When I was a kid, I loved climbing the big maple tree in our backyard and reading a book for hours on end. It was cool up there, and usually my brothers didn’t even see me; I was safe from being annoyed by them! If your kids aren’t into hiding in trees, try some of these suggestions:
- Water Balloons
Even if you don’t have a pool, your kids can still get their water fix and spend some time running off some energy in the fresh air. Fill a laundry basket with water balloons and let them have a war! If you want the game to last longer than approximately three minutes, have them play a game of catch, instead, encouraging them to take a step back each time they successfully catch the balloon. I’ve found that this works best on the driveway or, if you live on a quiet street, in the road. It’s hard to pick up all of the tiny pieces of broken balloons from the grass, but gathering them from a flat concrete area is easy.
- Set Up Tents
If you can keep the kids out of the hot sun, they’ll feel cooler and may stay outside longer. Set up tents, either the type you would use for camping or the type you’d use to cover the eating area at a cookout, and see where their imaginations take them! My younger brothers would take their action figures into a tent and play for hours, and my daughter often brings craft supplies to the park, where she works on them with her friends in the covered seating area.
- Cool Them Down From the Inside
It doesn’t feel as hot out if you’re eating popsicles, ice cream or other cold (and potentially messy!) snacks. Keep the freezer stocked with cold confections that your kids love. If you’re concerned about excess sugar consumption, try freezing berries or grapes (for kids older than six only, to prevent choking!) or buying organic tubes of yogurt to place in the freezer. Put a pitcher of ice water or ice-cold lemonade on an outside table, and they won’t have to come in every time they get thirsty.
- Send Them Out After Dinner
At some point during the summer, it really is uncomfortable during the late morning and afternoon. If this is the case, let them lounge around inside during the day, but send them out to ride their bikes and play in the backyard in the hours between dinnertime and bedtime. Since the sun sets so much later in the summer, they may have several hours of daylight left after the dinner dishes have been washed. One caveat: plan on using insect repellent, since when the sun starts to go down, the mosquitoes come out.
What are some of your kids’ favorite hot-weather outdoor activities?