While summer might be nearing its end (insert back to school happy dance here), the heat is going nowhere fast. We don’t blame you if hiding the kids indoors with air conditioning has been your go-to move lately, but why not get everyone outside to embrace this heatwave while you still have the chance? Don’t worry – we’re happy to help.
September’s just around the corner, but there’s still time to take advantage of this jam-packed list of ideas to keep your kids cool and entertained while the summer sun lingers on.
That’s right, whip it out. Running through the sprinkler might not be the most original idea, but it’s guaranteed to keep everyone cool. Plus, on the list of “one” to “never gets old,” it ranks pretty high.
2. WATER BALLOON PIÑATA
If you thought normal piñatas were a blast, wait until you try water balloon piñatas. String up water balloons in the yard, find a stick, stand clear and let the kids have at it. They’ll not only be soaked, but they’ll also be sufficiently burnt out afterwards!
3. MAKE YOUR OWN FROZEN POPSICLES
The only thing better than enjoying store-bought popsicles is making your own! A great opportunity to get the kids involved, too. Once you have popsicle molds (like these), you can get creative with the ingredients. Have a few different juices or flavoured Greek yogurt available for the kids to choose from, or experiment with coconut water and fresh fruit pieces for something extra refreshing. Your little ones will love creating their own combinations, and will stay cool and hydrated when it comes time to enjoy them.
4. WATER BALLOON/WET SPONGE TARGET PRACTICE
The minimal set-up required for this activity makes it a huge win in our books. Simply draw a target on your driveway using sidewalk chalk and arm the kiddos with water balloons or big, wet sponges for tossing. We can’t promise that it won’t turn into a full-blown water fight, but we can promise that it’ll be loads of fun.
5. WATCH FROZEN AND EAT ICE CREAM
Okay, so we’re cheating a bit with this one. But sometimes the best way to chill out, literally, is to think cold thoughts. Load up on ice cream or other cool treats and have an afternoon sing-along with Frozen. (And we’re not taking any responsibility for the songs getting stuck in your head, FYI.)
6. RAINBOW ICE CUBE PAINTING
You’ll be entering a disaster zone if you decide to take on rainbow ice cube painting – which is why it’s a fantastic outdoor activity. Create colourful ice cubes using water mixed with food colouring or watercolour paint and freeze them in advance. Once frozen, the rainbow ice cubes become painting tools that are messy, melty and loads of fun! Heavy paper or large pieces of scrap fabric are the perfect canvases for your kids to create their ice cube works of art on. And if your kids aren’t already cool enough from the ice cubes, you hosing them off afterwards will surely do the trick.
7. FROZEN ORBS (USING WATER BALLOONS)
Know what happens when you freeze water balloons? Just what you’d expect. You end up with cool, frozen orbs. These are fun for rolling, smashing or simply seeing how long it takes for them to melt in the summer sun. Make them fancy by adding food colouring to the water before you freeze them (although that makes them a lot messier) or add glitter for a neat sparkly effect.
8. WASH THE CARS
Aside from getting soapy and staying cool on a hot, sticky day, washing the cars provides the added bonus of your car being clean at the end of it all. It might seem like a chore at first, but will quickly turn into an enjoyable task for grown-ups and kids alike. (Just don’t be surprised when the neighbours start lining their cars up for a turn!)
9. DIY KIDDIE CAR WASH
If simply washing your actual car isn’t adventurous enough for you, we suggest giving this DIY kiddie car wash a shot. With materials like PVC pipe, pool noodles, sponges and plastic streamers (or cut up table cloths), the final result can be pretty magical. The pipe hooks up to your hose, which allows water to flow constantly through the structure, and therefore, constant fun for little ones running or driving tricycles/mini cars through. (If you’re brand new to DIY and still want to give this a try, we wish you luck.)
10. GIANT WATER BLOB
You know anything that has “blob” in the title is going to be awesome. This particular blob is created from heavy plastic sheeting folded in half and sealed with duct tape or fused with heat from an iron. Simply fill with water using your hose and seal the hole – voila! A giant, cool, outdoor water blob for your kids to go crazy with. Don’t be too concerned with the tiny holes that will inevitably form as they can be easily repaired with more duct tape. (Although you might find that the kids enjoy the leaks as much as the blob itself!)
11. ICE EXCAVATION
You’ll need to clear some space in the freezer in order to prep for this activity, but it’s worth it. Fill a Tupperware container (that fits in your freezer) with water and add a variety of small toys. (Or freeze one layer at a time to ensure items are scattered throughout the ice.) Once frozen, the ice block becomes an excavation adventure as your kids try to free the encased items. Give them kid tools for chipping away at the ice or spoons for scraping. Watering cans or buckets filled with water are also great to have handy — the little ones will love experimenting with melting the ice block.
12. BACKYARD WATER TABLE
We use the word “table” loosely. This sensory activity simply involves filling shallow Tupperware bins, a kiddie pool or even a sandbox with water and a variety of items. (Or break out your DIY prowess by building a whole water table structure from PVC pipe.) Ideal for toddlers and younger kids, this activity promotes water exploration (and keeps the kiddos cool) with things like sponges, squirt toys, funnels, foam blocks, rubber animal toys and plastic cups submerged in water. The dollar store is your friend here.
13. WATER JUMP ROPE
Ordinary jump rope is fun, but adding the water element makes it a thrilling summertime activity. Have the kids take turns jumping while two other people are turning the rope. The jumper can hold a cup of water (or one in each hand) and complete ten jumps. After all the jumpers have had a turn, compare water cups – the winner is the one who spills the least! (Or perhaps the winner is the one who ends up the most drenched – depends on your perspective!)
14. FROZEN T-SHIRT CHALLENGE
This activity is not only a fun challenge for the kids, but hugely entertaining for you as a spectator. Soak t-shirts in water, scrunch them in a ball and leave them to freeze overnight. The next day, sit back and enjoy watching your kids in a race to see who can get their solid t-shirt on the fastest. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!