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Summer is a great time for children. School is out for most of them and it’s time to play. Running, climbing, building sand castles, swimming…

Sweating, sunburns, complaining.

It is definitely not easy to keep the kids busy all summer long, especially on really hot days, the days when the kids come into the house five minutes after you send them out, complaining “it’s too hot outside!” What can you do to keep them busy, short of turning the AC on full blast, driving up your electrical bill and letting them watch television or play video games all day? Sound Familiar?

First of all, have some cheap, cool treats on hand. Otter Pops or homemade popsicles don’t cost much, and you just have to enforce the rule that they are eaten outside to limit the mess. These may only keep the kids out for a short time or they might find something fun to do outside.

Try getting the kids outside to play in the earlier and later parts of the day, when it’s cooler outside. Then you won’t feel so bad if they’re watching television in the hottest part of the day. Try to keep television watching/video game playing under two hours a day total.

Have fun things ready for them to do indoors. Board games work very well, depending on the ages of your kids. My teenaged autistic son loves doing “projects,” that are, arts and crafts, playing his piano, and overall doing things with his hands. He has a box of supplies he can use anytime and if he runs out of ideas, then we can always scour the internet.

Many parents choose to enroll their kids in activities for the summer, but sometimes they are costly and/or a waste of time, especially if it is not the “right” summer activity for your child. It is one thing to spend the money for an activity that is natural to their personality vs a summer activity to just “keep them busy”. If you do decide to go this route, just make sure that it is a summer camp or class that they will genuinely be interested in, learn from their experiences and maybe apply it in future endeavors.

Of course, just because the kids are complaining that it’s too hot outside doesn’t mean you have to give in and let them play inside. If you have a yard, get those kids into swimsuits and sunscreen (if they aren’t wearing it already) and turn on those sprinklers. You know you loved running through the sprinkler as a kid. You don’t even need to buy the ones designed for kids to play with, jut make sure yours is fairly kid friendly – low to the ground, no sharp edges and so forth.

man standing beside his wife teaching their child how to ride bicycle
Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna on

Ride bicycles, go hiking, get some of their friends to come over to play one sort of tag or another, all the stuff you enjoyed as a kid. In many cases it isn’t that it’s too hot to play outside, it’s that your kids are bored. So get them out, keep them busy and overall have an awesome summer!

By Mom Advocate