In 100+ degree heat, it's too hot even for the pool. Long summer days require creative thinking to keep young children having a good time while staying active. The following ideas require a little planning ahead to gather supplies, but most of these materials are readily available in homes with young children.
Set up an art center
The best place for this is the kitchen, dining area, or laundry room.
Paints. Use a small kids table, or cover a large table with newspaper. Lay out finger paints, water colors, and washable paints and let your little artists show off their stuff. Be sure to provide several different styles of brushes so they can experiment with the kinds of designs they can make with various brush strokes.
Clay and play dough. Homemade play dough is the best, and it keeps well in zipper storage bags. Great tools to use with both modeling clay and play dough include plastic utensils, mini muffin tins, and cookie cutters.
Don't forget the art show! Proudly display finished artwork. Attach paintings to a string or twine with clothespins (like a laundry line), or with magnets on cookie sheets. Set clay creatures and play dough creations on a shelf for your family's own show and tell.
Use the bathtub as a mini aquatic area
Make it fun! Fill the bathtub fuller than you normally would. Add some bubble bath and water-safe toys and let the kiddos have an extra long time in the tub.
Blow bubbles with bubble solution for them to "catch" and pop. (When you're stuck in the house, the bathtub is the perfect place for this.)
Parents, don't over sweat the splashing. Use a large towel to wipe up any water, and your bath floor will be clean! Another household job you can cross off your list.
Let your children into the kitchen
Kid-friendly recipes. These cool recipes will help you beat in no time!
Bring on the games
Keep a few child-appropriate games for a day when being in the house is a must. More games are available today than ever before, but don't forget the classics.
Set up your own bowling game by stacking plastic cups in a pyramid and rolling a small ball down a hallway to knock 'em down.
Create an indoor treasure hunt.
Play dress up — no fancy clothes required
Sure, it's fun to have a fireman's hat and a princess dress around, but kids get a kick out of dressing up in mommy and daddy's clothes.
Don't choose your Sunday best, or your business suit, but let kids have fun with your everyday clothes.
Mix it up! Toss a bunch of shirts, pants, and dresses in a big box.
Don't forget the accessories: belts, shoes, and (cheap) jewelry.