As a parent, you probably don’t want your kids to while away summer break glued to their iPads and smartphones. But on days when the mercury is climbing and your neighborhood looks like a ghost town, you can’t exactly blame your kids for wanting to stay indoors. Heck, you may have even found yourself devoting more time to crushing candies than heading outside for some much-needed activity. Fortunately, there are plenty of family-friendly outdoor activities that are literally and figuratively cool.
Host a pool game day
If you have a backyard or neighborhood pool, host a pool game day that will cool you off while getting you up and moving. Play a rousing game of Marco Polo and then challenge your kids to beat you in pool basketball or volleyball. Before the big day, stock up on pool toys and games like the 2-in-1 Pool Basketball and Volleyball Game. It includes two heavy-duty basketball bases, a 24-foot volleyball net and a basketball and volleyball.
Create a splash pad for a slide
Make your backyard slide more fun by adding a splash pad. Lay a tarp at the bottom of the slide and place a sprinkler on top of the tarp off to the side where no one will run into it. Turn the water on high and take turns zipping down the slide and landing with a splash on the slippery tarp. Even your teens will love sliding down onto the tarp to cool off.
Water balloon baseball
Water balloons are a cheap and easy way to have fun and cool off during the dog days of summer. Head to the dollar store and stock up on bags of small balloons, and then teach your kids how to fill them at the kitchen faucet or hose. Instead of a traditional water balloon fight, suggest a game of baseball — set up some “bases” with folded up pool towels and a pitcher’s mound and take turns trying to hit and break the balloons with a bat.
Water balloon piñatas
Another great way to use water balloons is to turn them into piñatas. Purchase some large party-sized balloons, fill them with water and then hang them from your patio ceiling or swing set. Take turns closing your eyes and hitting at the balloon piñatas with a plastic bat; when one breaks, you’ll all enjoy the shower of cold water. When you are finished playing, clean up the little bits of balloons and head out for ice cream.
Turn an old sheet into a target practice game
Practice your throwing skills by taking an old sheet or tarp, cutting out holes of different shapes, and outlining each one with colorful duct tape. Then, hang the sheet over a clothesline (or a broomstick suspended across two ladders) and take turns tossing bean bags through the holes from varying distances. You can either make your own bean bags — We All Sew has some adorable and easy patterns, or if you have water balloons left over you can use those. To make the target practice game even cooler, you can run the sprinkler while you play.