The last time a debate about children at Burning Man flared up, I asked one of the people I knew who had grown up as a “burner kid” what she thought about the question. Electra Carr went to her first Burning Man when she was 11. Now 21, she sent an eloquent response to my question … which got lost between inboxes for a year-and-a-half because I really am that bad at getting back to people sometimes.
So this is a horribly late addition to the debate, but is still worth reading.
Other kids of burners want to weigh in? Leave a comment at the bottom, or if you had a growing up experience at Burning Man and want to write a guest essay about it, send me a message. (Caveat at BurningMan dot com). I’ll try to get back to you a little sooner. I swear.
From here on, the words you read are Electra’s.
There has been endless discussion about the subject of children attending Burning Man. I have heard the many opinions scattered across the board, from people who do take their kids and think its vital part of their childhood and parents who can’t imagine bringing their children into the desert. People who think it should be each person’s choice, others who rally for a committee to decide. There are those who are uncomfortable with the thought of a kid wandering past while they may be doing something they deem inappropriate for young eyes and people who are fine with having kids attend as long as they’re cordoned off in Kidsville. And of course, people who really don’t care and wish everyone would just stop talking about it.
However, at the focal point of this topic there is an opinion that has been greatly overlooked. What about the children themselves who had grown up amongst the culture? It is a voice worth exploring, and as no two experiences are ever the same at Burning Man, I’d like to encourage everyone to talk to a Burner kid about it. I was such a child and while I’ve grown away from the Burning Man culture and rarely make the pilgrimage out to the Playa, I was there, I experienced, and I was changed.
Read more »
Kids enjoy the Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire 2013 (photo by Heather White)
Las Vegas, NV – The Youth Educational Spaceship (Y.E.S.) project is landing in Las Vegas! Y.E.S. is a mobile spaceship classroom built from repurposed and found objects by artist Dana Albany, together with kids from San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Hunters Point neighborhoods. This collaborative art program for youth gives them time and space to create, participate, and then exhibit their work, while engaging children in hands-on experience focusing on art and technology.
Y.E.S. will be open to the public at the Learning Village, 727 Fremont Street, starting Friday November 15, with a variety of family-friendly programming including spaceship tours, mosaic workshops with recycled materials, wiring demos and interactive robotic demos, culminating in a closing ceremony and children’s art show on December 8. For more information about programming, please click here.
This program is a collaboration between Burning Man Project and Las Vegas’ Downtown Project. Read more »
[Judes has been a Burner since 1999 and an advocate for playa families. She first brought her son Dexter to BRC when he was 16-months-old, who has 8 Burns under his belt. For 4 years, Judes hosted Hot Monkey Sox, a popular sock monkey workshop camp in Kidsville. In 2010, she founded the Black Rock Scouts program so kids could attend playa-cational events, volunteer with BRC Departments and learn to give back to the BRC community.]
Surviving at Black Rock City is difficult enough, and now you want to bring your kids? That’s great!
It can certainly be daunting the first time, but children actually thrive in the playa environment. It just takes some extra preparation, planning and diligence. Trying to get a toddler to drink her weight in water isn’t easy, but lots of families have found ways to not only survive, but flourish on the playa. Speaking as a parent, I truly believe that the Black Rock City experience and the Ten Principles provide an amazing educational immersion that can’t be found anywhere else.
So where do parents find the best information on how to prepare for a successful burn?
The Burning Man website’s section on Kids at Burning Man is a great place to start, but it doesn’t have all the info you may want.
That’s why Kidsville parents (myself included) have collaborated on a thorough and detailed guide for Burner families. Jesper from Kidsville has kindly put it all together into a single, helpful, and entertaining Kidsville Survival Guide.
It covers everything from child safety, playa clothes, kid food and taking the kids out of school for the Burn. While it has information specific to camping in Kidsville, it’s got a ton of useful information for all families. Check it out!
[Judes is the Burner mom of an 11-year old baby-Burner, and founder of Black Rock Scouts.]
Burning Man has been a family affair from the very beginning. When Jerry James and Larry Harvey burned the first Man in 1986, their 5-year old sons Robin and Trey built a Burning Dog alongside their dads.
PHOTO: A baby-Burner art car. Photo Georgie.
Because the playa is a colossal day-glow playground, children feel right at home. Kids already live in make-believe worlds, so when they experience the magic of Black Rock City, it feels natural to the way they view the world. Tots know how to play and have fun without inhibition, hesitation or fear of judgment. Follow that Art car! As a parent, I know it’s really my reaction that colors my kid’s reaction to something. Us grownups can learn a few things from tiny folk and how they embrace the art and culture of Black Rock City. Read more »
Stretching on the Trampoline in Kidsville photo: Steven Fritz
A friend of mine and her colleague have written an informative post about bringing your kids to [BM]. Red Tricycle is in the business of sharing information about kids and I think you may find it useful. Burning Man with Kids: Guide to the Playa.
In addition to article, check out Burning Man’s page: Kids at Burning Man. Have fun with your kids at Burning Man!