Welcome to summertime in the A-T-L, known specifically for its stifling hot, humid temps – and we’re already getting a good dose of this just within the past few days, with highs in the mid-to-upper 90s. Sheesh. For me, that means, I’ve got to get a bit creative in how I not only keep my 5- and 2-year-old entertained this summer, but also keep my fair-skinned gingers cool and protected from the sun.
Here’s a handful of fun and frugal ways to keep YOUR kids cool this summer – all kid-tested, and mother (mostly) approved. Just don’t be afraid to get a little messy in the process. 😉
- Very early in the morning, we hop in our double-seater, canopied wagon (garage sale find for under $20!!), with pads of papers, crayons, squirt bottles (fine, that’s really for me!), and sippy cups of ice water, and we go on a “nature hike” along our hilly neighborhood. (AKA, mommy gets a good weighted walk in.) Same for the evenings.
- Search garage sales or thrift stores for water tables/sand tables, or just big plastic rubbermaid containers – fill with water and water toys. You can even make little races with two sets of tubs: who can put all the toys in the fastest, who can skip to the other tub, who can put all the green toys in the other tub, etc… Or just good ol’ fashioned teamwork, expounding upon the whole egg and spoon race concept. Find out other creative ways to use your water/sand table.
- Freeze small trinkets in small yogurt cups, ice cube trays, or other small containers. Give the kids squirt bottles, and let them sit outside and “melt” until they get the prize. I’ve also been known to freeze ice cubes with a dash of glitter, sometimes a drop of food coloring here and there, small gummy bears, and maybe even a chocolate chip or M&M or two. To mix it up, I’ll fill up the water table with these, along with regular ol’ ice cubes on a hot hot day, and let the kids “dig” with their squirt bottles, small cups, droppers, and scoopers.
- Create an art classroom with recyclables: collect paper grocery bags, cardboard boxes, empty squirt bottles, empty soap dish squirt bottles, etc. Create food coloring paintings on the driveway with a few drops of food coloring in the squirt bottles, and let them go to town. Or use regular (washable) paint.
- Buried treasure sensory bin: Can be done indoors or outdoors, for hours of fun and entertainment.
- Give them a bucket of water and old paint brushes, and let them “paint” the fence, the side of the house, the driveway, etc. Depending on their age, can keep them entertained for HOURS.
- I’m also not opposed to active games the Wii. Let’s face it, summers in Georgia just get too damn hot and humid sometimes. So letting them burn off some energy indoors, while staying out of the scorching sun can’t be a bad thing from time to time. Some of our favorites include Nickelodeon Fit, Kid Fit Island Resort, Zumba Kids, Nickelodeon Dance, Wii Fit Plus, Just Dance: Disney Party, and the Nickelodeon Fit Board and Game Bundle.
Use these suggestions along with my Free and Frugal Ways to Beat the Heat in Atlanta guide, and you’ve got a great variety of ways to mix it up this summer, whether you’re looking for splash pads around Atlanta, local water parks and aquatic centers, or indoor venues around Atlanta – there are plenty of ways to stay cool this summer, AND keep your kids entertained — all without breaking the bank!
And while you’re at it, check out all these other nifty ways to use your water/sand table:
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