Summer is a great time for children. School is out for most of them and its time to play. Running, climbing, building sand castles, swimming…
Sweating, sunburns, complaining.
It isnt necessarily all that easy to keep the kids busy all summer long, especially on particularly hot days, the days when the kids come into the house five minutes after you send them out, complaining its too hot outside! What can you do to keep them busy, short of turning the AC on full blast, driving up your electrical bill and letting them watch television or play video games all day? Plenty!
First of all, have some cheap, cool treats on hand. Otter Pops or homemade popsicles dont cost much, and you just have to enforce the rule that they are eaten outside to limit the mess. These may only keep the kids out for a short time or they might find something fun to do outside anyhow.
Try getting the kids outside to play in the earlier and later parts of the day, when its cooler outside. Then you wont feel so bad if theyre watching television in the hottest part of the day. Try to keep television watching/video game playing under two hours a day total.
Have fun things ready for them to do indoors. Board games work very well, depending on the ages of your kids. My daughter loves doing projects, that is, arts and crafts. She has a box of supplies she can use, or we look at our copy of Little Kid Crafts for All Seasons to get ideas.
Many parents choose to enroll their kids in activities for the summer. This is good if not taken to extremes – kids need time to just be kids. My daughter is taking swimming lessons for two different sessions this summer, as well as a one day a week drama class. The drama class suits her style (it starts next week), so I expect she will enjoy it, yet it wont take much out of her summer fun. The swimming lessons are a necessity since she has regular access to a pool at her grandparents house.
Of course, just because the kids are complaining that its too hot outside doesnt mean you have to give in and let them play inside. If you have a yard, get those kids into swimsuits and sunscreen (if they arent wearing it already) and turn on those sprinklers. You know you loved running through the sprinkler as a kid. You dont even need to buy the ones designed for kids to play with, jut make sure yours is fairly kid friendly – low to the ground, no sharp edges and so forth.
Ride bicycles, go hiking, get some of their friends to come over to play one sort of tag or another, all the stuff you enjoyed as a kid. In many cases it isnt that its too hot to play outside, its that your kids are bored.