This has been a hot summer. Not the worst I can remember, but having two extremely active toddler boys to entertain has made the weather seem even more uncooperative. Here are some ways that I’ve found we could beat the heat and keep them occupied.
We are blessed (though sometimes it’s a curse too) to have our own swimming pool in the backyard. In summers past we haven’t made too much use of the pool. It would take me about 30 minutes to wrangle the kids into bathing suits, slather them with suntan lotion, pack up the necessities, only to get out there and the kids would get water in the face the first five minutes in the pool and it’d be all over.
I’ve been taking my oldest son, James, to swim lessons this summer and it’s been wonderful to watch him go from hating the water, crying every time he got splashed and whining every second to jumping in from the side and coming up laughing and wiping the water from his eyes. He can’t swim independently yet so we use the Puddle Jumper float when I have both boys in the pool together, but when he’s in his lesson or I’m alone with him in the pool, we can work on swimming and he really enjoys it. That’s a major change from last summer!
My 2-year-old, Luke, also has learned to love the water this year. The Puddle Jumper has given him confidence to swim around on his own. I have no doubt he’ll be taking lessons next summer, and I won’t be able to keep either of them out of the pool. We also had a blast keeping cool at the beach and water parks like Chesapeake Beach Water Park, Dutch Wonderland and Sesame Place.
But not in the sun, in the kitchen. We spent one fun morning making sugar cookie “ice cream cones” with this fun cookie cutter I found. The boys got creative with different colored icing and ‘toppings’ for their cookies. One day, I let them each pick out three cookie cutters of their choice from my large variety bucket of cookie cutters and we had fun personalizing their tasty creations. Though it quickly turned into some kind of construction scene where their toy bulldozers were ‘digging up’ the dough. Not quite sure how that happened.
I’ve found it fascinating to see how different my boys are when it comes to art. James has never been very interested in crafts. He’s slowly coming around, but still isn’t a huge enthusiast for glue, glitter or googly eyes. Yet I’m watching as my little Luke seems to take right to it. He’s very detail oriented, wanting to color in every circle of his Do-a-Dot coloring page, meticulously screwing the cap back on each marker after its use.
One sunny day we took large pieces of paper outside, a couple cups of paint with spoons in them, and I let the kids throw spoonfuls of paint onto the paper which we laid out on the ground. After getting a good amount of colors on their pages, we then folded the paper over onto itself and I let them hop and stomp all over them. When we unfolded them the kids were ecstatic at the colorful display. I then cut them out in the shape of large butterflies. We followed the activity up with a fun trip to the shower to hose off all the paint they had on themselves. I got my boys outside, active, creative and even clean all in one activity. Score!
I have definitely had a lot of fun this summer learning new ways to pass the hot days with toddlers. And though we have a couple more weeks ahead before preschool starts, I’m already stoked for Fall. Bring on the pumpkin recipes, fall festivals and crisp cool days!
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Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.