Tips to keep kids happy playing outside in the heat!

It’s too hot.
I’m sweaty. 
I don’t want to play outside.

If you are like me, these are phrases I often hear when the heat and humidity crank up every summer.  But heat and humidity is not a problem with the right gear, supports, and approach!   We know the heat and humidity are coming, so let’s make a plan to keep our kids comfortable, engaged, and happy outdoors all summer long!

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
-Norwegian Proverb

Warm Weather Gear

This summer let’s keep kids cool, dry (when they want to be), and protected from the sun.  

  • Shirt: Pick a dry-fit, long sleeve shirt to protect the skin from the sun, help to cut down on mosquito bites, allow air flow to stay cool, and drys fast when wet!

  • Pants: Wear long pants that can zip off into shorts that are breathable and quick drying to give you flexibility while also staying cool, keeping mosquitoes away, and more sun protection.

  • Socks: Always wear non-cotton socks to keep feet cool, dry, and reduce odor.

  • Shoes: Your feet have lots of options.  You can choose to go barefoot for great connection to the earth and to maximize the foot’s sensory-motor benefit.  You can wear minimalist shoes to mimic the barefoot experience while still providing some protection from the elements.  Or you can wear rubber boots which give you great environmental protection, keep your feet dry, and can making saying “yes” to mud and puddle play easier for some parents (and kids).

  • Hat: Wear a wide brimmed hat that helps to protect to face, head, eyes, and neck from the sun and dries quickly.

  • Skin: And ALWAYS remember to apply sunscreen regularly and use bug repellent!

Supports in High Heat

Heat exhaustion is a very real risk in hot and humid conditions.  But we can be proactive and keep risks low by having some key supports in place.

  • Hydration – Have plenty of water available for everyone playing!  Wide mouth, 32 oz water bottles make adding ice a breeze.  Backpack hydration kits allow kids to keep their hands free while still hydrating on up to 50 oz. of water.  In your back yard?  Fill a pitcher with ice water and remind kids to fill and refill throughout their play.

  • Fuel – Our bodies use a lot of energy in active play, and even more energy when we are playing in the heat and humidity.  Keep kids fueled with cooling snacks, such as frozen grapes, whole fruit popsicles, chilled fresh fruit & vegetables, juicy produce such as melon, berries, or cucumbers.  Add in power snacks such as nuts, cheese, and granola.  Keep snacks chilled in reusable containers inside an insulated bag with ample ice.

  • Body Temperature – Keep your body cool by having cooling neck wraps or towels readily available.  Soak in chilled water, ring out, and drape around necks or tie like a headband.   On the go?  Chill in water and store in a zip log bag in your insulated cooler for when you want it!  

Summer Approach to Outdoor Play

We have the right gear and supports ready to go, but we still want to be mindful of our approach to outdoor play this summer.    

  • Head outside first thing in the morning.  The weather is slightly cooler, the sun is a little less intense, and the afternoon storms have not yet arrived!  Escape the heat midday for a siesta and then head back out in the evening.

  • Add water to the environment.  Fill buckets, play with water squirters, play with the hose, or add a sprinkler.  Water will help to keep everyone cool, it has endless play opportunities, and can be enjoyed by kids across the age span!

  • Find shady play areas.  Under trees, set up a sun shade, or play in the shadows of your house/building.  The shade helps to reduce the intensity of the sun.

  • Model a positive attitude and embrace outdoor play as the ultimate opportunity for your kids and your family!   Our kids sense our attitudes through our body language, voice intonations, and our example.  So make time in nature a priority for yourself too – the kids are watching!  

Encouraging a child to go outside in all weather builds resilience, but more importantly it saves them from spending their life merely tolerating the “bad” days in favor of a handful of “good” ones – a life of endless expectations & considitions where happiness hinges on sunshine. Nicolette Sowder

Do you have other tips or tricks to share to help kids thrive outdoors in the heat and humidity of summer?  Comment below or send us a message!  

This post has affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate we earn a small percentage from your purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you. All funds go directly back into providing quality resources and materials for the kids in our programs.  

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