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3 Creative Ways To Keep Your Toddler Cool And Entertained

JD doesn’t mind the heat. Me? When it’s pushing 90 degrees like it was yesterday and today, I like a cold pool, the AC pumping and a frosty glass of lemonade (maybe spiked with vodka). Those tips worked when I was single. Now, I'm a single mom and my toddler prefers to play outside and by that I mean, run around at warp speed, not stopping to let me pat the sweat off his face. (Read Sun Safety Vocabulary.) Not only does this wear me out—it’s not exactly safe to exert tons of energy in oppressive heat. Well, I found some creative ways to keep JD cool and most importantly, entertained while we play outside.

Water Table With A Twist: I fill JD’s table with cold water, bubble bath and...tons of ice cubes. Next, I bring on the Matchbox cars. I position the table in a shaded area (or sometimes, on our balcony) and we play “car wash” for at least an hour (and killing an hour on a long, hot summer day is a huge success). “Beep-beep-zoom-broom!” is music to my ears.

Spray Bottle Freeze Tag: Get your cardio on and wear your tot out for an afternoon snooze with a morning game of wet ‘n wild freeze tag. You need two spray bottles (Target sells them in the dollar section!) Fill them with cold water (I always keep them filled and stored in the fridge) and find a nice grassy area to run around (we live in a condo complex with a beautiful, enclosed courtyard.) The rules of the game are like good ‘ole freeze tag you used to play in gym class, except when you get sprayed with refreshing, cold water you freeze (and, ahhhhh, feel the freeze.) We first tried this game with water guns, but JD’s little fingers really couldn’t manage the trigger (HELLO, frustrating!). A spray bottle as you know, has a big, easy to manage lever—perfect size for a little palm.

Water Paint: We have a lovely pool at our condo with a big pool deck. In between dips JD likes to paint. Paint!? Yes, I said paint and nope, he doesn’t make a mess. I fill a sand bucket with pool water and give him lots of paint brushes and colorful kitchen sponges. He loves to paint circles, cars, buggies—you name it on the concrete patio and then like, MAGIC, watch the warm sun make it, POOF—disappear! (Drive this game home and make it special but absolutely saying, “Look—Poof—Magic! Now do it again…!” Not only does this keep JD cool, comfortable and busy, but he’s learning the whole time. We count the paint brushes, identify the colors of the sponges, draw shapes, letters and numbers. It’s fun! Trust me! Try it! Of course when JD is on the pool deck he sports a super cool life vest for safety.

OK, readers, I want your out-of-the-box, outside tips for keeping your toddlers cool. JD and I are ready to test them out too. Please share!