Holly is a Dallas mom of 3 boys. She writes about ways to keep them active (out of trouble) at Quirky Momma, which publishes tons of fun kids’ activities. When she isn’t mothering, photographing mothering, or writing about mothering, she likes to sneak away to play poker.
On these hot summer days, it takes a little extra strategy to keep the kids playing safely.
As a mom of 3 boys, my summer strategy has been to wear them
out. Exhausted boys are much less likely to get in trouble and the exercise will do them good! One of the issues we have living in Texas is that at some point during the summer, it will get hot.
Planning activities with the heat in mind along with being prepared can make summer much more fun. I have a box in our mud room that contains sunscreen, insect repellent, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, small water bottles, and a small soft-sided cooler ready for an ice pack. These things are all easily accessible to grab as we rush out the door on our next adventure.
Here are some of our favorite kid-tested solutions to beat the summer heat:
My kids are early risers, so we like to start the day at the park. The park is cool and quiet early in the morning. It isn’t hard to find a prime picnic table. They prefer I pack traditional breakfast food for our picnic. I make oatmeal ahead of time and pack it in an insulated container – it is the perfect temperature an hour or 2 after preparation. Juice boxes, milk bottles, yogurt, breakfast sandwiches, and fresh fruit are easy to transport in a cooler. Everything tastes better outside!
Flood the sandbox
Just adding water to the backyard sandbox can keep my kids wet and happy for hours. Full disclosure: we don’t have a sandbox, but there is an area of dirt and gravel on the side of the house where the boys love to play. They create dirt mountains and valleys that are flooded with water buckets or a hose to create an intricate series of lakes, rivers, and tributaries. If your sandbox or dirt pile isn’t in the shade, using a simple pool umbrella can help keep it cool (and it will be easy to hose off after all the fun).
One of the things we like to do as a family is wash the car. We like going through the automatic wash or doing it at home. Big buckets of soapy water, a hose, and the car are entertainment for at least an hour. The boys like to recreate the experience for their riding toys: scooters, bikes, tricycles, skateboards, big dump trucks, and toy cars. I turn on a sprinkler and hand them some non-toxic, biodegradable soap, and it keeps them busy. The bonus of this activity is that when these riding toys get put away, they are clean.
Indoor obstacle course
There are days and times of day that are just too hot to go outside. I make an obstacle course with different activity stations with things we have around the house. For instance, one station might have a jump rope with a sign that says, “Jump 10 x.” Another area might have the dining room chairs lined up to crawl underneath. A blue yoga mat could be used for pretend swimming strokes, and masking tape on the floor can mark out the distance for a long jump. We use a stopwatch to time the action and see if each child can improve their speed each time through the course.
Our family loves a treasure hunt. Our homemade treasure map is made to chart the course through a local attraction that leads to a cool ending. The cool ending could be a water feature that the kids are allowed to play in, an air-conditioned bookstore for story time, or the ice cream store. One of our favorite trails at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens ends with a fountain where the boys can play. They love the adventure of finding a new trail.
My boys love to pull out the extra sheets and blankets and construct a tent city in our living room. They usually make one huge tent of questionable architecture which ends up in a collapsed pile of chairs and laundry. Once they have finished a common-area tent, then I hand out flashlights and books to encourage a little summer reading.
Originally posted on webmd.com
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