Cool Off! 7 Beat-the-Heat Backyard Activities and Treats

Sizzling hot summer days call for clever ideas that can keep you cool. Make a splash this season with a bucketful of backyard games, frozen treats, and other activities to help beat the awesome heat.

  • Bottle Blaster

    Bottle Blaster

    With just a couple of basic parts from the hardware store, you can transform a 2-liter bottle into a fountain that produces a super-misty spray.

    Use a pushpin to poke eight holes in one side of a 2-liter plastic bottle. Widen each hole with a bamboo skewer. You'll need a 3/4-inch female by 3/4 -inch female swivel hose adapter, which threads onto the bottle and onto the hose, a part found in the plumbing section of a hardware store. While you're there, pick up some rubber hose washers and insert one in the bottle side of the adapter to minimize leaks. Carefully screw the adapter onto the bottle and tighten (the threads may not match perfectly). Attach the hose and turn on the water. Safety note: Periodically check all connections for tightness so that the bottle doesn't come loose from the hose and hurt someone.

  • Kinzie & Rieh

    The Cups Runneth Over!

    Players are sure to get soaked with this spray bottle challenge that's brimming with fun. Divide the group into teams of two. Give one player on each team a water squirter filled with water and the other player a plastic cup and Ping-Pong ball, then have them stand six feet apart. At "Go," the player with the bottle tries to squirt enough water into her teammate's cup to float out the ball. Set up a water bucket nearby for refills during play.

  • Kinzie & Rieh

    Freezy Tees Contest

    The chill factor in this fast-paced race makes it much cooler than your average dress-up game. Before the contest, prepare a T-shirt for each participant by soaking it with water, wringing it out, and folding it. Placing waxed paper between each one, stack the folded shirts on a baking sheet and freeze them. When they're stiff, hand them out to the players. The first to get into his frozen tee wins.

  • Kinzie & Rieh

    Ice Lei

    The baubles on this necklace do double duty as a personal cool-down device. To make one, tie a knot at the end of a 3-foot length of lanyard. Decide how many ice cube baubles you'd like, then thread the same number of pony beads or pieces of a straw onto the lanyard, adding a few extra for decoration. Lay the lanyard on top of an ice tray and place a bead or straw piece into each well. Tape the lanyard to the rim of the tray, fill the wells with water, and freeze. When the cubes are frozen, pop them out and tie on the necklace.

  • Kinzie & Rieh

    Ready Steady Jump Rope Game

    Our simple spin on jumping rope turns it into a get-wet game. Provide each player with a full cup of water. One at a time, each player must jump rope for ten turns while holding his cup. The player with the most water left wins.

  • Mark Mantegna

    Frozen Yogurt Coins

    Here's how to turn a kid-friendly snack into a frozen treat in a flash. Spoon your child's favorite yogurt into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner. Pipe quarter-size dots of the yogurt onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Add fresh whole or sliced berries, if you like. Freeze the coins until firm, about 30 minutes. Eat them immediately after serving (they melt quickly).

  • Mark Mantegna

    Coco-Lime Slushy

    This yummy frozen drink offers a taste of the tropics. In a blender, combine 5 1/2 cups ice, 2/3 cup cream of coconut (found in the ethnic food aisle; we used Coco Lopez), 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 1/4 cup water. Blend until smooth. Makes five 1-cup servings.

    Originally published in the August 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.