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With temperatures in the 90s almost every single day this last month (and some over 100!), we're doing our best to just keep from melting the second we step outside! The heat is no joke, and has seriously been messing with our normal 'outside-all-day' toddler entertainment strategy, but this very pregnant mama and tornado toddler just can't last in the sweltering temperatures. As H gets older and his days as an only child are dwindling, I'm trying to spend more quality time together with him one on one. Once the Hubs gets home from work, we try to do as much together as a family as we can to create fun summer memories and wear H out before bed. Thanks to a lot of trial and error and suggestions from other outdoor loving toddler moms, we have come up with a few easy and inexpensive ways to beat the summer heat while spending time better together, so you can cool off without emptying your wallet!
- Drink water! This is the most important for us, as keeping hydrated will help keep your body temperature down, and make sure you don't get overheated.
- Refrigerate sunscreen and lotion! Because there's nothing that feels better than the refreshing chill of a cooled down lotion, and sunscreen is an obvious necessity for these hot and sunny days. A little tip - there is a very large vein that runs right by the surface of the skin on your wrists, I like to first apply the refrigerated lotion there. It might be a placebo affect, but I could swear that it helps lower my body temperature for longer when I apply it to the insides of my wrists!
- Indulge in Blue Bunny® Ice Cream for lunch! Because sometimes, you just need a cold, sweet treat, lunch time is the hottest time of the day, and Blue Bunny® ice cream is worth the splurge. H is currently obsessed with ice cream (thanks to his wonderful Uncle who spoils him rotten), so we grab our favorite pairing of Blue Bunny® and yummy Smucker's toppings, head outside, and enjoy how the duo's sweet treat cools our bellies. It sure doesn't hurt that H's face lights up when I bring out the Blue Bunny Bunny Tracks®, and let him pour on his own Microwaveable Hot Fudge Topping and Sundae Syrup™ Caramel Flavored Syrup. Our time out in the heat is definitely spent better together when we're both enjoying our Blue Bunny and Smucker's combos! [Find both the Smucker's toppings and Blue Bunny Ice Cream at your local Walmart store]
- Get in the pool! No in ground pool here - we just have one of those inexpensive inflatable $10 pools, but its the perfect size for H and I (and my belly) to sit and splash in. As the day gets hotter, I dump a bowl or two full of ice into the pool, we grab our Blue Bunny Bunny Tracks® ice cream with caramel and fudge Smucker's toppings, and sit our bottoms in the pool while we eat. It's the perfect way to cool off together, and definitely feels like the quintessential summer kick off activity. Plus, what community pool lifeguard would let you eat the creamy deliciousness of Blue Bunny's Bunny Track's vanilla ice cream with "caramel and fudge swirls, chocolaty covered peanuts, and peanut butter filled chocolaty bunnies" smothered in the extra yumminess of Smucker's caramel and hot fudge? Another benefit of our own backyard kiddie pool!
- Eat cold foods. Another probably obvious one, but along with our sweet Blue Bunny ice cream treat, I always keep frozen blueberries and frozen grapes as quick and easy snacks that my toddler loves to munch on. Other chilly foods we keep on hand to beat the heat: cold cucumber slices, whatever frozen fruit in the frozen isle at the grocery store strikes our fancy, pineapple, popsicles, ice cubes, and smoothies. As an added bonus, the water content in the fruit and veggies also helps keep us hydrated in an extra yummy way.
- Wear loose fitting, light clothing. I know this probably seems super obvious, but breathable materials like cotton and the light color will deflect heat and help keep you extra breezy and comfortable.
- Freeze your pillow! Don't knock it before you try it! I cover our pillows with a plastic bag, and stick them in the freezer for about an hour, hour and a half. When it's nap time or bedtime, we pull them out and "aaahhhhhhh", instant relief! The back of your neck and forehead are two of your body's pressure points, and by sleeping on a chilly pillow, you instantly cool down your body temperature. When we're outside, I put the cold pillow on a chair and lean against it and it feels so good against my hot and achy back and hips, and H breaks out into giggles when he sits on his.
- Water balloons! Another quintessential must do activity with kids, water balloons are a huge hit in our house. We throw them at each other, at the house, at the sidewalk, and everything in between, but H's favorite way to use the water balloons is to play water balloon baseball. It's as simple as it sounds - give your kiddo a bat, toss a water balloon their way, and see if they can hit it! It's a win / win either way, as if they hit it, they'll get splashed, and if they miss, they'll still get splashed!
- Paint with ice cubes outside. SO easy and SO fun for toddlers! Mix kool-aid or food coloring with water, and pour into ice trays. Insert popsicle sticks if you want to give them a handle, but make sure to cover the ice tray with plastic wrap to help your popsicle sticks stand up and stay put! Let them freeze overnight, and then unleash your kid(s) inner artist. Sometimes we use paper, and other times I just let H use them on the fence or sidewalk, but his favorite is to paint himself, especially his belly.
- Play a game of "break the ice"! I will fill random tupperware containers with 2 to 4 inches of water, add small toys like dinosaurs or cars, and freeze them overnight. The result is a block of ice that allows H to channel his inner paleontologist and discover awesome new goodies. A fun summer day party idea would be to make several ice blocks with toys in them, and make groups race to see who can free their toys the fastest, but right now at 2.5 years old, H likes the process of chipping away at the ice block the most.
Enjoying Smucker's toppings with Blue Bunny ice cream is probably my personal favorite way to beat the rising temperatures, and I love that its a special thing for H and I to do together as mother and son. You don't need to spend a lot of time or money to kick off summer and have some "cool" fun with your kids, they'll remember the time you all spent together, having fun and enjoying each other's company. As an added bonus, right now you can earn cash back on Smucker's Ice Cream Toppings with the free Ibotta app! Like Smucker's and Blue Bunny, sweet summer treats and quality time with my favorite little toddler are just better together!
What are some ways you and your family spend your time better together, keeping cool during the summer heat?