Not everyone can afford a cottage or backyard pool to help themselves chill out on summer's hottest days. Here are 5 fun and inexpensive ways for you and your children to beat the summer heat with water play that doesn't require owning a swimming pool:
• Throw a car wash party: Depending on the age of participants, this might involve full-size vehicles or scaled-down toy cars and trucks. Heck, if you're up to the challenge, why not invite your neighbours or charge passers-by? Older youths might earn a bit of change, and you'll end up with a sparkling ride. Don't forget the tunes!
• Set up a water table: All you need is a plastic tub or basin filled with water to inspire young imaginations. The addition of toys and accessories can turn your setup into a gourmet kitchen, laundromat, doll beach, construction zone or deep-sea adventure. Try placing a rain gutter, tube or pipe between two basins set at different heights for a fun lesson in gravity and fluid mechanics.
• Host a "Splash Olympics": Whether it's a test of finesse in a water balloon toss or a no-holds-barred water balloon fight or water war with buckets and hoses, participants of all ages can get involved in outdoor water games. Suggestions for fun competition ideas can be found online by the dozen, but some include water balloon baseball or dodgeball, a wet sponge toss, water relays involving transferring water to a bucket with smaller cups, kiddie pool "fishing," or bobbing for apples. Other ideas include freezing small toys in blocks of ice to see who can "excavate" them first or creating a slippery tarp wit ha bit of dish soap water. . Don't forget to provide plenty of water to drink, especially if everyone is running around on a hot day.
• Bring out "Ye Olde Sprinkler": Running through a sprinkler set up in the yard is a time-honoured tradition for many youngsters. If you don't have one, you can fashion one from a water bottle that's been punched with holes and taped securely to the end of a hose. If you're handy, kick it up a notch by fashioning a sprinkler frame made from PVC pipes for kids to run under.
• Outsource the water: Check into what local facilities are available for helping you and the kids to cool down. There may be a public beach nearby, river float opportunities, a local pool with family swim times at minimal cost, or community splash pads where you can get a fun dousing for free.
Click here or here for some "less wet" suggestions for keeping children occupied and having fun all summer long.