Summer, with its long, lazy days and wonderful, warm air, brings with it a whole world of possibilities for outdoor fun. Summer is the time for sailing, flying kites, going on picnics, biking, playing soccer—the list is endless, and your little one could probably run around outdoors all day. But parents need to remember that the summer sun burns bright and strong, and younger children can get overheated and dehydrated in hot weather more easily than adolescents and adults.
That doesn't mean you should avoid the outdoors altogether. If you remember to use hats and sunscreen, take frequent water breaks, and seek refuge in the shade every now and then, there's no reason why your family can't enjoy your favorite summertime activities. Here are some great ways to have some cool, cool fun when it gets hot, hot, hot:
Pools and Parks
There's nothing like a splash of water to keep you cool on a hot summer day, so it's no wonder that a visit to a pool or beach tops most families' summer activity list. Many parks and playgrounds have water features, so pack a swimsuit and a towel and get ready to watch your little one run through fountains and puddles!
Water Play at Home
Water parks and pools are wonderful, but you don't have to leave home to enjoy some wet, splashy fun. All you need is a hose, a sprinkler, or even just a bucket of water. Purchase a sprinkler, some inexpensive water squirters, and all of a sudden you've got your own water park right in your back yard. Try enlisting your children to help wash your car; this is one chore they'll eagerly take!
When it's time to pack up the toys and get ready for bed, why head back inside and waste all that perfectly good daylight? We like to extend our summertime fun by giving the kids outdoor showers. They'll enjoy washing themselves even more than they enjoyed washing your car, and you'll give your kids an extra half hour of play to chase their wiggles out and get them all tuckered out for the night.
Indoor Play Places
When the sun's rays are scorching the sidewalk and the thermometer hits three digits, you'll probably want to take your little ones to play in the shade. And if you don't have air conditioning at home, indoor play places are a great option for children to run, bounce and jump around. If you don't have an indoor play place close by, escape to a mall (look for one with an indoor playground), catch a kid flick at your local cinema (many have family-friendly summer morning movie specials) or head to your favorite museum to walk around in climate-controlled bliss.
In the summertime, keeping children hydrated is more important than ever, so make sure your little ones always have a cool drink close at hand. Another great way to keep children hydrated is to serve them foods with high water content. Fortunately, with all the sweet, succulent summertime fruit available, eating water can be downright fun. Serve your child fruit throughout the day: smoothies at breakfast time, chilled watermelon slices and grapes at lunch, and cherry tomatoes for dinner. For a special treat, make homemade popsicles out of juice or chocolate pudding, or make snow cones by shaving some ice and pouring a bit of lemonade over the top.
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