Okay, it’s hot outside, the kids are getting cranky and you don’t want to spend a bunch of money to keep them entertained. What to do? Try some of these tried and true ideas:
Sprinkler fun: Let your kids cool off with the garden hose or sprinklers. If you don’t have water toys, just give the kids some plastic containers, strainers, dishwashing liquid, plastic toys or anything else that can increase their fun. Cool, wet kids are happy kids.
Make some frozen treats: Using popsicle sticks, punch, juice or homemade lemonade and ice cube trays (or paper or plastic cups), let your kids make their own popsicles. Add in some gummy bears, cut up pieces of fruit or other surprises to make each one different. Get creative – just about anything goes!
Summer dance party: Pop in a Kidsongs DVD (I Can Dance is perfect for this) or download your favorite danceable children’s songs and get moving! Getting silly is a sure cure for crankiness. Try “Do the Silly Willy”, “Barefootin” and “Splish Splash” to keep everyone smiling. Keep a pitcher of lemonade near by, they’ll need it!
Build a fort: If it’s too hot outside, let them build one inside! The dining room table can be the roof, drape the sides with sheets and fill it up with comfy pillows. Once inside they can play with toys or make up secret games and adventures. Flashlights, hats and costumes all add to the fantasy fun.
Make a collage: In the shade outside, or in the air-conditioning inside, set up an area with a small table for some crafts. All you need is some basic white clue and something, anything, to glue onto -- a shoe box, a piece of construction paper, spare cardboard, or even a clothes hanger! Have the kids choose and gather up what they want to work with -- leaves and flowers from the garden, pictures cut out of old magazines, beads, dried pasta & beans, buttons from the sewing box or all of the above! When they have made their projects, set up a little outdoor art show for friends and neighbors to enjoy.
Kick-starting some creative fun for you kids will help get their minds of the heat and parents won’t have to hear the familiar whine of “There’s nothing to doooooo”. It's a win-win for everyone!