Temperatures are rising, the kids are nearly out of school. Swimming lessons or music camp fill up a week or two. Even if your little ones go to a weekday summer program, you still have all those sweaty afternoons and weekends. You’re gazing down the barrel of a long, hot summer full of “We’re bo-ored!”
But wait! You can start stockpiling activity ideas now that can help keep you and your children cool and sane. We’re here to help …
A quick way to lower your body temp is to ingest something cold, and what better way to do this than with popsicles you make yourself? DIY popsicles can keep your kids busy for multiple afternoons. You can use cheap compostable cups and wooden sticks, or invest in some of the reusable sets that include bases around the sticks to catch drips. Your kids can experiment with freezing different liquids, like juices, flavored soymilk or colas.
For more of a challenge, try creating multiple layers. This experiment can go on for days. The munchkins can get involved in keeping time and checking the freezing layers, creating charts for what layers to add and when to do it. Cranberry-orange-grape-sicle, anyone?
Wanna go full-on pro level? Add solids into the mix. Depending on the liquids chosen, kids can float in fruit pieces, pretzel chunks or even veggie bits. Keeping a record — written or drawn — of which creations they like best can be a part of the project.
When I was a kid, my siblings and I would put on our swimming suits, Dad would turn on the sprinklers, and we’d run, shrieking, across the lawn for whole afternoons. We lived in a desert city and, looking back, this was a heinous waste of water. Dang knowledge, you ruin everything! However, if you’re conscious about how you use your playtime water, you can still have fun.
First, get a big kiddie pool. (You could use some other recycled basin, like a watering trough or old bathtub. Have a look at some antique and junk stores for different ideas.) If you spray your kids with the hose or set the sprinkler to hit them, while they’re splashing around in a container, you’ll catch most of the water. Then they can play in the collected water all afternoon.
Wanna get really crazy? Turn a vinyl pool over, throw on some soap suds and let the kids use it as a wacky slide. Make the yard pool experience even cooler by putting a water table and other toys inside your pool. More levels of water in which to splash, pour and dunk equals more time kids are engaged. When playtime is over, cover the water world with a tarp to keep out leaves, bugs and dirt, and your merchildren can get in again the next day. When it’s time to change the water, pour the used stuff over your garden.
Finally, buying or making* some non-toxic body paint could take about 20 minutes, but when kids start painting on themselves and each other (while wearing their swimming suits), it can fill up the whole afternoon.
Let them go outside and get as artistic and messy as they want. When they’re finished, just hose them off over the kiddie pool.
*For some quick and safe body paint, mix baby shampoo and washable tempura paint powder.