Whilst I might live in Yorkshire now, I’m originally from Zimbabwe and South Africa. Summer is great, but when you have little kids you need to find ways to keep them cool on really hot days. Whilst sunshine is glorious, it’s imperative that we respect who dangerous it can be too. The summer sun in central South Africa is fierce! So here are my top 8 ways to keep kids cool in summer.
1. A Sandpit
By this I mean one of those hard plastic shell types pits that you fill with sand (or water). It’s great for little kids, under the age of about 5. They are great because you can move them around to keep them in the shade at different times of the day. The one pictured below is great because it has a lid on too so you can close it up when they aren’t using it.
We usually bake at least once a week. Nothing hectic or too complicated. I save this activity for the middle of the day so that it keeps them inside but away from the TV. I’m not going to lie, usually, someone ends up in tears. More often than not it’s me when I have to clear up 100s and 1000s which are almost in the same category as glitter. And there is usually a fight about who is doing the eggs/flour/sugar, and the biggest fight of all – who gets to lick the bowl! Despite all this, it does keep them busy … for about half an hour!
3. Activity Mat / Rug
The girls get bored playing in their room and I don’t particularly want the living room turned into a playroom so I use an old rug/mat to create an area for them to ‘mess’. It’s a safe-zone if you like. When the rug is out they are allowed to be messy but are confined to the activity zone. They enjoy cutting old magazines, colouring-in, stringing beads, threading, etc. It’s all done on the mat so that the mess is confined to that one area. It’s amazingly effective and relatively easy to tidy up.
An alternative to a fabric rug would be an old vinyl wipe-clean table cloth. These, on the carpet, keep it protected from accidental spills and messes.
4. Water play
When we were in South Africa we had a pool. Although we don’t have one now in the UK, a cheap paddling pool is also a good way to let them enjoy water based play. Whilst the big ones are great for long term use, I find the smaller ones are great for moving the pool into a shaded area on really hot days.
Other than a paddling pool even just letting the kids run around in the sprinkler or play with a bucket of water and some plastic cups is a great way to keep kids cool in summer.
5. Play Table
I have a plastic kids table and chairs which I also use to move to different areas. This is usually used for play dough which again I put outside in the shade. This is great because I can move it to wherever the shade is in the garden, with the added bonus that I don’t get playdough mashed into my sofa or carpet. Win Win!
6. Homemade Ice Pops
We make up juice as if to drink – any cordial will do. I pour it into the moulds and then freeze them. It’s cost-effective and I can control what’s in them. Other ‘Icey’ ideas are watered down fruit juice or mixing fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) with water. The only hard part is keeping up with them considering the time it takes to freeze!
7. The Gym
When the heat is too unbearable I take them the gym and let them play in the air-conditioned kid’s care zone while I hide in the canteen area and catch up on my blogging! Don’t judge me! Lol
For some reason that I can no longer recall, the puzzles in my house are stored in the draws of my TV cabinet in the lounge. My youngest loves puzzles but hates tidying up so by the time I have managed to get her to put them away they are never made up. Instead the boards and puzzle pieces are all loose. It’s quite useful though because it takes them ages to find all the pieces for the puzzles.
I’d love to hear your ideas and ways of how to keep kids cool in summer?
When All Else Fails
If they insist on being out in the sun, it’s sunblock Factor 50 and hats!
It’s also vitally important to keep yourself and your children well hydrated in the summer. You can check out my post on Ways To Water if you’re lacking in inspiration and struggling to get them to drink more water, or even this one which gives a great idea for a healthy refreshing summer drink.
What are your favourite ways to keep kids cool in summer? Let me know in the comments below.