Surviving Summer: Indoor Activities for Stir-Crazy Kids

I live in a modest, 1100 square foot home. I live in this cottage with three children, a rabbit, two snakes, a Great Dane, an opinionated Dachshund with a serious attitude, and a husband who is fortunate enough to spend most of his day outside of this insanity. Yesterday, it was 111 degrees outside. The day before, 114. The humidity is at 60%, and my children have been outside TWICE in the last nine days. Needless to say, I have been forced to become very creative when it comes to entertaining them. Ingenuity was beyond necessary to overcome the fighting, whining, whimpering and constant cries for attentionâÂ?¦and that’s just the dogs! I have compiled a list of indoor activities that have spared what little sanity I have left. Perhaps you could use a little help too!

Camp out!

With the impending California energy crisis, we have been trying to participate in conservation. Considering we don’t have air conditioning, part of me feels we’re already doing our part, but in the name of good clean fun, I came up with a plan to conserve both energy and my own well-being. Turn your largest room into a campground! Turn all the lights off, close the curtains, making it as dark as possible. Bring your dining table in, cover it in a large sheet, (a blanket is too hot and heavy!), tell stories, sing campfire songs, (just pretend the heat is from the fire), and consider having a carpet (or in my case, wood laminate) picnic! Throw a blanket on the floor, fix up some sandwiches, hotdogs, or even microwaved s’mores, and enjoy! You’ll pass the time so quickly, your kids just might forget to argue.

Get “Beachy”!

There isn’t anywhere I’d rather be than the beach right now. I’d love to smell the ocean air, feel the cool breeze, the chilly water, and the sand between my toes. Considering its hours away, and gas is over $3.00 a gallon, I’ll just have to pretend for now. Tell the kids to throw on their swimsuits, and put on their shades. It’s time to take a make-believe trip to a tropical paradise! Fill your tub up with cool water, and encourage the kids to take a dip in the “ocean”. Play groovy music, (I suggest the Curious George soundtrack!), fix enticing little fruit drinks, and serve up fresh fruit on skewers. Play go-fish, or even limbo with a broom-stick. You’ll have all the fun of the beach without sunburns, sand in your ice chest, or seagull poo in your chips.

Have a Talent Show!

In my house, I have an aspiring singer/princess, a junior magician/comedian, and a dancing queen. They all love to put these talents to use, and I love to watch them. While chaos can be fun, I prefer organized chaos, like a family talent show! I think every family should have one of their own. Print up colorful fliers announcing your show, and deliver one to each child. Tape them up around the house to increase excitement. Help your children prepare an act, encouraging them to perfect their routine in their rooms. I find this step to be crucial; you might actually have time to do a thing or two around the house, and they have a chance to create a few surprises for the show. Have the children select an outfit for their performance, and help them style their hair. Announce their name and act proudly to the family, and watch their faces light up as they perform. I like to turn all the lights down, and shine a flashlight through a colander for that disco ball effect. If you have a video camera, now is the time to use it! Celebrate the show with homemade ribbons or certificates for all, and take pleasure in knowing you’re creating amazing memories.

Beating the summer heat can be so much more exciting than a trip to the pool or lounging with the television permanently set to cartoons. Get creative, escape the heat, and show your children the true meaning of summer fun!

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