Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

These are the days of summer when I start wishing summer was over. As the weeks drag on of weather so blisteringly hot I don't feel safe taking my toddler out during most of the daylight hours, I just get tired of it. But I'm trying to still make summer fun for my son, so here are some of the best ideas I've come up with on my own or gleaned from more experienced moms for making the best of the dog days of summer:

Eat Out
Eating lunch (or breakfast...or dinner...or a snack!) outside is an exciting idea to most kids, yet has a clear ending time (when you're done eating of course!) so you don't then feel obliged to stay outside all day long on days it may really be too warm to do so. Find a shady tree and spread out a blanket and some simple foods and you're all set. For added fun, make it a teddy bear picnic (or just stuffed animals in general) and/or invite friends over to join in your picnicking adventure. Don't forget drinks-hydration is key when the mercury is high!

Get Wet
While swimming in the pool is the most obvious wet summer fun option, most pools are not well shaded and on the worst heat days, can be too sunny to be safe for kids for more than a couple minutes. Instead, try playing with some combination of sprinklers, hoses, water guns, water balloons, baby pools, and slip & slides placed in some shady grass. That way you get all the wet fun without the bummer burn.

Exercise Early
Taking a long walk with your strollers, trikes, bikes, and rollerblades can still be an option on triple digit days, but you have to think smart about when is the best time to go, and that may mean waking up early. Wake your kids up early to go do something fun and outdoorsy, and let them nap in the warmth of midday to make up for it if they are the type who will (if they're the type who'll refuse the makeup nap and be grumpy all day, forget I said anything).

Window Shop
Another walk option is to go somewhere indoors other than your house. Walk around the mall or a big store like Wal-Mart or Costco. During the summer, I've been intentionally shopping in bits and pieces instead of buying everything all at once because it makes such a huge difference in my son's mood if we get out and walk somewhere for an hour or two on days too warm to be outside and I personally feel bad not purchasing anything (although I don't think there are rules that you must purchase things in order to walk around most stores). You can also combine this with the "walking early" idea, like the morning we walked to the grocery store and bought two donuts, then ate them as we walked home!

Indoor Surprises
It can also make too-hot days more pleasant to intentionally make indoors more fun by having special surprises. Try making homemade playdough, teaching your kids a new craft, building forts from cardboard boxes, make sock puppets, or do something else silly that they don't get to do everyday.

How do you keep your kids entertained and cool on days when it's too hot outside? How hot is too hot for your family?

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