Kids are great at relating the obvious. For example, coming home late one July afternoon about twenty-six years ago, I told my dad from the back seat, “I’m hot.” To which Daddy replied, “Jennifer, the whole world’s hot!” It was a funny joke the kids I grew up with and I shared for years, and a story I’ve told my own daughter about half a dozen times when she uttered those two very obvious words from the back seat in the middle of July.

One of the best things about summer, aside from the fact that it’s not snowing, is there are dozens of fun ways to beat the heat and entertain kids at the same time.

Here’s a twist on heat-beating summer activities your kids will be begging to do every day, and since most of them are either free or so inexpensive your wallet won’t feel the crunch, you’ll be happy to oblige them.

  1. Swimming is a given, whether it be in the local public or backyard pool, lake or beach. Not everyone has access to a pool, so instead of sweating it out and wishing you and the kids could swim, fill up a bag of water balloons or the squirt guns and have a backyard battle. Not only will this cool off the whole family, but everyone will spend the afternoon laughing and you can’t beat that!
  2. With as often as I mention the library and its fantastic children’s programs, I feel like a national library spokeswoman, but there are so many benefits you can reap from a visit to the library. Not only are your kids going to come home armed with excellent reading material, but most public libraries are air conditioned. Air conditioning is going to calm the kids down and help them relax and enjoy story time. Even sixty minutes free of the words, “I’m hot,” is a blessing.
  3. Cool summer treats like ice cream and popcicles are obvious solutions, so instead of hitting the ice cream shop, why not make your own? Making your own ice cream and popcicles gives kids a sense of accomplishment when they have the finished product in front of them, and with summer berries in season, spending and afternoon picking your own and then turning them into tasty, frozen treats will keep their minds off the fact that it’s so hot.
  4. Movie marathons take place at a lot of local theatres, and believe it or not, many of them are free. Air conditioning, yummy snacks and a quality family film can’t be beat, but say you don’t want to leave the house. Set up a movie marathon in the house, pulling the curtains closed to keep it cool and dark. Pop some popcorn, have the kids invite a few friends and enjoy an afternoon indoors watching movies.

Keeping cool in the summer is essential for kids, as most of us don’t realize kids are more susceptible to dehydration than adults. When it’s too hot, don’t be afraid to stay indoors, but make sure you keep kids occupied with something fun. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the time indoors a whole lot more if everyone’s got something to do!