Categories: Activities, Kids, Toddlers

Beat the Heat: Ideas to Keep Kids Cool This Summer

Popsicles, days at the pool, running through sprinklers: they’re all wonderful ways to stay cool! Summer is one of the most fun times of the year for kids, and as many camps are canceled this year, outdoor fun is even more important for kids. However, as the days get longer and temperatures rise, the heat can become hard to bear. Here are our best tips to beat the heat during your summer activities for kids, from healthy treats and outdoor games to ideas for keeping the fun going inside. 

Stay Protected: Sun Safety Tips for Babies & Kids

Preventing your child from getting sunburned requires diligence and planning. Keep the following recommendations in mind for safe, healthy fun in the sun.

When to Go Out

The sun is at its strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, so if you’re out and about during that window, remember to seek shade for 10–15 minutes per hour you’re outside. If the day is predicted to be a scorcher, consider limiting your outdoor time to the early morning or plan a night time activity.

How to Apply Sunscreen for Kids

The most important of all sun safety tips is sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Make sure you’re getting the most protection out of your kids’ sunscreen with these five tips:

  1. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. 
  2. Opt for whichever type of application your child will agree to, whether it’s lotion, spray, gel or stick. 
  3. Be sure to cover all areas of your child’s skin—not just their face and arms but also their ears, neck, legs and tops of their feet. 
  4. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or more frequently if your child is in and out of water.
  5. Have your child wear a hat to shield their face and loose-fitting shirts to cover their arms and chest. You can even choose clothing with built-in SPF!

Important sun safety tips for infants: For very young babies, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight altogether. Conventional sunscreens contain too many chemicals for babies under 6 months old, so use a sunscreen with zinc oxide as the only active ingredient, and even so, apply sparingly. Rely on clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight full sleeves, to protect your baby from the sun. 

healthy kids meals

How to Stay Hydrated

While you’re out in the heat, be sure to stay hydrated! Nothing beats plain water in terms of hydration for your little ones, and a good rule of thumb is to drink at least 8 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of activity. Keep an eye on the clock during your backyard water games and hit pause for a water break so that everyone stays hydrated together.

Keep Your Cool: Outdoor Water Activities for Kids

If your summer activities for kids don’t include a pool or beach, there’s still plenty of fun to be had while staying cool. Check out these creative ideas for backyard water games for kids of all ages!

Babies & Toddlers

For babies and toddlers, water tables are a must! Find one with an umbrella or position the table underneath shade for extra coverage. If you don’t have a water table, simply filling a bucket with water and a few toys works just as well.

Little Kids

There are endless ways for little kids to have fun with backyard water games, some of which may even get them lending a helping hand with chores. Try out one of these ideas:

  • Sponge fight: What’s a sponge fight? This fun alternative to a water balloon fight is good for smaller kids who might find water balloons a little too intense. 
  • Ice melt treasure hunt: Freeze a small toy in the center of an ice cube, and let your child watch as it melts and reveals its treasure. Some ideas for treasure include coins, small toy cars or plastic bugs. (To avoid choking hazards, this game is best for kids over 3 years old.)
  • Car wash: Have your kids help wash the car with a bucket of water, soap and some sponges. You’ll have fun with your kids while also showing them the importance of contributing to family chores. 
  • Sprinklers: Not all backyard water games require tons of prep. Set out your sprinkler and start the mad dash!

Older Kids

For older kids, make a colorful water balloon piñata that splashes cold water when they hit it with a plastic bat. At the end of the afternoon when they’re ready to come inside, hand out towels chilled in ice water for cooling off. Simply fill a bucket or large bowl with ice water and soak towels or washcloths for an hour or so.

summer activities for kids

Refresh the Right Way: Healthy Summer Drinks & Snacks

It might seem convenient to reach for an ice cream or a cold soda when you need a snack break, but we recommend skipping the sugar overload with your summer activities for kids. Instead, find your family’s favorite healthy alternative in the quick and easy refreshments below!

No-Prep Summer Snacks

The fastest option for a healthy refresher is fresh or frozen fruit. Almost any fruit that your kids enjoy can work, but you’ll get extra mileage by choosing fruits or veggies with high water content:

  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery

Especially when chilled, these refreshing snacks not only taste great but will help replenish your little ones’ hydration levels.

Low-Prep Summer Refreshments

Have a little spare time before your backyard water games kick off? Then try making one of these low-prep summer foods that kids are sure to love:

Need more than snacks to fuel your kids’ summer activities? Nurture Life’s kids meal delivery options are ready in less than 2 minutes and provide healthy alternatives for your active little ones.

Take It Inside: Indoor Activities for Toddlers & Kids

When the day is just too hot for your favorite outdoor activities for kids, why not plan some indoor fun instead? Head to the bowling alley for some friendly competition, or check out a local museum or aquarium for some summertime learning. 

You can even stay home and use those spare afternoon hours to make your kids’ favorite crafts:

  • Friendship bracelets: This classic summer project keeps kids entertained with different color and pattern combinations. 
  • Bike baskets: Get ready for your next family ride by letting your kids decorate their own bike baskets with anything from tissue paper and pipe cleaners to dandelions and leaves.
  • Finger painting: Pull out the finger paints and construction paper and prompt your kids to draw their favorite summer scenes or backyard water games.
  • Cardboard box crafts: Teach your kids about recycling by letting them turn your household waste into an imaginative world of fun.

Summer is a wonderful season to get kids active in the great outdoors. Have fun playing in the sun or, when the weather gets too intense, plan a creative indoor activity. Just make sure to keep sun protection and hydration in mind so that everyone can stay safe and healthy in the summer heat!

healthy kids meals

Katie Headshot

Katie Klepek

As the director of marketing at Nurture Life, Katie gets to combine her passions—family, food and healthy lifestyle choices—with crafting a personalized experience for Nurture Life’s brand. She has over 18 years experience in business, communications, marketing and event planning, having co-founded the successful event production company Reinventing Events. Katie’s diverse background allows her to effectively combine communication and organization skills to develop, plan and deliver results. Born and raised in the Midwest, Katie attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, specializing in English and Communication. When she’s not spreading her cheer (and eating cookies) at Nurture Life, Katie runs marathons and co-hosts a horror movie podcast with her husband. She has a 3-year-old daughter who has grown up on Nurture Life with another girl on the way!

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