that you, the visitor, are a part of the show, and that the citizens of the faire will do their best to involve you in the action as much as you will allow.

This is great fun, but may be startling to a child who is not used to being spoken to by people he doesn't know. At a good faire, the cast will have a good feel for how and how much to involve a child (especially a shy one) but you can help your child to enjoy this more by preparing him for it.

Teach him how to cheer "Huzzah!" when someone does something clever. Show him how to bow, or her to curtsy. Tell him it's ok to talk to characters or shop keepers and ask them questions.

Then have fun, as you all become part of the story.


Some Things Not to Do


There are lots of fun things to do at renaissance faires.

There are some things that you probably shouldn't do.

  • Don't let your children free range, unless they're old enough to be responsible. Keep a close eye on your childrem, especially the younger ones, so that they don't ramble off. There's a lot of interesting things happening at renaissance faires, but there's a lot of ways to get into trouble too
  • Watch out for passing horses, and don't get in their way. Children ducking across roads in front of horses or running across the tilting field risk injury.
  • Don't run in front of or around people swinging or throwing weapons. Many faires have an attraction where you can shoot a bow, or throw axes, and children don't always notice the danger area.

Some other things worth considering

  • If your child has problems with hitting other children (some lovely children do when they get carried away), it's probably not a good idea to buy her a sword, or let her play the "fight the knight" game.
  • If you have small children, watch for shows labelled "bawdy". These are PG rated shows where some of the material is suggestive, mature or even adult (as was typical of the Middle Ages) and may not be fit for children's ears.

Stay safe, avoid the activities that are not child friendly and enjoy the rest of the faire.


Most of All, Have Fun


Above all, please remember to enjoy this unique type of immersive entertainment. Whether you plan your day intensely or just wander around in amazement, saying "wow", you're sure to find lots of things that will amuse and delight you and your family.

Share the magic of the renaissance faire with your children. There's something there for each and every one of you.

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    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thanks Felina

    • Felina Margetty profile image

      Felina Margetty 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Nice hub, I like the idea and the sentiment as well as all the bullet point advice. CHEERS F

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      I was a guest at ren faires for many years, and now I work at them. It's my pleasure to share what I've learned in the hopes of making everybody's experience better :)

    • holconrad profile image

      holconrad 5 years ago from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

      I love renaissance fairs! We have one locally that runs for weeks each year. There are also other events year round at the fairgrounds.

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      True enough.

      Since I am a short round older woman, I can also usually verbally stop them from much mayhem, but I had to keep a weather eye out....

    • Heather Perry profile image

      Heather Perry 5 years ago from Des Moines, Iowa

      Ah true. I can usually lecture dad without guilt though lol!

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Agreed. Part of the most essential training for all children (not just at faire, but everywhere) is to be taught to look with their eyes and not with their hands.

      Although, as a former demo team member myself, who often manged her husband's arms and armor show, I found the kids were not the ones I had to watch the most around weapons. It was their dads I had to ride herd on, since many of them would succumb to an impulse to grab a weapon at random, draw it and wave it wildly in all directions a la Conan the omni-directional barbarian...

    • Heather Perry profile image

      Heather Perry 5 years ago from Des Moines, Iowa

      As a performer and demo team member, please, please remind children to ask before they grab a demo item. Swords may be blunted but can still hurt someone and if our team is dead middle of a demo for fighting our history education we cannot keep an eye on everyone. Also we post a sign stating that unattended children will be given an espresso and a dragon pup.... We mean it lol

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      How true! But even with a map, one can always approach a delicious bit of eye candy, bat one's eyelashes, and point out 'glasses haven't been invented yet so I left mine back in the 21st century' as an opening to a request for directional assistance...and if you're lucky, MORE. ;D

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      A map is indeed a lovely thing...but it can also be fun to ask directions from cast members and vendors.

      You can get into some lovely conversations that way :)

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      A map of the Faire grounds is an absolute must for first-timers, even those without kids. By the same token, childless visitors to Faire will find many of the "children's activities" quite enjoyable if they haven't left their Inner Child at home! ;D

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thank you Seafarer Mama. I was thrilled this week when this hub won in its HubNugget category :D

      I hope that you and your daughter have a wonderful faire experience

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 5 years ago from New England

      Very good presentation of what to expect at a Ten Faire....and hope to bring my daughter to one.:0)

      This hub deserves its Hubnugget award. :0) Have a great summer!

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thank you

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      I'm glad you enjoyed the faire. Different faires offer different things, so you might want to sample more than one of them.

      Thank you for the congrats

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Very informative hub. Voted up. :)

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      We took our kids to the Michigan Renaissance Festival for the first time last year. They had a blast and still talk about their experience. Somehow I think it will be an annual event for us! They especially liked meeting Shrek! Nice hub and congrats on your win!

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      You're welcome. They're fun for children, and for us big kids too :)

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thank you so much :)

    • farmloft profile image

      farmloft 5 years ago from Michigan

      Ah! Fantasy and history and fun with the kids -- it doesn't get much better. Congrats on your hubnugget win.

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Great hub. I remember going to a rennaissance faire when I was a kid. I bought a wreath/crown thing and wore it for weeks afterwards! Thanks for the tips!

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      My lady, it is an event not to be missed; and it's worth noting that there are a lot of different types of faires, from strict historical reconstruction, to fantasy. I even work at one in the fall that goes zombie faire with jousts by torchlight after the sun goes down

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This sounds like fun...I must put this in my to do list...attend a Renaissance Faire! :)

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Do read and vote click here https://hubpages.com/community/The-Good-the-Bad-an...

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Well, thank you.

      When I looked for articles on faire, I found mostly 3 kinds- faire costues, see this particular faire and"what I did at the faire"

      All good, but there's a lot more to faire than that, and its my intention to do a series of practical articles on faire life (such as my other one on faire with food limitations)

      By the by, I'm notified that this hub is a finalist for a Hub Nuggets contest. If you like it, may I cordially invite you to vote for it?

    • profile image

      Nancy Johnson 5 years ago

      Well done and a needed article it is!

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      It is a delightful experience, and it gives you a chance to be eaic or outrageous, which is great fun.

    • profile image

      Robert Bowman 5 years ago

      I love taking my nices,nephews, grandkids, the more the merry. It brings out the kid in all of us and makes bonds stronger. The faire is a wounderfull learning experance. Fun for the whole family.

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      A very sound point. It's easy for kids to get carried away and hurt themselves or others in the excitement of it all.

      Several of the faires that I work at have page's schools or boffer training, where a child can have a lesson on the use of medieval weapons that includes courtesy and safety as well. I like that combination of historical immersion with safety and manners :)

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thanks. I hope to be writing more hubs about the renaissance faire experience.

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      You're welcome :). Everyone enjoys in their own way, and that's part of what's lovely about a renaissance faire.

    • profile image

      Kitty Carroll 5 years ago

      I would also recommend that you NOT let you child get carried away with the toy weapons at faire. I know of several faires that require even toy weapons to be "peace tied' (fastened with a cable tie to prevent being used or drawn). I tell the child that it its the royal decree of the faire to not allow weapons to be drawn. DO NOT let them hit trees posts, signs, etc, with the child'sfake swordplay, etc. And especially DO NOT let them go after the 'bad' characters on the street. They can injure or trip up an unsuspecting patron (seen this happen). Many faires have a area where kids can do some play burn off steam and allow themselves play time. Also the faire's insurance often requires all policies.

    • Bob Zermop profile image

      Bob Zermop 5 years ago from California, USA

      Well written and handy!

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Thanks for the great info. My husband and I took our (then) young son to several renaissance fairs and we all loved them. We never dressed up but did shoot a bow and yelled "huzzah" for our favorite jouster. Definitely a fun and educational experience for all.

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thanksgiazz,. These are all good points.

      My experience is that, even if a child is not dressed up, characters will try to interact with them at some point. Most of the actors are good at gagueing how much to interact with both children and adults, but it's always possible to go a bit too far, one way or another

      This is one reason I think it's good to prepare your child (especially if your child is shy) for this special kind of experience. Explain what might happen. Role play booing the villain or talking to a peasant. Model for them ways to get involved with the characters. :)

    • giazz profile image

      giazz 5 years ago from North Reading

      Such great advice! Also here is my tip. If the kid(s) don't want to dress up, don't make them. Some Faires/Festivals will most likely have a children's glen, but this does NOT give you the OKAY to leave them there to go watch a not so kiddy show.

      If they wear sneakers don't fret, it's fine especially if they are little.

      Do know that if your child IS dressed up, there is a good chance that some of the roaming characters or other cast members MIGHT or most likely will try to interact with them, meaning they will come up to them to talk or do something with them.

      Most performers know the cues if the child should shy away BUT if you are not sure how your child will react, do tell them ahead of time.

      Also, do know that if your child is dressed up, most likely, besides YOU or your Family, their Picture WILL most likely be taken UNLESS you say NO.