Since it’s about to hit record breaking heat this week- (supposedly tomorrow? What is going on here?!?!) I thought I’d write a post about some of the things we do to survive the triple digits!Any Phoenix native knows that the two keys to surviving summer are air conditioning and swimming pools… (or if you’re REALLY lucky then the one key is getting out of town for three months!) There are so many great public pools and splash pads and tons of air conditioned activities around (We are big fans of the Children’s Museum and the super saver cinema!) it is hard to get to those places more than once a week right now because most of the time my husband is the one who has the car. So we’ve learned to make do at home. And while we don’t have a pool (aside from the kiddie pool my son got for his birthday- thanks Nonna!) we are very thankful for a strong, working air conditioning unit. So here are the other things keeping us sane around the house while we wait for our upcoming vacation time when we escape the heat for a few days!
*EAT COOL FOODS: We try to eat a lot of yogurt or salads or smoothies for meals in the summer. For snacks we love fruit or hummus and veggies. If we have to have something hot we try to cook it in the crockpot or possibly on the grill if my husband can stand the heat (usually after the sun goes down!) Sometimes, though, cool doesn’t just mean temperature. Sometimes you need something fun to jazz up an impossibly hot day and these Dino-Pops are the COOLEST. They are a must for my dinosaur loving toddler, but even most of the adults I know wanted one once they saw it- my favorite part? The stick is a “fossil” of the dinosaur bones that correspond to each of the popsicle molds! If dinosaurs aren’t your thing they also come in fun shapes like robots and penguins. And you don’t have to leave the frozen treats for just the kids. Boozy popsicles seem to be all the rage right now and there are several recipes I want to check out!
*HYDRATE: I don’t go anywhere these days without my Hydroflask. Whereas hydration is always important, it is doubly so when temperatures rise and it is triply so when you are a nursing or pregnant mama. I’m picky about my water and I hate the idea of throwing away a ton of plastic waterbottles or tasting that plastic grossness if I forget a bottle in the car on a hot day, so a reusable waterbottle is a must and I love that I have one that keeps my water cold. I also use it around the house to keep track of how much water I’m drinking each day, but also because the cap deters my toddler from drinking my water instead of his own (why is everything better out of someone else’s cup or bottle? or when it is on someone else’s plate? How does that toddler logic get started?!) Whatever you use to hydrate, just keep chugging that water!
*ALL THE WATER PLAY: In the mornings before things really heat up, I try to get us all outside, but even by 9am it is pretty freaking hot so the pool, the sprinklers, or the water table is our go to activity. We sometimes move the water-play indoors with cold water bath time, or even simplifying things even more and just letting my toddler splash around in the sink because he’s obsessed with washing his hands (I’m going to thank/blame Elmo’s Potty Time for that one…) And in the kitchen we sometimes play with toys that have been frozen in ice- just be careful if you have a destructo toddler like mine- I tried to give him tools to help “excavate” a dinosaur from the ice and we definitely ended up with a few new chips on our dining table… not doing that again! Now he just has fun finding different ways to help the ice melt! You can also “paint” with ice water on construction paper which is a super easy activity… all you have to do is fill a small cup or bowl with a bit of water (we prefer cold water because AZ heat…), give your kid a SMALL paintbrush (large ones will hold too much water and make the paper mushy and start to come apart), and let them go to town with different patterns and splatters on the paper! The paper will dry again but we usually don’t get more than one use out of each piece. Still, super cheap and easy entertainment! Which brings me to my next survival method…
*INDOOR CRAFTS WITH VERY LITTLE CLEAN UP: Let me start by saying, I am not afraid to get messy with my toddler. We’ve done lots of craft involving paint clean up and glue, and vacuuming up feathers or glitter… but when it is so hot that even your air conditioner is having trouble picking up, the last thing I want to do is spend my energy cleaning up extra when just the day to day living with two kids makes enough work! Sorry if that makes me a lazy mom, it also makes me a much happier mom during this phase. PLUS, I’m usually wearing the baby during these crafting sessions so I don’t like the temptation of our little girl becoming a piece of abstract art courtesy of her brother’s gluing and coloring skills. So what are examples of these low maintenance crafts? Here are some of our favorites:
~Stickers– there is nothing easier than getting out some paper and a ton of stickers and letting my toddler go wild. We are past the phase where stickers end up everywhere so I can reliably guess that the stickers will stay on the paper or on his clothes. So simple. So much joy. A great distraction while I need to nurse or change the baby.
~Any magic marker book preferably a book that relates to your child’s interests. My son got a Paw Patrol color wonder pack for his birthday and that is the current favorite because they are markers that won’t get anywhere but he can still pick which colors go where, unlike the magic ink books where you color and the pre-selected picture appears. He loves both, but he is particularly into imagining what the colors will look like and pointing out where he drew with which colors. These are a little more expensive than the regular magic marker books but have also seemed to capture his attention longer.
~Make your own Mural on Contact Paper: you can get contact paper at the dollar store. Simply tape it up to your wall sticky side out, peel back the covering to reveal the sticky part, and then let your kid go wild sticking things “on the wall”- I use pre-cut shapes because that is what we are reviewing right now, but we have also just given my son pieces of paper to tear up in different sizes before and that seems to be just as much fun. You can add in other fun sensory items too like puffy balls or googly eyes which I sometimes pick up at the dollar store as well. You can even grab random lightweight household items like cupcake liners- my son loves the really shiny kind. The key is not to put out too much at once so that EVERYTHING ends up on the contact paper instead of some pieces scattered all over the floor. That way, when you’re done simply take the whole thing down and into the trash it goes as one single piece.
~”Sewing”- lacing cards are so easy and keep my son’s attention for longer than I would have guessed while also developing his fine motor skills. We currently own a Mickey Mouse themed set, but I think we are going to look into some alphabet ones in the future. I think my son particularly likes this because I refer to it as sewing and he’s loved watching me sew and create things for over a year. This is also a fantastic activity to distract toddlers while nursing newborns… I only mention this again because when my daughter first got here and we were nursing all the time my son very quickly figured out that was when he could get into a lot of trouble because I had the greatest lag time in chasing after him… now I just run around with my baby still latched to me… poor girl…
*DON’T FORGET SUNSCREEN! I feel like even going outside for ten minutes to tend my garden can get me burned during these hot days of summer. I love sunscreens that won’t break out my face or feel super oily. I have been using this Neutrogena sunscreen for my face for a while but I’d love to hear if you have a favorite affordable more natural brand that won’t make my face feel greasy! Babyganics is my favorite brand for the kids! (pro-tip at the time I’m writing this there’s a great coupon available on amazon for them at the moment- we are stocking up! Not sure how long the coupon lasts but hopefully it will still be up by the time you click the link 🙂 ) I found Babyganics through The Baby Guy (if you are a parent of a baby or toddler and you aren’t following him you are missing out) and one of his boxes last year and it is so great to know that the products are natural and non-allergenci, especially because my son has some eczema problems and sensitive skin.
*PS- IF YOU DO HAVE A POOL then I would totally invest in one really fun piece to jazz up your pool time or add to your relaxation. Last year we got my donut obsessed brother one of THESE, but I’d probably pick something more along the lines of THIS!
PPS- anything I missed? We have a long month of very hot weather before we escape to California for a few days! (Fingers crossed we can escape up north in the meantime!)