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Beat the Heat: How to Stay Cool and Have Fun with Your Kids on a Hot Day

Ideas for summer family fun indoors and out

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How do you stay cool on days when the heat is simply too unbearable to be outside for more than a few minutes at a time? With these fun and simple ideas for staying cool, you and your family will beat the heat, and have a great time doing it!

1. Eat cold fruit.

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Fewer things are more refreshing and lovely on a hot summer day than a big slice of cold watermelon. Other great ideas: Frozen grapes, chilled cantaloupe or honeydew slices, or even a frosty smoothie made with berries and frozen bananas.

2. Work on some fun summer crafts

felt craft
Katherine Lee
Take the fun inside when it's too hot to play outside. Bring out the craft bin and get kids to unleash their imaginations with paper, crayons, glue, scissors, felt, washi tape -- whatever materials you have on hand.

3. Make drinking water fun.

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One of the most important things you can do on a sweltering summer day is give kids lots of water to drink. (This goes for adults, too.) And while parents know how crucial it is to keep kids hydrated during outdoor activities, especially in the summer, drinking plenty of water is important when kids are indoors, too. Children can easily forget to drink enough, especially when they are having fun. To make sure kids stay hydrated, put some ice and water in a fun bottle such as ones from Kor One (compare prices) or another favorite bottle and let them sip from it all day while they play.

4. Make frozen popsicles.

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Popsicles are perfect for hot summer days. And when you make your own using a simple and inexpensive popsicle mold (found in most grocery and house wares stores), it’s cheaper and healthier than store-bought versions, which are often laden with sugar and preservatives. You can make yummy popsicles out of grape, apple, orange, or any other favorite juice. Or you can try one of these great popsicle recipes from About’s Guide to Frugal Living.

5. Make your own ice cream.

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If you have an ice cream maker, check out these great homemade ice cream recipes from About’s Cooking for Kids Guide, Stephanie Gallagher. Don’t have an ice cream maker? You can still make some of these yummy frozen treats such as an ice cream pie using store-bought ice cream. Delicious and fun!

6. Play indoor games.

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Put on a play with finger puppets or hold a silly songwriting contest. Whatever creative indoor game you choose, your kids will have fun while they explore their artistic -- and silly -- side.

7. Play some favorite -- and educational -- board games for kids.

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What better way to exercise your child’s mind when you’re stuck indoors than with a fun educational board game? Also check out these brilliant suggestions for board games with a healthy twist, suggested by Catherine Holecko, About’s Guide to Family Fitness.

8. Read a good book together.

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There are so many wonderful books for grade-school age children, from simple chapter books for early readers to challenging -- and engaging -- adventure or mystery series for older children.

9. Put on a favorite kids' movie.

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Whether your family loves Hayao Miyazaki films, classic kids’ movies, or the latest DVD releases of kids’ films, putting on a kids’ movie can be a great way to cool down on a hot afternoon. My personal recommendation: Try the Ice Age movies. Just having the images of an snowy white, icy land on the screen can actually make you feel cooler. Ah, the power of suggestion!

10. Let them play with water.

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If your kids wanna head outside to burn off some energy, be sure to incorporate some water play into their fun. Whether it’s simply letting them run under sprinklers on the lawn or at a local park, or having a fun game of water balloon toss, get them into their bathing suits and let them cool off. And don’t forget to keep re-applying the sun block and have them drink plenty of water while they play.

11. Play with some cool water toys.

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Catherine Holecko, About’s Guide to Family Fitness, has put together a list of fun water toys that can be used in the backyard or, if you’re lucky enough to have access to one, a swimming pool.

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