I'm from the Midwest, where the weather goes from cloud and cool to hot and humid in a matter of minutes. Because of this, I've handled my share of heat waves and have learned how to adapt to the sudden rise in temperatures. Of course, this was much easier to do before I had children, who demand to be entertained at all hours of the time. I quickly learned how important it is to have a few indoor summer activities to help you beat the heat.
After you've played the last board game and read every book three times, getting creative with other activities can be difficult. Don't get me wrong — I'm not above turning on a movie and letting animated characters entertain my kids. But an afternoon of movies loses its appeal after a day or two. Instead, the kids get antsy, parents want to pull their hair out, and everyone's looking for a good indoor activity to release all that pent-up energy.
So if you want to keep kids cool and entertained on an overly hot day, take a look at these fun, indoor activities that utilize items you already have in the house. (Or can get after a quick trip to the AC-filled store.)
1. Erupting Car Wash
Katie Chiavarone from Views From A Step Stool created an erupting car washactivity that's not only fun, but also a great play-based learning activity. All you need to enjoy this activity is baking soda, vinegar, soap, water, and toy cars. You can also use food coloring for some pizzaz.
2. Cardboard Box Dollhouse
3. Print Activity Dice
Twitchetts shared a fun animal dice game for kids to take advantage of on hot summer days indoors. Print two dice templates, with one containing actions and the other containing animals. When rolled and combined, your child will have to actions like a certain animal. All you need is paper, a printer, scissors, and tape.
4. Have A Cook In
One of the easiest ways to beat the heat outside is to find a fun recipe the kids can help you with and spend the day creating inside. This can be anything from your favorite cookie or ice cream recipes to a creative lunch or fruit tray.
5. Make Slime (The Safe Way)
Did you know there are several safe slime recipes? Some of them use Elmer's glue, while others require Nutella. There are even a few that are edible. Whichever slime recipe you go with, however, it's a great activity to keep the kids entertained inside on a hot day (and potentially even full).
6. Become Actors For The Day
Instead of popping in a movie, the American Grandparents Association (AGA) suggested having your kids act out the movie instead. Give them some time to grab props, get fun clothes, and set a time limit for them to put on the show. You can even grab some old Halloween costumes if they really want to get into it.
7. Camp Out Inside
Instead of camping outside, bring all the fun of camping inside. Use blankets, sheets, and even play tents to create a big fort. You can also pack a lunch, spread out a blanket, and have an indoor picnic to accompany your camp-in. Top off your camping experience with some oven s'mores.
8. Write Letters
Ask your child think of some family members or friends they haven't seen in a while and have them write or draw letters to them with pencils or crayons and paper. You can help them address the letters and throw them in the mailbox as a nice surprise for someone else.
9. Plastic Bottle Bowling
Hands On As We Grow suggested playing indoor bowling. Find some empty plastic bottles or paper towel tubes, set them up in bowling pin formation, and grab any of the toy balls around the house to use as bowling balls.
10. Paint The Windows
By adding a small amount of dishwasher soap in tempura paint, you can let the kids paint the windows from the inside, according to What We Do All Day. After letting it sit, you can wash it off or turn it into a stained glass window art project to take advantage of another indoor activity for a hot day.
11. Have A Balloon Party
There are endless activities you can enjoy with balloons, and having a balloon party is just the start. Blow up a bunch of balloons and let everyone go crazy with them for a while. Play games like balloon volleyball or keep it up. When you're done with the balloons, you can even make a game out of trying to pop them too.
12. Create A Lava Lamp
PBS Parents has a great tutorial for a DIY lava lamp. All of the materials include normal household items like mason jars, water, cooking oil, food coloring, and Alka-Selzer tablets. Your kids can easily help with the craft and stay entertained with this activity for quite a while inside.
13. Make Some Play Dough
I generally avoid playdough because of the clean up, but the Crafty Girls have a DIY playdough tutorial that uses just two household ingredients. Plus, you can just toss it when you're done if you want.
14. Turn Chores Into Fun
Care.com suggested turning chores into a game with your children. For example, start bath time with your dog and have the kids help shampoo and spray water. You can also start a project cleaning or organizing an area and give the kids with important responsibilities to help.