backyard building blocks

Activities for the Backyard and Beyond: 2022 Heat Wave Edition

July 19th, 2022


Beating the heat is easy if you have AC, but don’t let those high temperatures keep you down (or indoors) for too long. With record-breaking highs expected to sweep across the country this summer, keeping cool is adaptive living. Read on for a variety of ideas to help you avoid melting and boredom despite the weather.

The Tropical Take

Remember the summer of 2020? While the memories may not all be fond ones, reviving the “staycation” lifestyle for a day can be uber fun. Make the most out of the tropic-like temperatures and reimagine your backyard as a paradise. Set up a kid-friendly or adult-preferred table with sips and snacks that remind you of your dream destination, tune in to some around-the-world music, and kick your feet up right on the patio for a day trip.

Too hot to “travel” in the heat? For maximum chill, avoid using the oven and opt to grill outdoors after peak sunny hours, or try out a local restaurant that serves food from a culture you’d like to explore. If you have a backyard pool, it may be time to try out some floating pool lights for a nighttime swim post Luau.

The Coolest Kids on The Block

At what age does the pool stop being the hot spot for summer fun? Unfortunately, the pool becomes significantly less fun when the lifeguards whistle for a water break every 15-30 minutes during heat waves. No waterslide needed, if you’re looking for a way to reduce iPad time and keep kids of all ages engaged on days where the water is as warm as the air, keep reading!

Starbucks at Home:

Skip the drive-through and get your kids involved in making at-home refreshers. Better than a lemonade stand but as easy as Minute-Maid, trying out a non-alcoholic DIY recipe will keep your kids entertained and hydrated on the days that are real scorchers. The best part? No mess required… fill up an ice bucket with your favorite fix-ins and grab some cups for a backyard barista table.

Sprinkler Parade:

Thirsty for more? Give the Mardi-grass a break and utilize your sprinkler for a celebration that will make your little ones forget screen time exists!

To prepare, make a quick trip to your local dollar store for beads, other fun water-proof throws, and perhaps some costume pieces if your paradegoers like to dress up. Pull out the slip n’ slide to set up a “parade route” (or get inspired with this DIY Washable Rainbow Slide). Once your route is set up, invite some friends to bring pool floats to serve as parade “vehicles”. Have the attendees take turns tossing goodies from their floats on the ride down and catching them from the slip n’ slide sidelines. Don’t forget to turn that sprinkler on so the kids can stay chilled amidst the excitement.

We’re All In This Together

If you’re lucky enough to have fans and air conditioning at home, you won’t need to utilize a cooling center, which most communities provide during times of extreme heat. However, you may be interested in checking out warm-weather activities and events your hometown hosts for those sweltering days you’d usually sit indoors.

Courtesy of Saint Charles Park District

Keep active and take advantage of an ice rink near you – likely offering discounted public skate because summer is off-season, or try out a watersport if you’re near a body of water. Concerts in the park are free in many communities and are usually scheduled with peak heat hours in mind. Pack an evening picnic, pick a spot, and get lost in the tunes.

Feeling adventurous? Plan a hike with lots of shade, search for garden tours to get some backyard inspiration, or take a scenic drive with the windows down and see where you end up

Don’t get caught up in the fear of missing out that comes with a summer spent inside. Make some memories in the sun that will continue to warm your heart even when it’s jacket season.

Things to do when it's hot out that will help you stay cool in your backyard or community.