Summer can be awesome: warm weather, longer days, time off. It can also present a slew of new and annoying challenges: heat, sand everywhere, heat, getting wet, heat, water safety issues... did I mention heat? Fortunately, moms know everything, so I asked 11 of them to share their best outdoor summer tips for parents. And, you guys, these wise women delivered.
I'll level with you: summer is my least favorite season. Why? Well, it's largely due to the aforementioned heat and the humidity that goes along with it, especially in my neck of the woods. But it's more than just the weather! Summer is supposed to be carefree and lazy, but I feel like everything just takes so much more effort than it does during the rest of the year. Our lives are largely built around the indoors most of the year, and then summer rolls around and everyone wants to do everything outside, which is in and of itself great — I'm a big nature fan! But then it's often a total struggle bus of sunburn and sand and bugs and sweat and not having everything you need to do things the way you're used to doing them and sometimes it's just like, "Can we not? It's cooler inside! And also, there's a TV."
But, thanks to these 11 moms, I have some hot tips on how to make the summer more enjoyable:
"When we went to the amusement park, my mom used to have us wear a cotton button down open over a tank top. Then we'd soak the cotton shirt and wear it around the park to stay cool."
"Did you know you can cook corn on the cob in a cooler at a BBQ? Put shucked corn in a cooler, pour in boiling water (about half a gallon for every dozen cobs or so) and close the lid for half an hour. Drain the cooler once you're done, though, otherwise the corn starts to taste a bit wonky."
"Baby powder does wonders to remove wet sand after a day at the beach."
"We always have issues with changing. [My daughter] hates going in the spray park or pond at camp because she doesn’t get dressed back in her 'street clothes' fast enough. She always feels like it takes her too long so she asks to just sit on the beach instead of going in.
This year, I came armed with a plan: I bought a few 2-piece bathing suits and I send her in with her suit on under her clothes. She wears a pair of water/land shoes so she doesn’t have to worry about that. When she’s done with water play I have instructed her to leave the top part of the suit on and just cover it with her t-shirt and then change the bottoms only. "
"Freeze coffee in an ice tray for un-watered down iced coffee. All moms need iced coffee in the summer if they're going to survive the heat of the playground, right? This is a great way of getting extra-caffeine while deluding yourself with the idea that you 'just had one cup today'."
"Instead of carrying around big bulky towels, use muslin blankets instead of beach towels to dry off. They dry kids off way more efficiently than a beach towel soaking the water right up, they’re light weight, easy to pack, and dry so fast when laid out in the sun."
"If you get a really bad sunburn you can take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, like Motrin or children's Motrin for kids, to ease the pain. Maybe that's obvious, but I feel like people don't recognize sunburn as being something you can take medicine for. Anti-inflammatory drugs really can take the edge off and let you go to sleep at night or function during the day, which can be hard if you're a human lobster."
"If you have one of those big inflatable pools (which I recommend because they're awesome and will entertain your kids for hours), I have two tips. First, fill it up basically the day before you plan to use it, because hose water is freezing and filling it ahead of time, especially if you fill it in an un-shaded area, will give it time to not be frigid. Second, clean it with an old rag and vinegar, which is environmentally friendly and gets algae and other pool gunk out pretty effectively."
"If you're going to be in water, especially if you're on a boat, add something that will float to your key chain. They make key chains for that purpose, but as long as you don't have a very heavy key chain you can even just add a cork. This may or may not be something I learned the hard way... two summers in a row."
"If you're in the pool or lake or ocean, put your phone in a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag. You can still use it in the bag and it protects the phone if it gets splashed or even dropped in water, as long as you retrieve it quickly!"
"Do what you must to survive. It's hard out there for a parent. Keep your head down and count the days until school is back in session."
Wise words, Gina. Wise words indeed.