School’s out and summertime – which officially starts next week – is heating up. The kids are reveling in summertime fun, splashing in pools, cutting loose at and delighting in family adventures. Meanwhile, you’re searching for ways to keep them entertained, fill their downtime, and probably noticed that summer fun means a bit more mess in the house. Here are some of our favorite tips for enjoying the dog days of summer (and keeping dirt at bay).
The more time that you can spend outside the house means that means is more likely to stay outside. So here are some ways to keep the fun (and the mess) outdoors.
Water it Down
Skip the water park crowds and transform your backyard into your very own water playground. If you have enough space in the yard, inflatable pools are a game changer to every kid (and hold up surprisingly well these days). Don’t have space for a full pool? Check out these inflatable water slides and toys instead – some are actually better for smaller kiddos who are still learning to swim. And never underestimate the sheer joy that a simple hose and sprinkler can provide to kiddos during the dog days of summer. To decrease in-house drippage, keep a basket of towels just outside the door.
Skip sodas and make batches of fresh juice. Some of our favorite cooling indulgences are watermelon aqua fresca, strawberry lemonade with fresh basil, and – of course – a classic, refreshing lemonade. And then there’s Will Frolic for Food’s ultra-hydrating Watermelon Coconut Aloe Juice that is just about the best thing you can put into your body during the summer (except for plentiful H20, of course).
When it comes to snack time, look to the sweet bounty of summer’s seasonal produce. A perfect blend of simple, healthy and fresh, summer melons, berries, squash, tomatoes, and sweet corn are the staples of summer meals. Bonus, often you can whip up a fantastic snack with little to no time behind the stove. Need some sweet and savory inspiration? Camille Styles, one of our favorite lifestyle gurus, shows us the delicious diversity of hydrating watermelon hydrating watermelon. Or grill up one of Bon Appetit’s must-eat summer recipes (that tomato pie is calling our name…).
Skip processed frozen treats this summer and opt for healthier, homemade popsicles. Have the kids help you to make their favorites and when it comes time to snack, you can feel better knowing they won’t go into sugar shock.
Photo: Camille Styles
Make a summer bucket list of family-friendly outings. Take a painting class. Check out a new library program. See a new museum exhibit. Have a picnic at a local park. Catch an IMAX movie. Take a trip to a nearby farm or zoo. Grab an Instagram-worthy ice cream cone from a local creamery. It can be kind of fun being a tourist in your own city and gives the whole family together time outside of the house. Backyard adventures include treasure hunts in the garage, a garden party, or pitching a tent for a backyard campout.
Then, there’s the obligatory summer road trip. Packing up the car, hitting the road and heading to a lakefront campground (or boutique hotel for the less outdoorsy) is a quintessential summer pastime. Make a killer playlist, pack a picnic basket (and activity kits for any kiddos) for the car, and hit the road on your next adventure.
Summer is the perfect time to use longer days to steal back a bit of time for yourself. Whether you’re using a book club recommendation, the NY Times summer reading list or asking a local bookstore for recommendations, there’s a whole world of wonder at your fingertips. Go old-fashioned with the simple pleasure of reading. Shut off social media, slow down and savor an escape into another story for a bit.
With all the time spent outdoors, you’re likely going to be cleaning more than the winter months. Summer fun brings not-so-fun messes like grass stains, tracked dirt, wet towels, dirty grilling tools on a seemingly daily basis. But don’t like mess ruin the breezy summer days – this is totally manageable. Create a standing summer chore list gets the house in a habitual routine while school is out. Easy tasks to get the kids to do are cleaning up bedrooms, organizing legos and toys, tiding laundry. Make outdoor chores like washing cars, toys, bikes or letting them pull weeds as they search for earthworms. When it comes time to clean, Sofia’s Soy Cleaner easily wipes up dirt and mud from all surfaces. Break out the hydrogen peroxide to whiten earth-sodden laundry and easily wipe up tracked in dirt and mud.