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An Old-Fashioned Summer

I have many fond memories of the hot, lazy days of summer. When air conditioning was rarely in every room, we would go to the “air-cooled” movie theatre for relief from the heat. I recall a fan blowing air over a block of ice at my grandmother’s. She would take me to the park to play in the sprinkler or get a snow cone. At home, we cooled off walking barefoot in the puddles after a shower. We made popsicles and lemonade and had them almost every day. Did you know that a piece of ice can cool your whole body? Just place it on your pulse and the cool travels through your system!

Summer warmth and heat means it’s time to play outside and water provides the perfect beginning to all kinds of adventures. Your children will have fun and find ways to cool off with water beyond the traditional wading pool or sprinkler.

Give a few of the following ideas a try, and along the way, no doubt you’ll think of many more. None of them require an elaborate preparation or very special equipment.

In the Yard

  • Add some water to the sandbox with a drip hose or watering can. Children can build castles, ponds, or construction sites. With a few small molds, they can create designs and roads.
  • Children can be in charge of watering plants outside. For young children, a small watering can is easy to manage – show them how to fill it at the outdoor faucet. This conserves water because a child with a hose will be likely to “over-water” everything!
  • Attach a water-saving sprinkler or shower nozzle to a hose when the children have on their swimming suits.
  • Painting with water is fun! Use a two-inch or larger brush and small bucket. Have the children “paint” the porch, rocks, a wall, or flower pots.
  • A drop of biodegradable soap, a sponge, and a bucket of water provide an opportunity to clean the scooter, bike, porch steps, or chairs.
  • If you are able to give up a corner of your garden, help the children make mud pies. Wet the soil generously, mix and fill small tins or lids, decorate with pebbles and sticks, then set in the sun to dry. Obviously this is for parents who don’t mind some messy children, but you can always hose them off afterwards! You can also use dirt dug from the yard and mixed with water in an old