Welcome to Let’s Talk where this week we are discussing taking your kids to a Con. If you have a loved one who into a fandom, chances are you are going to go to a convention at some point or another. Cons offer fans a chance to get together and celebrate their fandom. There are usually events, presentations, Q&As and other things where fans can learn more about their favorite show/video game/movie/thing. On the main floor, they can go shopping to find that rare piece of memorabilia for their collection or even get an opportunity to meet their favorite celebrity.
Although cons are usually geared towards older fans, there is usually quite a bit that younger kids can do to have a good time too. MegaCon Tampa had a kids’ activity room and a retro video game room. Other cons I’ve attended have had screening rooms where popular kids shows or movies play. There are fun photo-ops or sometimes little crafts on the main floor. If your kids are fans, they might get excited to meet some of their favorite characters, usually in the form of cosplayers. Your kids might even want to dress up too.
We recently took our kids to MegaCon in Tampa. Here are some tips we came up with to help make attending a con a little smoother for you and yours.
Know the schedule and have a plan
All cons will have a schedule of events posted. The schedule includes events that will be going on throughout the day. Figure out ahead of time which events you want to attend, and then plan your day accordingly. For us, our kids wanted to go to the costume competition because they wanted to see the superheroes. Knowing when that event started helped us to plan the rest of our day.
Show up a little late
This probably sounds stupid, but showing up late can help you avoid the lines and the rush at the beginning of the event. Depending on the popularity of the Con, it can take up to hours to get everyone in once the doors open. If you know the schedule, and you know the events you want to attend aren’t until later, you can plan to show up late and miss the worst of the lines. This is especially good when you have little kids.
Bring Snacks and a water bottle
Sometimes, a con has a food court. Sometimes it has food trucks across the street. Food is often overpriced and lines are usually kind of a pain. But the point is that getting food once inside is not always the easiest thing to do. So, bring a bag with some snacks and an empty water bottle you can fill up at the drinking fountain. Other items it’s not a bad idea to bring: a power bank to recharge your phone (especially if your phone is doubling as your camera), a backpack to carry any swag or memorabilia you purchase, cash (it’s king), and a sharpie (in case you get an impromptu autograph opportunity).
Plan time to walk the main floor
Even if you don’t intend to go shopping, the main floor is usually full of cool photo ops and interesting displays. Our kids were excited to meet some Star Wars droids and also loved a Pokemon themed car. They also got to shoot Darth Maul with Nerf guns
Be Polite to Cosplayers
Cosplaying is a hobby for many people and every con will have its share of them. Our kids were excited to see so many of their favorite characters at the MegaCon we attended. But it is important to remember that cosplayers are just people and that you should always ask politely to take a photo. Some may say no and that should always be respected.
Cons can seem intimidating, especially your first one. But with a little planning, they can be a fun activity for you and your family to attend together.