In my Southern Californian town, the summer starts in June and sometimes doesn’t end until early October. Saying our summers are hot is an understatement. It gets over 100 degrees for days at a time. Since we don’t have a pool, we have several options for to keep our family cool. We can go swimming at grandma and grandpas, drive 50 minutes to the beach, stay inside or go to the mall. This keeps my family busy for some of the summer. However, sometimes we just want to hang out at home in our own backyard oasis. In order to keep my children occupied and cool, we have created a kid-friendly backyard for the summer.
A Whole Lotta Water
We don’t have an in-ground pool. However, we always have an inflatable or a plastic pool for the kids to have fun in. In the past, we had a deeper inflatable pool that the kids could even swim in. You can get a pretty good sized inflatable pool for less than $100. Slip n’ slides, sprinkler toys and a water table give my kids plenty of fun water activities on hot days. We also have a misting system to keep things cool.
Every few summers, I purchase a new bubble machine for about $10. I have to get a new one because our bubble machines often wear out from overuse. Along with a bubble machine, we have several bubble wands. This year, I bought a giant bottle of scented bubbles that should last us all summer.
Splash balls are a fun way to play a game of catch. Other fun summer games include sponge tag and lawn croquet. You can also give children an ice cube on a large spoon do an ice cube relay. The object is to make it from one side of the yard to the other without the ice cube falling off the spoon.
We are lucky enough to have a California roof that extends over our entire patio. For the latter half of the afternoon, our backyard is shaded. Since we have turf, the backyard can get pretty hot. In the past, we have put up an easy-up tent to shade our backyard in the morning. This prevents the kids from getting burned and over-heated.
Staying hydrated is important in the summer. I wrote about some tips to get kids to drink more water in the summer. One idea is to keep a water dispenser with lemons and orange slices in the backyard. Along with providing children with water, it’s also important to have some cool treats on hand. An inexpensive slushy machine is fun for kids (I still remember using my Snoopy ice crusher machine from when I was a child). Finally, you can make your own popsicles with 100% fruit juice or yogurt blended with fruit.
With these tips, a summer backyard oasis is just a few steps away.
More from Melissa:
10 “Mom-Tested” Summer Activities for Kids
10 Fun Kids’ Games that Don’t Require Any Equipment
Kids’ Activities for National Watermelon Day