It. Is. Hot.
And am I complaining? Only a little- I am a native Virginian, so I know that July and August are the equivalent of levels 2 and 3 of Dante’s (Super Humid) Inferno in the DC Metro area- mostly because it felt like we took two winters and skipped straight to summer, and I’m a fall/spring kinda girl.
But, nevertheless, we persist.
If you need some new ideas to have fun with your kids OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE (THAT YOU JUST CLEANED!!) here are a few tips and tricks to make outside fun feel a little cooler, even if, like me, you’re too cheap for a pool membership.
PS- I got pretty much all of this stuff from my basement or the dollar store. So let’s keep it inexpensive!
Add a little ambiance– Sure, you’ve got the baby pool and the slip n slide and the ever-popular sprinkler attachment for your hose, but when it’s meltingly (that’s a word because I am the mom and I say so) hot outside, you need to up your game to get the kids to stay outside for longer periods of time. Grab an extension cord and your favorite fan (make sure you wrap the plugs in plastic and keep them away from water sources) and get the air moving and then add a bubble machine for some extra cool thoughts.
All the games should be water games– obviously. I think that the various brands of balloons that come pre-loaded on hose attachments and fill 30 or so balloons at once are a total game changer. Be sure to check places like Groupon or Living Social for them. However, if you’re trying to be a little more eco-friendly, snag yourself some fluffy foam sponges from the dollar store and cut yourself reusable launch-able water applicators. They can be used again and again, and as long as you don’t get the kind with scrubbers on them (ouch!) they won’t hurt anyone, either! It’s a great idea to grab each kid an inexpensive bucket for this so that they can keep “reloading” their sponges with water. All they have to do is grab the ones that were thrown at them and add them to their own collection. Other great dollar store finds include water guns, if you allow them, and “water blasters” that look like overgrown crayons. Need more outside water games? Check out this site!
Even if you’re IN water, DRINK water– just because you’re swimming doesn’t mean that you can’t get dehydrated! Entice your kids to drink by giving them BPA free bottles to decorate with Sharpies and take with them everywhere. The decorations will typically wash off in the dishwasher, but no worries- that just means it’s the craft that keeps on giving. If your kids are water snobs, try making what my daughter calls “Fancy Spa Water” and infusing it with things like lemon, lime, or berries in the fridge the night before. (Pro Mom Tip- you can also freeze these items into fancy spa ice-cubes if you’re planning ahead!) For recipe ideas, if you want to be extra fancy, visit Girl with Curves.
Ice, Ice, Baby– Invest in a bag of ice from the gas station, or make a habit of emptying your ice cube trays or maker before bed into a storage container so that you have plenty on hand. Fill spritz bottles with ice water to spray your kids with when they get too warm walking or playing (bonus: you’ll feel less aggravated by their whining when you are giving them the same treatment as you give your cat when it’s climbing the sofa!). It also makes a great addition to that baby pool for the kids to cool down in! You can also use re-freezable ice cubes for this task, also found at the dollar store. While we’re talking about changing the temperature of your baby pool, be sure to check the water temperature before your kids do. The hose water can be almost boiling, and so can water left to sit in the full sun while you take a break indoors.
Trade in the chalk– use an ice cube tray to make frozen sidewalk chalk paints that your kids can use to draw on the sidewalk with! As it melts, it’ll help cool their hands off, too! Be sure to lay down a blanket or a beach towel for them to sit on, because sidewalks and driveways can be uncomfortable on little legs and feet! One of my favorite recipes is here.
Still hot? Check a pool or sprayground near you! Even without committing to a pool membership, there are a lot of day-pass options in the DC Metro area, and spraygrounds are a fantastic option for children who cannot swim yet. Live in PWC? One to try is the Splash Pad at Virginia Gateway.