Ah, mid-July. The mid-summer point where temperatures start to climb, and we all swelter a bit more. Even with the heat, I want to get outside as much as possible to savor these last weeks of summer. But where to go and what to do? Most summertime activities have been tried and tested at this point in the season, and even the ever-enticing pool has started to lose its luster.

Never fear! There are plenty of options around. With a little creativity and effort, you can enjoy the last weeks of summer while creating great new memories for the whole family.

Here are 10 (almost free) ways to beat the heat.

Beat the heat in your own backyard

Most of us recall our own childhood days of summer, where we ran through sprinklers and created slip-and-slides to enjoy. You could certainly rely on those staples again, or, you can take the fun up a notch with these comparable backyard ideas.

  1. Marco polo without the pool – Granparents.com suggests getting a game of marco polo going, no pool required. Blindfolded and armed with a water gun instead, the searcher must hit a hider with water to switch roles.
  2. Water balloon piñata –  I can’t wait to try out this idea from Dollar Store Mom. Apparently, the more full the balloons are, the more likely they are to pop. What a fun and refreshing surprise way to get dosed with water!
  3. Splash and score – In this water balloon version of baseball from Babble, everyone’s guaranteed to get wet.
  4. Water gun war – This is the most fun with a big group. Divide everyone in teams, loaded up with major water guns. Be sure each team has a “reloading station” (baby pool with water) and as the game amps up, everyone cools down.

Find other water sources



Sometimes summer hours drag on at home. It’s time to find a new adventure then that doesn’t involve a lot of money and still provides tons of entertainment for kids. A quick Google search may turn up any of the following options near you.

  1. City splash pads – Many urban areas have spray grounds or splash pads, which are basically large playgrounds for kids with multiple water fountain features. Even older kids appreciate the quick sprays of water as they run through.
  2. Find a nature center –  Look for a local nature center. Most offer guided tours or have walking paths that stay in the shade. Kids will not only stay cool, but can learn more about the local habitat around them.
  3. Hit the park early – Why not change things up a bit and head the park for a breakfast picnic? Get there before temperatures climb and let the kids enjoy a playground or park, which is usually abandoned in the summer.

Head indoors out of the heat

Okay, let’s be honest – sometimes the only thing that helps an oppressively hot day is the indoors.  There’s always libraries, museums, and movies to keep us cool and pre-occupied, but here are a few more alternatives.

  1. Make a popsicle run – Popsicles are instantly satisfying and bring body temperatures down a notch. To save money, trade off with other families and designate a day where you eat homemade ones while visiting each other’s house.
  2. Mall scavenger hunt – Does the mere mention of the mall make your head hurt? Make it 10 times more enjoyable by turning it into a scavenger hunt! Great for teens, but also for older kids with if they work with supervision.
  3. Free camps – Don’t forget to be on the lookout for the free kids camps offered by Apple, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Bass Pro Shop and Pottery Barn Kids. All are excellent ways to learn something new, stay cool inside, and be out of the house.

With all these great cost-saving options, July isn’t looking too shabby after all, now is it? Utilizing just a wee bit of planning ahead, you can achieve every one of these between now and the start of school.

Have more ideas to share? Please let me know so I can add to my list!