We LOVE going to Canton, TX and exploring all the hidden gems that can be found at the First Monday Trade Days. By “we” I mean me, my husband, and our two littles, 4 and 2. Yes, even my husband loves to go to First Mondays (here on referred to just as “Canton”)! Sure the city of Canton does have other options to boast of in the form of entertainment, but this monthly flea market brings a huge influx of people who come from all over the greater East Texas area to shop.
Haven’t been to Canton before? No problem! Here it is in a nutshell – if you find a project on Pinterest or Fixer Upper you want to replicate, chances are you can either find the raw materials OR a similar project COMPLETED at Canton. LOL. Well maybe there is more to Canton than that but that’s what I use my shopping trips to Canton for!
My husband goes looking for random parts for his tractor, antique tools that need to be restored, and the lemonade. My kids just want to do 2 things – pet all the dogs and eat food!
Canton is a place where you can look for “junk” to upcycle, furniture to redo, antiques of all kinds, holiday decor for inside and outside of your home, one of a kind furniture and decor, and the kind of food you can usually find at carnivals (funnel cakes, hot dogs, lemonade, etc)!!! You can also find your future pet if you so chose!
Since this venue is HUGE (walking it would take you all weekend to cover it) and it is mostly outdoors and we live in TEXAS, so how do you survive this trip with little ones?
Well, the good news is we go with our kids about 5-6 times per year and have some great advice for you! Note – we skip the super hot months and super cold months. Spring and fall are great weather for the trip with littles!
Here are 5 tips for surviving Canton with littles!
1.Don’t stay all day
The first thing about going to Canton with little kids is just like going anywhere with little kids – don’t stay so long that everyone is overwhelmed, exhausted, and has a terrible memory of the day. When we take the kids, we almost always leave right after lunch so they will nap on the way home!
Any longer than that and at least one person has a meltdown, someone is getting into trouble, and the kids are beyond tired. If you want to get some major shopping done, just don’t take the kids that time. If you are taking the kids, we recommend leaving by nap time.
2. Take a wagon, baby carrier, or small tricycle
My favorite thing to take to Canton, by far, is the Academy wagon. We LOVE that thing! It folds up nicely in the back of the minivan (yup! I rock the minivan life) and wipes up nicely from spills. Plus the kids can get in and out of it fairly easily. AND if we buy something, it does double duty of pulling the merchandise with it’s nice big tires.
When the kids were under a year and a half, I used a baby carrier for them. They both LOVED IT! So naturally, I used it there at Canton as we walked around. We would take breaks and let them be carried by daddy, but in general a baby carrier was great for the trip.
We also used this ADORABLE little Radio Flyer brand bike that has buckles and a snack tray! It’s the perfect size for toddlers and my kids LOVED being able to sit in that and either bike around OR you can take off the pedal option and push them, stroller style. Yes, it also has a UV/sun blocking canopy.
I preferred these options vs. a stroller because all of these options take up way less space in the minivan, AND were less hot than the stroller.
3. Find a canton guide and know where the potties are
I’d recommend going ahead and looking at the First Monday guide online before you go to figure out where everything is generally located. But ESPECIALLY where the bathrooms are! The bathrooms are all spread out and not necessarily well marked. And when your 2 year old needs to go, your 2 year old NEEDS TO GO! True story.
So go ahead, circle those bad boys on the map. You can also find a printed map at different help desks around Canton, but again, they are not easy to spot.
4. Get there early
So unlike the name suggests, Canton is NOT open on the First Monday of the month. It is open from Thursday – Sunday the weekend of the first Monday of the month.
They do open up at “sunrise” but we have noticed that if we get there by about 8:30/9:00am most of the shops are ready to go and the crowds, parking, and temperature are still really nice. If you want to survive Canton with little ones, I absolutely recommend getting there as early as you realistically can.
5. Sunscreen, bottles of water, extra clothes and a towel
Lastly, treat this trip like you are going to the park/beach/baseball field for the afternoon. Put sunscreen on everyone, bring extra bottles of water from home, a little towel for spills and sweat, and have EVERYONE pack a set of extra clothes in the car. Yup, even you mom (another true story! hahaha)
I hope your trip to Canton is SUPER fun!
Do you have a tip for everyone that helps your family out at Canton? Please share below!
From our Guest Writer:
Brittany Jones is a stay at home mother of 2 little girls, lover of pinterest, netflix, crafting and any cooking gadgets that make her life easier. Something random about her? She’s married to her childhood sweetheart. Yup! They have known each other since they were 11 years old and what a crazy, amazing life they have had so far. You can read more about this crazy life on her personal blog, Little Cottage Life.