Keepin' children chilled
It’s hot! Summer is announcing itself today, and Melbourne is braced for 38 degrees. All along the coast families have headed out early for a cooling swim before the scorching midday sun excludes all but the most determined. The very luckiest little ones have already had a cooling morning dip and are now home for a mid-morning snack, play and siesta.
Keeping kids cool and happy at home can be a real challenge on a stinking hot day. Water play is perfect. And a fun, cheap and easy way to put an extra spin on water play, and super cool smiles on kids dial’s, is with ICE.
In the evening before those wickedly hot days arrive take a few minutes to prepare some surprising ice blocks. These ones aren’t for adding to your g&t’s - they’re for handling and playing with. Fill a variety of little plastic containers with water and then drop in a few objects (plastic toys, household items, natural bits and pieces such as shells or stones). Make sure you choose things that are age appropriate, a safe size, and not a choking risk. Arrange those filled containers onto a tray so you can lift the whole jolly lot up at once, and put onto a shelf in your freezer.
On the next scorching day you’ll have a ready-made cool treat! Offer some of those ice surprises to your children and let them have fun. Tiny tots tend to find the ice surprising and exciting to touch, while older kids love investigating and guessing what is hidden inside the blocks, and wondering how on earth it will it come out. As they play and explore their hands melt the ice and the hidden objects reveal themselves. Offer extras such as tongs, small containers of water and small jugs to extend their experimenting, and watch as they create icy storylines and scenarios to match their play.
Try frozen painting – it’s finger-chillin’ fun. Freeze iceblocks of diluted food dyes or watercolours. Use just one colour, or a rainbow, whatever you have on hand. Turn an iceblock tray into palette of frozen paints.
Pop out a few blocks of your frozen paint on a hot day, and offer them on a tray with some sheets of paper. These slippery colourful blocks can be smooshed across the page with fingers or swiped with a brush, and kids love to see colours mix and blend as they melt together. Let the paper dry in the sun and you’ll have a colourful masterpiece.
Ice play is a breeze for children, but it shouldn’t be a stress for you. Be smart about where the play occurs. If it’s on a table indoors, place icebocks in a low tray and put towels underneath to catch the inevitable puddles. Always supervise children playing with and around water. Setting up outside on a shady lawn or decking is great and cleanup very speedy.
When they’ve had enough icy fun an ideal way to end things is with a cooling bath. Why not pop the tub outside on the lawn in the shade… ah, luxury!
More cool tips for hot days:
Keep everyone hydrated.
Limit your little one's outdoor activity during the peak sun hours. Get out before 11am and then head back out after 4pm when the sun isn’t so intense.
Dress children appropriately in loose-fitted breathable clothing, and don’t forget sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat.