How Taking My Kids to Burning Man Is About Passing On Family Values

Yes, that’s right. I’m taking my kids to Burning Man. I see it as the best summer vacation I could imagine to actively impress upon them the values I most want them to hold dear.

In case you were considering bringing your kids, here‘s a great article about it.

Sure, we could take the money we are spending to get to Burning Man and blow it on a lux trip to Hawaii. We could stay at the swank Fairmont Kea Lani or the Four Seasons. (Ok, maybe the Four Seasons would cost a little bit more).

Or, I could take my kids into the desert for a week in an RV where they’ll get the chance to see oddities, absurdities, and fantastic art. 

Where they’ll get to learn about authenticity and tolerance, the environment and how to leave no trace.    They’ll get to be kids in community without the lure of TV and video games. They’ll learn about self reliance and appreciation. I suspect there may even be opportunities for them to practice forgiveness, faith, acceptance and love.

Are your summer activities an opportunity to pass on family values or just the same old same old story of life passing you by without purpose or meaning?


  1. noalibiFriday, August 15, 2008 at 6:53 am 

    word up sister! you have no idea how happy this post makes me. see you on the playa!

  2. mickeysfFriday, August 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm 

    I am *so* looking forward to seeing you on-playa this year! I did similar projects in 2003:

    (1:11) with lots of shots around Black Rock City, the Burning Man in its entirety, and in 2005:

    (only :11) with much less travelogue.

    I’m sorely tempted to try it again this year. Time to continue packing…

  3. KeithWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm 

    I wish you were my Mom. You rule!

  4. MamaKittieWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm 

    I took my oldest daughter when she was 13 and she has returned every year and has been a child of the playa since. She’s 22 now and definitely carries the values of home. She LNT, moops, is giving and kind and has more self-esteem than a lot people her age all through school. On the other hand, my youngest was not ready to go. She is 19 now and she’s still not likely to get anymore out of it than dehydrated and dusty and very unhappy about both.

  5. Steve PWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm 

    I couldn’t agree more. My wife and I first took our son to Burning Man when he was 13. We’ve been each year since, he’s now 18 and as a family we seem to have avoided a lot of the teenage angst that my friends and their children have been through. At least part of the reason is that we have been open and honest with him and shown him that life can still be fun when you’re old (over 40 apparently).

  6. Michelle CiccatiWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm 

    would LOVE to manifest this… my girl is almost two and maybe a little too little. How old are yours?

  7. RebeccaWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm 

    I have taken my toddler twice – once when she was 2 months old, and last year when she was just over a year. I think it’s fantastic, and really, absolutely necessary for us to take our children, if we all really do believe in the burn philosophy.

  8. Muffin Kat (Playa Name)Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm 


    This year will be the 2nd year we will be traveling to BRC with a child (teenager). Last year was our 1st year and we talked 2 of our 3 into going. One had a good time, the other had a FABULOUS time and we had to pry her fingers out of the playa to drag her home!

    I dealt with many questions from family and friends about “what are you thinking bringing kids there?” . Then again, I’m the sort of Nut Job who has never installed Parental Controls on a PC or the Cable Box. Just another nutty liberal I guess.

    There were tons of little ones in the city, and there were the happiest little people on earth! The sights! The sounds! The lights!

    This year we will be camping with the Lamp Lighters (5:30 between Chaos ad DNA) swing by with your family and say hello!

  9. JonWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm 

    I agree with the values you are trying to put onto your children, though it is definitely not an appropriate environment for kids. Nude people, drugs everywhere, and too much freedom of expression to expose to a young being. It is not okay, you should really think about this idea again before bringing your children to thinks like this.

  10. DaveWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:33 pm 

    My wife and I took our kids (now 6 and 8)out to the Burn for the last three years. They loved it: learned so much, met so many nice people, and were generally treated like rock stars. This year, though, I need to be out there on my own. The kids are sad to miss it. My wife is relieved…

  11. philip volkersWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:57 pm 

    I saw a beautiful 3 year boy coverered in dust on the playa wearing a tee shirt with the burning man logo and it said, “we are the future, be afraid very afraid”… That image has stuck with me.. This kid is going to change things one day.. Bring it on…

  12. LauraWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 6:58 pm 

    I’m all for taking the kids to Burning Man… but I’m curious what Family Services (or whatever they’re called in your hometown) will think. They can be kind of draconian, and isn’t Black Rock City NC-17?

  13. Antonia DuvallWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm 

    Passing on values of drug use, naked partying, hedonistic self centered white people dressing up in the colors and cultures of others, and a general delusion that anything that happens on la playa is somehow special, is not passing no “values” it’s utter and complete bullshit. it’s a party nothing more, and you, may come to regret exposing your kids to it.
    How some people use children and “cultural values” to justify their all-american partying is beyond belief.

  14. MichaelWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:01 pm 

    I applaud those who brings kids to the playa, but I need time off from being “Dad” and BM is it.
    If I took all sorts of personal time off, then I probably would have no issue and bring them, but I get 1 week off a year. No desire to bring all of my responsibilites to the playa!

  15. CTPWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:02 pm 

    YAY!!! This year will be my daughter, Sydney’s, 11th year at Burning Man, and I can attest to the fact that it has helped make her one of the coolest kids the world has ever known.

    *when I say “coolest” I mean bright, thoughtful, generous, and amazing 🙂

  16. KatWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:29 pm 

    Thank you for this post. As an adult who doesnt have kids and who has no partner to wander the city with, I have heard the term ‘family friendly” and “Burning Man” in the same sentence. Most “family friendly’ events in the default world make it so that adults not connected to the children, have to moderate behavior around any and all kids rather than striking a middle ground.

  17. Aaron SteinerWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm 

    I want to take my son…he’s five now. How old are your kids? I am not taking him this year, maybe when he’s six or seven?

  18. Ian, Alicia, and Kealii DenchasyWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm 

    Come find us in Kidsville. Camp Hot Monkey Sox.

  19. Chris MoralesWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:34 pm 

    Alexis, thank you for your comments, I’m an attorney and have a 5 year old, how was your time last year, and are you going back this year?

  20. BMGSWednesday, August 5, 2009 at 7:36 pm 

    hey burners, if you’re looking to upgrade your goggles this year, check out the Burning Man Goggles Store, pretty much any type you could think off

  21. coachtiaSunday, November 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm 

    WOW you are the coolest mom ever! Love the idea of taking your kids to burning man – what an experience and education that is. Rock on! Tia @TiaSparkles

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