4 fun and simple ways to stay cool this summer

Who needs a swimming pool (and all the hassle that goes with it) when a little creativity can give the kids boatloads of wet fun?

Build a water park

Your local hardware store should have everything you need to create your own water park in the backyard.

Use a painters tarp to create a custom slip ‘n slide. Snag some PVC pipe, drill holes into it and set it up to create a water tunnel that kids can run through to get to the next water obstacle.

You can also create a custom shaped sprinkler using the same idea with PVC pipe and drilled holes.

Fight it out

Gather up neighborhood friends and family for an epic water balloon fight. Equip kids with buckets filled with water balloons and set up shields for easy hidden spots for the surprise balloon attacks. Consider making teams and assigning each a particular balloon color to keep track of how many times the opposing team gets hit!

After the oomph to fight leaves, have the kids partner up and toss a leftover water balloon back and forth, taking a step back each time. See who can toss the balloon the farthest without having it break on their partner. Reward the winner with ice cream.

Ice, ice baby

Ice makes the perfect sensory plaything. Freeze a variety of ice shapes, adding drops of food coloring, and let kids build an ice tower on the sidewalk. Freeze small dollar store toys in a shoebox filled with water and let kids go to work hammering out their new finds (tons of fun, but parental supervision is advised).

Create your own version of snow cones by crunching the ice and then making your own snow cone syrup. Mix 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water and 1 (.22 ounce) packet of unsweetened powder drink mix (such as Kool-Aid) in a saucepan, stirring over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Allow to cool. Store in a recycled bottle. Drizzle over your crushed ice and enjoy!

At the car wash

Have the kids set up a bicycle wash in the driveway. Create signs advertising the business and encourage neighbors to “drive up” with their bicycles and trikes to get a custom wash with sponges, water and bubbly soap. You can even create your very own custom car wash by using PVC pipes and hanging sponges from the top with rope or yarn. Then have kids drive through the car wash tunnel, getting wetter and wetter, while they clean their `car.’

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