by Kazue Koyanagi
Hot summer weather getting to the kids? Is the pool calling your name? Is the symphony of, "Mommmm, it's hoootttttt..." ringing in your ears?
When it's hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk, and everyone is cranky, it's time to look for cheap, resourceful and fun ways to cool everyone off.
How about our top ten activities to lower the temperature and raise the fun factor of summer? See how many of these outings you can do! Did we leave one or two off? Share your ideas in the comments!
Keep breakfast plans simple so you can get outside quickly. Smoothies and toast on your patio table, perhaps? Enjoy the outdoors while temperatures are lower and the sun isn't so hot.
Mom's theater, that is. Wash up the popsicle sticks and create a cast of puppets and put on your own show in air-conditioned comfort.
Make ice blocks for the backyard or wading pool. Fill different sized plastic containers and ice cube trays with colored water and freeze them overnight. Choose a shady area, remove the ice shapes from the containers. Preschoolers and toddlers can stack, slide and cool off while the ice melts.
Does your library have free weekly story and craft times? The kids can listen, learn and make something neat -- all in cool comfort. Check out a couple book to read later at home.
Stash your library loot in the car and find a local water park. Since your children are small you get to accompany through the sprinkles and sprays. Ah, the sacrifices we moms must make! Bring towels, lots of sunscreen, a snack, water bottles and a change of clothes.
Take a hike along a mountain trail. The higher up you go, the cooler it gets. Bring along plenty of snacks and water bottles for the journey.
Spend the afternoon at the pool or beach. Nothing like a dip in the water to cool the kids and you right down. Safety first: sunscreen, arm floats, goggles and whatever else makes the outing successful!
Grab a swish ball or a water gun and fire! Everyone will get wet and cool off! Then relax and sip lemonade, water or ice tea in the shade.
Set up the "slip and slide." Don't have one? Spread a large tarp on the lawn, flood it with water and slip and slide. Place on a hillside for extra fun, but only if the kids are big enough to handle the hill.
In addition to cooling off in it, kids need to get a lot in them. Have each child choose a bpa-free water bottle and keep filling them up. For a pleasant chill, fill each bottle 1/3 to 1/2 with water and place in the freezer at a slight slant. In the morning, finish filling with water.
What are some of your favorite activities to stay cool?