As summer temperatures start to soar, your kids may find themselves migrating indoors to enjoy air conditioning. Does summer fun have to stop simply because it’s getting hot? No! You can enjoy outdoor fun even in hot temperatures, if you are aware of the following heat safety tips:
Keep Fun-in-the-Sun Age Appropriate
Before heading outside to enjoy some summer fun, take your child’s age into consideration. For children under age 4, heat exhaustion is a very real risk. Small children should not be outside in the heat for more than an hour, and should take a break in the shade every 30 minutes. Young children should drink 8 ounces of water about 45 minutes before heading outside, and an additional 4 ounces every 30 minutes.
For those between ages 5 and 10, two hours of outside fun in the sun is appropriate with breaks every 30 minutes. These kids should drink 8-16 ounces before play and again during play. For those who are over 10, the same rules apply. However, because these kids are bigger, they need to increase fluid intake to 12-24 ounces.
Watch the Heat Index
The most important factor to check in the weather report is not the temperature, but the heat index. The heat index is the “feels like” temperature, and has a bigger role in how quickly kids can overheat. If the heat index is above 90, your youngsters are going to need more breaks and fluids.
Give Your Kids a Cooling Device
Cooling devices can be everything from a personal fan and mister to a cooling sports vest or cooling bandana. Find something that your son or daughter finds comfortable, and use it on those extremely hot days when you need or want to be outside.
Choose the Right Activity
The type of activity you choose is also important. If it’s over 90 degrees, a trip to the zoo may not be the safest option. However, the water park, pool or splash pad is a great choice. The water will help keep your little one cool.
If you are looking for something fun to do with the kids and don’t have a water park nearby, consider making a water playday of your own. Invite the neighborhood or school friends over for water-based play. Here are some entertaining activities you can include:
- Ball-blasting relay. Divide the kids into teams of two, and give each team a cup, pingpong ball and water squirter from the dollar store. Have them stand a few feet apart, with one child holding the cup with the ball inside and the other holding the water squirter. When you yell go, the teams should try to get the ball to fall out of the cup by filling it with water using the squirter.
- Frozen T-shirt contest. Take an oversized T-shirt, soak it in water, and lay it flat to freeze. Put a layer of wax paper on top, and repeat with another shirt. Have one shirt per child. Give each child a frozen shirt, and have him or her try to put it on. The first one to succeed wins the game.
- Sponge relay race. Grab some giant sponges, a few buckets of water, and a few bowls. Divide the kids into two teams, and have them fill the sponge from the bucket, then run to the bowl to release the water. The winning team is the first one to fill its bowl with water.
If you can’t have the neighborhood kids come over, consider these activities for just yours:
- Ice scavenger hunt. Freeze some small plastic toys into a big container of ice, and give the kids (children-friendly) hammers and nails to free them.
- Iced leis. Create a necklace by threading pony beads and pieces of straw onto a lanyard. Then, lay the lanyard on top of an ice cube tray with the straw or pony beads hanging down into the ice cube wells. Fill with water and freeze. When you remove the ice cubes, they will be attached to the lanyard. Your child can wear this while outside on a hot day and enjoy the cooling effect.
Remember, summer should be fun, and fun means time spent outdoors. With these tips, you can enjoy your outdoor time without fear of your child falling victim to heat-related illness. Be smart, take the necessary precautions, and enjoy some fun in the sun safely this summer!
Author bio: David Reeves is Marketing Manager at Superior Playgrounds (srpplayground.com), a playground manufacturing company. The company designs outdoor play structures to encourage physical and cognitive development. Superior Playgrounds offers customizable sets with components including bridges, swings and more.