The great British summer is finally here and it looks like it’s sticking around for a while (for a change). As much as I’m loving the sun, it makes parenting a toddler a bit more challenging. Not only is Ollie waking up a lot earlier than normal – 4.30am yesterday argh! – but he’s also a bit more grumpy and has a lot less energy than normal. It doesn’t help that the sun shines directly into our living room in the afternoon and it basically becomes a sauna. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking of ways we can cool down and have fun without spending any money.
Here are my favourite ways to keep kids cool this summer:
Last week we found a new way to keep kids cool and get creative at the same time. I filled our ice cube tray with some washable finger paint then popped it in the freezer for half an hour. When it was a bit more solid, I stuck some lollipop sticks in for handles and stuck it back in the freezer for a couple of hours. I taped some paper down in Ollie’s Tuff Tray so it was easy to paint on, then added the frozen paints. It was so hot it only took a few minutes before they started melting and the paint started flowing. As soon as Ollie realised it was cold he kept painting it onto his hands then pressing them down on the paper. It’s a good sensory experience but also a great way to learn about colour mixing. Ollie really enjoyed mixing the paints together and seeing what new colours they made. Even his big bro put his football down and came over to join in!
Frozen Sensory Bags
Sensory bags are great for children of all ages. Ollie’s been playing with them since he was a baby and he’s still loving them at 2 1/2 years old. To help him cool down this week and add another sensory element, I stuck them in the freezer for half an hour. I taped them to our patio doors and let Ollie investigate. I made him a glittery sensory bag with sparkly stars, and another using flowers from our garden set in hair gel.
I love water play because it’s so simple but entertains kids for hours and doesn’t cost a penny. We don’t have a paddling pool and I’m reluctant to buy one as our garden is so small and you never know how long summer is really going to last in the UK. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy water play! Ollie has a fab water table at my Mum’s that he’s enjoyed for the past 3 summers and is still going strong. At home I just used 2 big plastic boxes from the shed full of water. I added some plastic cups, Ollie’s tea set and
If you want more of a sensory activity you could add flowers or things you pick up on a walk, ice or even food colouring.
Freeze some plastic toys, flowers or even just glitter in water. Set them out in a tuff tray or tub with some ‘tools’ and let your child dig them out. Ollie has a little tool kit which is perfect for this as it has a hammer and screwdriver, but you could just as easily use spoons or even a small rolling pin.
Painting With Water
’Painting’ with water keeps kids entertained for ages. Just grab a big bowl or bucket, fill it with water, hand them a brush and let them ‘paint’ the fence, wall or patio.
Ice Cube Transfer
Super simple, just make some ice cubes, and add food colouring or glitter if you like. Then pop them in a big tub of water and provide some big spoons, scoops or plastic cups for your child to scoop and transfer. Great for working on motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination.
Our IKEA lolly moulds are possibly one of the best things I’ve ever bought;. They only cost £2 and are still going strong 4 years later. Not only do they save me money by not giving into the calls of the ice cream van, but I know exactly what’s going in to them. Ollie loves getting involved with the making and it’s a good way to sneak a bit of extra fruit into him. Normally he won’t touch blueberries, but when they’re frozen in a lolly he can’t get enough!