We live in the south, which means summertime is no joke. Every region has their ideal seasons and everyone has varying opinions on them…I know some people here who LIVE for summertime. Not me!! It gets crazy hot here from June-August and sometimes even into September and October…but it’s not just the heat that makes me uncomfortable, it’s the humidity. I often refer to summertime in the south as living in a ‘bowl of hot soup’ or ‘Satan’s butt hole’ (pardon my crass language) but it just gets really gross outside. Especially after the rain. You would think rain might cool things down…but that’s rarely the case. Often it just makes it harder to breathe when you walk outside.
If I’m not right near a cool body of water, or in close proximity to fans and air conditioning, I will get cranky really quick. Not to mention my stark white skin is a recipe for sunburn and misery.
Long story short, we don’t spend a whole lot of time outdoors when summer is in full swing. Especially when I’m pregnant!!
How do I keep from going insane, you ask?? Here are a few ways I plan to keep my toddler busy if I don’t want to leave the house, as well as a few ideas for the days I feel up to packing him into the car to go somewhere.
Break out the pillows and blankets to make an epic fort!
While this is largely a ‘dad’s job’ in my very pregnant and lazy opinion, I do love a good fort. Who doesn’t? My own dad used to build the most epic blanket forts that would span our entire living room. Sometimes I would create one in my room that would stay up for days! The most unfortunate part of fort building is having to take everything down and put it away or wash it. That right there is why I’m so happy to have found The Air Fort! We received one to test out and it’s been a huge hit! All you need is a box fan and you can have an adventure anywhere! You attach the tent to the fan using velcro and straps (they include sticky bits of velcro to attach to the fan. Mine don’t stick too well but it may just be the fan I got. Either way, it’s an easy fix) I was worried about my son sticking his little fingers in the fan when I wasn’t in there with him but there is a protective netting up between the fan and the rest of the tent, so no worries there!
Leopold is also not a big fan (pun not intended but appreciated) of lots of wind, so I was pleased to find out that it isn’t crazy windy inside the tent. There is a nice breeze though, and you may find me in there some afternoons with a smoothie and some pillows! The whole tent rolls right up into a small bag that makes traveling with your Air Fort super easy!
Speaking of smoothies…make a smoothie together!
We love smoothies around our house and summertime is perfect for getting creative in the kitchen! We usually make smoothies after nap time and eat the out on the porch if it’s not TOO hot. Have your child help you pick out which fruits and veggies to add and let them dump it all in the blender and even push the button! Leopold was a little afraid of the loud blender at first but if I hold him and get him involved he enjoys it a lot more!
We just got this awesome straw bowl from BBox and now I can’t wait to try out a fancy smoothie bowl! Leopold had cereal in it tonight and loved being able to suck the milk up as he ate. It is a lot cleaner too!
So we have discovered another genius product, y'all 😍. @bboxforkids kindly sent us this straw bowl to test out (#gifted) and it's pretty much the only way L will eat cereal or smoothies anymore 😂. It's got handles, a grippy bottom, and a straw that stays in place! It's seriously a HUGE hit over here. • Today's smoothie recipe was: milk, watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, and spinach. I let Leopold add all of the ingredients, too! Dawn from @spectrumspeech had some amazing tips at @mommycon on helping picky eaters, and one of them was letting your kids get involved in preparation vs 'sneaking' healthy stuff into things like smoothies. Leopold was actually excited to add spinach and drank it all up without an issue (as you can see). I also added chia seeds, yogurt, cinnamon and blueberries on top. • What are some of your favorite easy smoothie recipes? Do you let your kids get in on the action??
Give the toys a bath.
Leopold LOVES playing with his animals and since we finally got batteries in his little sink, he has been using it to give his animals showers and baths. Usually while I’m busy cooking dinner. The sink I’m referring to is one he got for Christmas but it’s from Wal-Mart, is 15$ (if you can find it) and honestly a really cool toy! They can turn the water on and off on their own and it goes down the drain and comes back up via a pump (and decent batteries…not the cheap kind).
Any variation of this would be fun and likely give you some time to cook dinner, do the dishes, or lay on the couch and fan yourself if you so please.
Grab a big bowl with some water, some towels, and add whatever toys your child plays with most. You can give them an old toothbrush or a scrub brush and let them go to town! If that gets old or is too simple for your taste, add some shaving cream, sudsy soap, or food coloring to make things interesting. You could even take them outside if you have good shade or it isn’t super hot and give them a dirty dish and then a dish full of clean water and soap. Toddlers love making messes and then cleaning them up!
Practice color sorting.
My son has always been fond of small ‘choking hazards’. Not typically to put in his mouth, but I don’t trust him with them unattended just yet. He loves playing with beads, buttons, rocks, and marbles, so I try to channel that into a fun learning activity when I have the time to sit and play with him. You could modify this activity by using things that aren’t choking hazards of course! I like to try and use bowls or dishes that are the same color to make it a little easier.
Some fun things to sort would be:
Dyed (or different shaped) pasta
Pom Poms you can find in any craft store or Dollar Tree
Buttons (you can have them sort by size or color)
Beads or marbles (or fish bowl pebbles, also easy to find at the Dollar Tree)
Fruit loops or Fruity cheerios
If you feel so inclined, get messy! Let your little ones paint, color, draw, or practice with glue and scissors if they are old enough. If you want a more tidy option, check out one of my first posts about mess free window painting! You can also let them get messy and play with food if you need them distracted while you are busy in the kitchen. Yogurt and food dye is a fun option, but you can really get creative using food!
Let them help you with the chores.
Sure, you probably won’t get a lot done…but toddlers usually love helping out around the house! Give them a spray bottle with water and a rag and have them clean up after meals, or let them help you pull clothes out of the washer/dryer. Leopold usually helps put all of his dishes away (we keep them in a small three tiered Ikea cart so he is able to help).
Create something unique on the floor using tape.
Washi tape, painters tape, masking tape, any of those will do! You can make a maze for them to walk through, hop scotch, or even a track for their cars.
If we dare to leave the house:
There are still a few places I’ll venture to even when it’s 104 degrees and the humidity is high…sometimes you just have to get out to protect your sanity!
Hang with your mommy group at your house or theirs!
Sometimes you just need to be around people who get it. If you haven’t found a mom friend network, get on it! It can be hard but it’s so worth it. You can have people around to your house (bonus: that gets me to clean better than I do for my own family) or arrange for someone else to host. Let your kids play with their friends (and their friend’s toys) while the moms sit and chat and sip cool drinks!
Hit up your local library.
Most libraries hold toddler story times at least once a week. It’s a good way to get out and burn through some energy and even meet some other people with kids the same age! Even if there is no story time, you can’t go wrong with looking through books, doing puzzles, and playing quietly in the kids section. It’s a great option for hot summer days! Check out your library’s summer reading programs too! They may have some fun incentives and challenges to keep your kid reading all summer.
Get snow cones!
We have a snow cone place really close to our house with really yummy treats at reasonable prices. They even have sugar free flavors and flavors that are clear to protect those cute summer clothes. The one near our house has a shaded patio, swings, hula hoops, and chalk!
We have a local pool that is also indoors, and we are super lucky to have a good friend with a pool who lives nearby. I intend on using both as often as I can! If you don’t have access to a pool, grab a cheap baby pool and set it up near your garage. I like to do this in the morning while there is still some shade, and I sit in my lawn chair with a fan blowing while Leopold plays. We usually finish off with popsicles!
I just scored a $6 pop up tent at Aldi as well as a fun gopher whacking water toy that we plan on setting up after nap today!
Find out what’s around you and when it’s accessible.
We have a lot of fun things to do near where I live, it’s just a matter of finding these places, and sometimes paying for it.
There are play gyms for little kids (gymnastics places often have ‘toddler time’ once or twice a week too for a small fee), trampoline parks, and bounce house places too! Our local museum has a free toddler room that’s fun to visit, and of course there is always the mall play area.
If your child is old enough, enroll them in ‘summer camps’, indoor sports, or go VBS hopping all summer if that suits you! I can’t wait until Leopold is old enough to enjoy some of these “3 years and up” activities!