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During the summer, I often travel overseas for work. When I come home, catching up with my babies and husband is a priority. But, after a long trip, jet lag has me dragging my body around like a zombie. Lastly, I live in Arizona. In the summer, temperatures routinely reach over 100 degrees before 10 a.m. Putting this all together for you, when I think about summer activities for toddlers, I need: 1) fun, 2) easy, and 3) cool – literally.
Our kids already spend time in our full-sized pool. At this point, however, it’s not exactly easy. My toddlers are still learning to swim, so my husband and I spend most of the time dog paddling like water polo Olympians, with our babies in tow. They love playing in their kiddie pool too, but we may have played that tune too many times. They’ve taken to just finding unique ways to dump out the water.
We’ve had to get a little creative, so our “work” is your gain. Here are four summer activities for toddlers that are fun, inexpensive, can be whipped up last minute, and are definite crowd-pleasers — at least for our kids.
1. Create a Water Balloon Pinata
My kids love playing in the water. As a child, I also loved playing with water and especially with water balloons, so I thought it would be a lot of fun to create a water balloon pinata! It is super inexpensive and easy to create. This might be one of my favorite summer activities for toddlers.
You will need a bunch of water balloons, string, scissors, somewhere to hang the pinata, and a piece of tubing or a soft bat. To create the water balloon pinata, fill a bunch of water balloons. Once all the balloons were filled, we tied a long piece of string around a pergola we have in our backyard. Once you hang the string, cut 2-3 inch pieces of string and tie each individual balloon onto the long string.
Just make sure to double-knot the string so the balloons don’t slip out. Surprisingly, I had no issue with balloons falling through. I tied the knot below the balloon knot to secure the balloons to the string. I used about a dozen balloons. If you have older kids or you anticipate having a large group of kids playing with it, you might want to add more.Once all of the balloons are hung, hand your children a bat or tube and let them swing at the balloons, just like a pinata. Since my kids are so little, I opted for them to use their hands to bat at the pinata. It was quite effective, and my son had the best time breaking the balloons, as you can see in the pictures.
Using water balloons is probably one of my favorite toddler summer activities. Also, my son had the best time throwing all of the leftover balloons I didn’t use in the pinata at his dad and me. As my husband was taking pictures, he was dodging balloon splashes. It was pretty entertaining for my three-year-old!
2. Make Ice Cream Sundaes
When the weather gets hot, there is nothing better than enjoying a frozen treat. Rather than trekking to the ice cream parlor, you can save money and make your own delicious sundaes at home. Why not break out some Blue Bunny® Homemade Vanilla ice cream and Smucker’s toppings to create a fun ice cream sundae bar?
To create your own sundae bar, you’ve got to have toppings. Ice cream and toppings are better together! For my sundae bar, I chose Smucker’s caramel flavored and chocolate fudge spoonable ice cream toppings (you can earn cash back on Smucker’s ice cream toppings with the free Ibotta app!). To complete my sundaes, I also added whipped cream, sprinkles, and topped them off with maraschino cherries.I found these really cute pails in a dollar section of a retailer along with these adorable little paper flags. Although the bucket sundaes were a little too much ice cream for my kids, they were super cute and a fun way to celebrate. If you’re having friends or family over for a BBQ this summer, I think the little pail sundaes would be a festive way to enjoy a cool ice cream treat.
3. Construct a DIY Sprinkler
In addition, I found this genius idea and directions for a homemade sprinkler here. You can easily make a DIY sprinkler at home using a 2-liter bottle. In order to create your own, you will need a push pin, a bamboo skewer, a clean empty 2-liter soda bottle, 3/4 inch female x 3/4 female swivel hose adapter (that’s what they call them at the hardware store, google it!). You can get yours at any hardware store in the plumbing section. If you can’t find them, just ask someone and they’ll direct you to the right area.
To make the sprinkler, first attach the female swivel hose adapter to the bottle; it will screw right on. Next, poke 8 holes using the push pin on the top of the bottom. Use the bamboo skewer to make the holes bigger. That’s it! Attach your sprinkler to a hose and enjoy!
4. Set up a Tricycle Wash
Another fun idea to help your toddlers stay cool this summer is to create a “Tricycle Wash” for your little ones. If your toddlers are anything like mine, then they love going to the car wash. We take our kids through the automatic car wash every couple weeks (it’s super dusty in Phoenix) and they love watching the soap coat the car and the water as it washes the soap away. Why not set up your own trike car wash station on your driveway?
Your kids will get a kick out of sponge cleaning their trikes or bikes. Plus, they will enjoy using the hose to (or watching you) spray down the vehicles. This is a fun and easy way for your kids to play with water, accomplish a chore (without knowing they’re working!) and they will even get clean in the process. All you need is a bucket, water, soap and sponges or rags! These are just a handful of fun toddler summer activities that will keep your kids cool while having fun. These ideas are simple, inexpensive and easy to do at home. Summer is so much better when the family is together. I hope you will try these fun activities with your kids this summer.
What are your favorite summer activities for toddlers to beat the heat?