According to the calendar, Summer does not officially begin for close to two more weeks, but according to the temperatures outside, summer is here and it’s here to stay for quite a while! It’s already hard enough for children (especially preschoolers) to keep themselves entertained during the long summer days without it being so hot that it is uncomfortable to play outside. So when the temperature rises, and the kids start to complain about being bored, try one or all of these inexpensive, sure-fire ways for you and your little ones to beat the heat and stay cool this summer.
1. Swimming is the first and most obvious choice. If you don’t have a pool, buy a kiddie pool, place it in the shade and fill it up with water. Throw in some toys that float, add a couple of water guns, and let the fun begin.
2. Make your own sponge bombs and have a blast! Unlike water balloons, these colorful sponge bombs can be used over and over again! Here’s a short tutorial explaining how to make your own sponge bombs.
3. Sprinklers were a blast when we were kids, and your kids will love it too! Attach the sprinkler to the hose, turn the water on and send the kids out to run and play.
4. Have water gun target practice! Set up a pyramid-shaped stack of paper cups and let your child shoot it down with water!
5. Play Marco Polo without a pool! All you need is swimsuits, a blindfold and a water gun. Whoever is the searcher is blindfolded and told to turn around and count to 10 while the others run off. The searcher then turns around and calls “Marco” and the other players respond with “Polo” while moving about the yard. When the searcher successfully shoots a player with water, it’s time to switch roles.
6. Find a large, wide sheet of plastic, lay it out in the yard, spray it down with the hose and you have a homemade slip-n-slide! You can always add in some water balloons, too!
7. Get some paint-with-water books, but instead of using water, let the kids paint with ice cubes!
8. Gather together several small plastic toys such as play animals, cars, action figures, etc. and put them in a long, deep dish or pan. Fill it with water and freeze it over night. The next day, take it outside, hand the kids some toy screwdrivers and hammers and let them have an ice excavation.
9. Grab a pair of salad tongs, lemons, water and sugar and help the kids make hand-squeezed lemonade!
10. Show your children how to make paper fans! Let them color their paper first, then model how to fold the paper into a fan.
11. Make homemade popsicles or ice cream! You can find all sorts of easy and delicious recipes when you Google ‘homemade ice cream recipes’!
12. Close the binds, turn on a lamp, pull out the crafts and board games and have an indoor play day.
13. Bob for apples. Fill a large tub with water, add in the apples and explain to the children how to play. Once done, gather together several household objects and play ‘Sink or Float’ where the children make a prediction as to what the object will do when placed in the water.
14. Make colored ice blocks for the back yard or wading pool by filling different sized plastic containers and ice-cube trays with colored water and freezing them overnight. Ice shapes can be removed by dipping the container in warm water – they should just slide out. The kids will have lots of cool fun trying to build igloos and stack the ice blocks.
15. Have a sweet cold treat like frozen grapes, watermelon pops or help the kids make one of these deliciously cold summer drinks from the book Cooking Around the Calender with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun, written by Amy Fouts.
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
2 cups lemon-lime soda
Children can use measuring cups to add the right amount of each juice to a pitcher. Stir, and serve over ice.
Sparkling Apple Punch
2 cups apple juice
2 cups lemonade
2 cups ginger ale
Children can use measuring cups to add the right amount of each juice to a pitcher. Fill glasses with ice, pour punch and serve.
3 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup white grape juice
Children can measure and combine the ingredients in a pitcher. Stir. Serve over ice.