Childcare Information: Sprouts for Boys and Girls Ages Infant through Four (0-4)

Sprouts camp The following provides information and registration materials for Sprouts Camp for children ages infant through four. Please read the information carefully and send in the Registration Form and Waiver of Liability postmarked by July 20th to register your child(ren) for Sprouts. If you do not pre-register your child by the July 20th postmark date, you should plan to provide independent childcare throughout your stay at the Festival.

Using our experience and your feedback we have thoughtfully planned how our childcare areas are organized. Please respect and participate in these organizational efforts so that we can continue to provide safe, secure and fun childcare for our wonderful, growing number of children. Our childcare areas get better each year because of input we receive from Moms/Caregivers, so get involved and let us know what you think!

Children's Ticket Information

There is a separate ticket fee for children aged three to sixteen. (See ticket information for prices.) There is no ticket fee for children under the age of three and there is no additional fee for childcare. Your child is not automatically registered for childcare when you purchase their ticket – you must fill out and return the childcare registration form postmarked by July 20th to complete the registration process. We can only provide childcare for those who are pre-registered by the July 20th postmark, and we realize snafus happen in the mail occasionally. To safeguard against this we strongly recommend that you mail your registration via the U.S. Postal service with a certificate of mailing. Bring this certificate along with a copy of your registration to Sprouts and in the unlikely event that your registration never reaches us, this receipt will show us that you mailed your registration by the July 20th postmark. Your copy can then serve as your registration. The cost for this is approximately $1.15. We also welcome you to call us before the July 20th postmark deadline in order to confirm your child's registration in Sprouts.

How Does Sprouts Operate?

  • Sprouts is open from 8:15am to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday.
  • Sprouts is closed during lunch and for an extended time during dinner.
  • Upon arrival on Monday, moms/caregivers are invited to bring children to Sprouts (for about 1½ hours) while setting up their tents. Other days, just bring your children to Sprouts during our scheduled times, and we will care for them while you set up camp. However, we cannot offer care on the Monday after Festival, when many families are leaving.
  • Moms/Caregivers can choose two sessions of childcare each day (morning, afternoon or night). Childcare sessions are approximately four hours each. A finite number of children are enrolled for each session for good care and safety. Sign-up will be on a first come, first served basis.
  • Check at Sprouts for exact times of childcare sessions.
  • There is a shuttle stop in front of Sprouts for loading in and loading out your gear.
  • Some moms/caregivers prefer to stay with their children while they're in Sprouts. You are welcome to stay with your child anytime and enjoy the shade, activities, nap space (moms/caregivers too!) and company of other moms/caregivers and children. It is still important for you to pre-register so we know how many moms/caregivers and children to expect.

Sprouts camp Plan to make time to do an on-site check-in and orientation with your child before your child's first childcare. While you're there we'll get additional information about your child and provide you with more detailed information, a schedule, and go over the organization and sign-up procedures of Sprouts. Please make sure to check-in at Sprouts the day before you need childcare.

We appreciate your support in picking up your child on time at the close of any childcare session. If you don't pick up your children on time you will only be offered one childcare session instead of two the following day.

Sprouts camp is a little community of moms/caregivers and children within the greater Festival community. Because we like to keep that family-feel of Sprouts, we ask that you sign up for your four-hour work shifts in the Sprouts area. Please plan to sign up for at least one night shift. You will work alongside the Sprouts staff caring for one or two children in addition to your own during the shift. Moms/Caregivers (and work shift volunteers) sign up for work shifts in Sprouts, not at Orientation when you first arrive. NOTE: If you arrive on Friday or Saturday, please talk with the coordinator or assitant coordinator if there isn't a work shift slot available that you prefer. Also, if your child(ren) tends to need all your attention for whatever reason, please speak with an assitant coordinator about doing your work shift in another area while we care for your child(ren).


We will have toys, a sand box, swings, books, games, some planned activities, a quiet area for naps, and rocking and holding chairs. Sprouts is always a favorite drop-in space for moms/caregivers and work shift volunteers who want the fun of caring for and engaging little ones.

Meals and Medication

We do not serve meals in Sprouts because we think in the busy and stimulating environment of the Festival that it is very important for children this young to share their meals with mothers/caregivers or familiar friends. We will have fruit and crackers mid-morning and mid-afternoon. These snacks are not replacements for meals. It is important to plan to eat regular meals with your child. Sprouts is a peanut-free area.

If you are bringing food (including formula or pumped breast milk) or medication for your child that requires refrigeration, you will need to bring a cooler to keep it in. Ice is available at the Festival concession at the Country Store. If your child is on medication, please remember to bring an adequate supply to the Festival. We ask that you plan to give that medication before or after your child's time at Sprouts, as we are not able to give medication on your behalf.

Kids painting in Sprouts What to Bring to Sprouts

While your child is with us in Sprouts, it may be important to bring along a familiar blanket, toy or stuffed animal. Include a complete change of clothes, a warm sweater or jacket as well as cool clothes, sun hats and sunscreen, and diapers/extra underwear if necessary. Waterproof clothing and boots for yourself and your children, umbrella and waterproof covering for strollers/wagons, and some dry clothes and shoes left in the car will make living in this outdoor environment much easier and more comfortable for you and your child. Please bring extra clothes for children who are recently potty-trained, as accidents sometimes happen in unfamiliar environments. If your child is accustomed to a particular front-pack or backpack, please bring it along for the staff to use. Please label strollers, diaper bags, backpacks, etc., as well as tents, plastic containers, etc. to avoid mix-ups on the shuttle.

Fun "In the Line"

Especially if you plan to arrive on Monday, you may want to consider these tips:

  • Bring lunch and dinner with you (in a cooler you can leave in the car).
  • Bring snacks and plenty of water.
  • Pack a few special toys to pull out while you're in line.
  • Be prepared to set up camp in the dark or in the rain no matter when you arrive.
  • If possible, plan ahead for someone to help you.

How's the Weather?

Michigan weather varies from the high 90's during the day and can go as low as the low 40's in the evenings, so pack to be comfortable in all kinds of summer weather (including thunderstorms!). Don't forget sunscreen and bug repellent for your child. Please apply both to your children before coming to Sprouts.

Festival Environment

Sprouts Camp is for girls and boys from birth through four years old. The area focuses on the needs of our very young children. It is located in the "downtown" Festival area so that moms and other caregivers can come and go easily.

Families are welcome to camp in the Family Campground located next to and across from Sprouts. Many moms/caregivers have found this to be a warm and supportive place to connect with other families, and an easy way to have informal shared care.

In the weeks before your arrival, talk with your preschoolers about how it will be camping at the Festival. For example, practice using quiet voices late at night or early in the morning. Turn out all the lights at home, get out the flashlights and show them how it will be at night in the woods. You might want to set up your tent in the backyard or living room and talk about the difference between thin tent walls and walls and doors at home. Camping with young children at the Festival is a chance to teach them about respecting others close by, helping each other and making new friends.

The Festival is a wonderful event to share with your children, and children experience a unique feeling of safety and freedom on the Land. We want to stress that mothers must still provide close supervision of the older mobile toddlers attending Festival. It is easy to become separated from your child with so much going on. All "lost" children can be located at the childcare area where they are registered.

The Festival is a child-friendly and parent supportive event, while also supporting the need for adult-only space. You are responsible to decide what activities are fitting for your children to attend. The Festival makes every effort to inform you about events that are adult-only. Adult-only events and areas are announced, posted outside of workshop areas and/or noted in the program. However, we depend on you to be responsible for your children. We cannot become their guardians in place of you; we can only give you the tools to make good parenting decisions at the Festival.

Siblings/Gaia/Brother Sun:

If your family includes children who will be in one of the other childcare services, please take some time to talk within your family about the different childcare areas and the reality that the kids will be separated for the days of the Festival.

Gaia Girls Camp is for girls ages five and up and operates from 8:30am to 5pm and 7pm to midnight Tuesday through Sunday.

Brother Sun is a six-day camp for boys five through ten years old and operates from 8am to midnight. It is located on its own section of the Festival land, and is serviced by a regular shuttle service. Moms/Caregivers of boys enrolled in Brother Sun must camp in Brother Sun to care for their sons overnight. Families that include both boys and girls are welcome to camp in the Brother Sun Family Campground located at Brother Sun.

We feel it's also important to discuss different views within the Festival community about the presence of young male children. It is important to respect all of our different opinions. It is also important for us to provide all-female space and time for our daughters. We provide quality care for our youngest sons within the all-female Festival because these boys are too young to be cared for away from the main Festival areas at Brother Sun Camp.

Mothers/Caregivers with young sons aged five through ten enroll their sons at Brother Sun camp. Other womyn come to the Festival to be in the female-only space. Good, safe, loving childcare is provided at both Sprouts Camp and Brother Sun. It is up to you as mothers/caregivers in our community to support the age guidelines in the different childcare areas.

Recycling Opportunity!

If your child has toys they no longer play with or clothes that they have outgrown (especially warm clothes, socks, shoes, etc.) we would make good use of them in Sprouts.

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