When I was a kid and the sultry month of August rolled around, sometimes my mom would start the morning by announcing it was a beach day. Half an hour later, a cooler, beach blanket, and towels stowed in the trunk of the car (I'd already be wearing my bathing suit), we'd be headed for a spot along Massachusetts Bay to bask in the sea breezes and take a dip in the, ah, bracing waters. Other days, we'd pull down the blinds to keep the coolness in and the heat out, and with a pitcher of lemonade and a plate of ginger snaps, we'd settle in for the afternoon with an old movie.
I have very fond memories of those times, but I know there are lots of other cool ways to stay cool.
There's a simple craft project, for instance, that turns an old standby summer treat into an intergalactic weapon for battling the heat. You don't have to be a junior Jedi to go for these Ice Pop Sabers, and they're so simple, even a kid can make them.
If your kid likes juice, pour Tropicana Kids Juice Drink into a popsicle mold and place it in the freezer overnight. The juice comes in three flavors: fruit punch, mixed berry, and watermelon. When the temperature spikes, these pops will be ready to provide a tasty way to cool down.
With its tropical tang, try Coco-Lime Slushy one-ups classic lemonade. To make a pitcher, put 5½ cups ice, ⅝” cup cream of coconut (look for it in the ethnic food aisle of the supermarket), 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and ¼ cup water in a blender and blend until smooth. Top with a tiny umbrella for the full Caribbean effect.
When the kids need to run around but it's steamy outside, help them keep their cool by filling a couple of plastic water bottles and sending them out to play Splash Tag. Technically, the squirted lose—but really, anyone who gets splashed is a winner in this game. Up the challenge by taping a piece of toilet paper to the back of everyone's shirt. When the TP is so soaked it falls off, you're out.
If you have a bunch of kids to keep cool, organize a Freezy Tees Contest—perfect for an August birthday party or when your backyard has turned into camp for the neighborhood kids. Soak a bunch of T-shirts in water, wring them out, fold, stack, and freeze them, placing waxed paper between each to keep them separate. Hand the frozen-stiff tees out to the kids and have them race to see who can get into one first.