This summer has been one of sweltering conditions for many across the country, hasn’t it? While this is our first year with central air, we still hate to overuse it due to its energy sucking and near-constant running, so I’ve found myself searching for other heat-beating options. That, plus the fact that both of our kids seem HIGHLY bothered by the heat (you’d think the 6-month pregnant one in the family would be bothered the most, but nope - it’s my husband and the kiddos), means I’ve been getting creative. And don’t forget to grab your Thirsties swim diaper before you go! They’re available in ADORABLE designs and are just the trick for all your summertime fun. Splash pads! This can be a tough one depending on your locale (it was quite a schlep from my old house to any splash spots, so I understand if you’re in a more rural place!), but if you’re in a busier area, search around. I literally searched “splash pads near me” and came up with a couple of options. One reason I ADORE splash pads is because they’re easier to manage when you’re taking a couple of littles (who don’t know how to swim on their own yet) solo for a quick summer outing. Pools, pools, pools. If you have one already, great! Here in Upstate New York where summer only lasts about 3 months (if you’re lucky; we’ve had a REALLY rainy season this year...see my next tip!), they’re a little less common, so you may have to hook up with a friend or family member for some swim time. Otherwise, check out your local municipality (or even college!) for swim times. And, honestly, there is no shame in the kiddie pool game. I’ve been known to stick my pregnant swollen feet in with the kiddos while they giggle and splash and get entirely too rowdy. Oh, and this is also an easier option when you’re watching multiple kids on your own (unless your kids know how to swim already and don’t need assistance, of course). Rain shower playtime! If you’ve had a humid but rainy summer, embrace it! Some of my favorite summertime fun memories as a kid involved throwing on a swimsuit (usually as Wonder Woman, if I’m going to be honest, ha!) and heading for the driveway and yard during a warm summer shower. Puddle jumping at its best! Just be sure to keep an ear and eye out for the serious storms! Water the lawn AND your kids at the same time. Remember running through the sprinkler as a kid? I’m telling you, it’s just as much fun as it used to be. Plus, if things are getting a tad crispy on the lawn front, it does double duty. There are also cool sprinkler-like attachments you can add to your house (we have one that shoots in tons of directions that you can also put balls in to add a bit of a game element to the play. This might not be a great one if you’re in an area in need of water conservation, so maybe an old-school water gun fight might be better. Hit the beach! I do think that running to a beach on a hot day is a little like “whuh?!” (at least, I think my husband feels this way) but I get it. The awesome thing about a beach is that you can enjoy the hot sun and, when you feel like it, go for a quick dip when you feel like cooling off, then head back to make more sand castles. It’s literally rinse and repeat. And, if you’re lucky, there’s sometimes a nice breeze coming in off of the lake or ocean. And at our local state parks, there are often nearby shady areas with trees for cooling off and picnicking that provide a nice break from the sun beating down. Did somebody say “water park”??? Sometimes it’s a bit of a drive so you may want to build a trip just around this option, but we love to make an annual trek to our “local” water park (oh, and it has amazing, kid-friendly dry rides and an old school fairy tale land that our kids still think is amazingly cool) when we see that the temperature’s rising. The awesome thing about most of these spots is that there are more and more catching on to the idea of “family friendly” options, often providing a large area for babies and toddlers to wade around while the older kids get to enjoy the “big kid” rides. There’s also sometimes a “Lazy River” option or large outdoor pool that parents can bring the littles in, providing tons of choices for cooling off. Go to a fun spot - indoors! If you’re simply not a fan of the heat but don’t want to be stuck in watching one more episode of “Paw Patrol,” think outside the box to have fun and still stay cool. From movie theaters to museums, indoor play gyms to libraries, there are lots of air conditioned spots that you can take kids to encourage play without getting too hot. And the amazing thing? Lots of places offer free or cheap services over the summer to meet the needs of your families. For example, movie theaters will oftentimes show a mid-morning string of kid-friendly movies in the dead of summer for super cheap - or even free! - once a week. Libraries, of course, always offer free youth services, from read alouds to puppet shows and beyond. Children’s museums are now the epitome of hands-on play (rather than the museums of years past) - I think my son has a couple he’d simply love to LIVE at, he loves them so much. We actually build entire vacations around what’s available to do outside AND inside so that we don’t have to worry about any bad (or super, super hot) weather hurting the trip! So, these are just a handful of ways to beat the heat but still have tons of fun this summer. I’d love to hear your family’s favorite(s) in the comments! And, of course, here are a few quick practical tips to beating the sun beyond the “I’m bored” parts of summer: - Keep kiddos hydrated with their own reusable water bottles. There’s something about a stainless steel water bottle with a fun character on it that gets my kids to drink more water! - Slather on the (safe) sun block. Research the best option for your family and remember to use and reapply. I also like to remember that if we forget it, SOMETHING is better than NOTHING (ie “I know this stuff at the convenience store is full of chemicals, but we’re out of our favorite stuff...hmm...what to do?”). Take it from a girl who lost her dad to skin cancer as a young child. It’s important. - Keep clothes light in more ways than one. Clothes that are both a) lightweight (natural fibers like cotton are great for this!) and b) light in color (rather than navy or black) help keep kids (and grown-ups) cooler. - ‘Tis the season for cool treats - embrace it! Ice pops (I LOVE that there are more “real fruit” options available in the stores, but you can also easily make your own) are a GREAT way to keep kids hydrated AND provide a nice, refreshing treat.