Even in the cooler parts of the country, warm weather has finally arrived. In many states, however, temperatures have already turned oppressively hot. Sunny 90 degree weather with humidity isn’t fun to hang around in, and both you and your kids might end up hiding indoors where the air conditioner can keep things nice and cool.
Inactivity is not the way most of us plan on spending our summers, and kids need to move and play to maintain their health and development. A lack of physical activity can interfere with their mood, and lead to sleep disturbances and sluggishness. Once that happens, it can be difficult to get them off the couch and playing again, even when the weather is nice. Fortunately, there are a few ways that parents can create a fun active play environment despite the uncomfortable weather.
Not only is too much sun uncomfortable, exercising and playing in it can result in heat stroke if parents aren’t careful. The most important way to protect against this is to always keep your kids hydrated. Supervising parents should bring plenty of water, and call frequent water breaks. While kids, being smaller and having a more favorable surface area to mass ratio, can shed heat more easily than their parents, they’ll also get dehydrated very easily.
Introduce plenty of shade
Your backyard play area should provide plenty of available shade to your kids. Shade trees are ideal, since plants also slightly cool the air around them through transpiration. A swing mounted directly on a tree is the perfect place to play on a hot day. If your back yard has large trees, it’s a good idea to situate your kids’ swing set and play area where they or your house can prevent the full sun from beating down on them. If you don’t have any suitable trees, you can, instead, add a sun shade to your swing set.
Introduce water play
Summer play doesn’t have to look the same as your play routine in cooler weather. Don’t hesitate to break out the inflatable pool, water balloons, water pistols, and slip and slide. Cool water will go a long way toward keeping your kids comfortable, and keep them motivate to play outside and be active. It’s important, however, to be vigilant in supervising kids playing with water. Pools can be dangerous to small children without sufficient supervision, and other water games can create slippery surfaces that may lead to painful falls and scrapes.
By taking the time to adapt your kids’ play environment to the current climate, you can keep your kids active all summer long. More importantly, you can use the hot weather to motivate even more play activity, because it broadens the scope of play activities your little ones an engage in.