Keeping Cool

waterplay.bmpFormal heat advisory or not, it’s important to keep cool and hydrated during this incredibly hot weather. Aside from installing air conditioning units or fans in your home, here’s a roundup of simple, inexpensive activities to keep the whole family cool:

Backyard fun. If you have yard space, kiddie pools and sprinklers are a popular, easy way to cool down. But if you’d like to conserve water, and/or not have to worry about dumping out or cleaning floaties out of a kiddie pool, consider getting a water play table with a cover.

Spray away. Inexpensive household spray bottles offer relief for the whole family. April’s daughter loves spraying her mom and dad – and being chased and sprayed herself - while everyone hangs out under a ceiling fan.

Tea party water play. Bring water play indoors with a cooking/tea party. For easy clean up, set your kid up on towels on the kitchen floor. Fill a dishpan with cold water and various household toys: measuring cups, drinking cups, funnels, rubber spatulas, tiny colanders, etc. Add ice cubes to the water if your child is past mouthing (i.e., choking hazard). In advance, you also can freeze a couple of smaller toys in a small block of ice; as your child plays, the ice will melt and free the toy.

Play clean. Give your child cold wet washcloths to “clean” their or your arms, face, legs, as well as plastic toys.

Tubby time. Suz’s son loves play time in the tub with bubbles, finger paints, and music (the latter changes the atmosphere from a regular bath). Keep the water cooler like a pool. If you’re lucky, by the end of the water play, your kid will also be sufficiently cleaned up so you don’t have to worry about a bath later.

Make popsicles. Check out our popsicle feature from last year, for information on sugar content in commercial popsicles and ideas for making your own.

Cool ride. Sara loves taking the T with her kids; the air-conditioned cars are refreshing and will take you to the city’s many terrific museums.

Indoor fun. See our Fun Indoors archive for cool retreats in the form of libraries, art studios, museums, and indoor play spaces. Note that at libraries, you often can pick up free passes to area museums.

Public water play. If you’re looking to submerge yourself in something more expansive than the backyard kiddie pool, check out our previous post on local water play spots. Also, Sara’s favorites include: Soldier’s Field Road (for older kids say 5 years and up), Fillipello Park in Watertown, and Hancock Street playground (for younger kids up to 5 years) in Central Square.

Will bring lunch for pool. If you have friends who have a pool, ask whether they’d be up for a casual pool gathering. In exchange, offer to bring in lunch and popsicles for your and their families.

And of course, drink plenty of water, and apply sunscreen.

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