A heat wave is rolling through southern British Columbia this weekend, with some areas expecting to hit 40°C (for all my friends south of the border that’s around 104°F before humidity). Nothing like kicking off summer vacation with an urgent need to beat the heat! Despite the sweltering heat I’m still absolutely determined to keep things simple, or maybe because of it I’m more determined? Either way, I thought I’d share my 10 simple ways to beat the heat this summer.
I love summer vacation, but I don’t love the heat so much. Don’t get me wrong, I like the warm weather, but once the mercury starts creeping past 30°C (86°F) I start liking it less and less. Many years ago now I got hit with both heat and sun stroke at the same time (long story short – I was working, stuck out in the sun for 12 hours one day no hat, no shade, but lots of water) and now my tolerance for the heat isn’t what it used to be. So when I hear the words ‘heat wave’ I immediately start assembling a list of ways to keep cool that require very little effort on my part, because when it’s this hot, I don’t want to be schlepping kids around or rushing here and there to go find something to do to keep cool. I find that if I keep it simple, I get less cranky and we all have more fun.
10 Simple Ways to Beat the Heat
I have a list of my go-to ways to beat the heat. It’s not complex, it’s just a few things I’ve learned over the years that seem to really work.
Have Your Coffee Hot
Iced coffee become all the rage this time of year. They’re such a yummy way to cool down, but don’t ditch the hot coffee or tea quite so fast. Depending on where you live, a hot drink might actually help you cool down faster than a cold drink. If you live somewhere dry, where your sweat can evaporate, this tip is for you. If you live somewhere humid – stick to those iced coffees!
Turn Down the Hot Water and Postpone That Morning Shower
Skip the morning shower if you can in favour of one later in the afternoon, or before bed. And turn down the hot water. Go for lukewarm, it should feel cooling not frigid. It will help cool you and refresh you all the same time.
Keep the Air Circulating
Whether you have ceiling fans or portable fans, keep the air flow moving in the house. Stagnant air can make the heat feel worse, but air that is moving helps break it up. If you have central air or run window air conditioners, fans can also help move the cool air around better. It’s a little thing, but it really works.
Close those Windows
I love nothing more than sunlight coming in through the windows, but windows that get a lot of sun, especially in the heat of the day are not helping keeping the house cool. I close the windows and the curtains on theme to help block out the heat, and it really does work. Now, if there is a fabulous breeze coming from that side of the house, I’ll leave the windows open, but still close the curtains mostly. Keeping the heat from coming in is easier to deal with than trying to get the heat out of the house.
Sprinklers and Water Games
There’s no need to run out to the water park, sometimes running through the sprinkler in the back yard is better that a water park. We usually save this activity for evenings unless the back yard is shaded. Water on your lawn in the middle of the day with the sun beating down, does nothing to help it grow and is a waste of water. If you live in an area with strict water regulations, or just want something different to do, break out the water guns and have a water fight. Clean spray bottles work well too. Or have a water fight with sponges. Grab a pack of cheap sponges from the dollar store, a couple of buckets of water and you are ready for lots of squealy, cool down fun.
Outdoor Activities in the Morning and Evening
Right now my youngest is loving going on bike rides. We used to head out for one in the afternoons before dinner. With the summer heat coming on strong, our normal time isn’t ideal. Instead we try to head out either first thing in the morning or after dinner when the temperature is not so hot.
Get Out of the Heat
When the temperature is at it’s peak for the day, plan some inside activities. This is a great time for board games, crafts, building a blanket fort and reading, or maybe even just chilling out watching a movie. Peak time varies by location, for us it’s usually between 2pm and 4pm, which is kind of perfect, because I have some fun with the kids before it’s time for the dinner rush.
Hats, Sunscreen, and Plenty of Water
If you can’t beat the heat at least be prepared for you it and practice heat and sun safety. Wear a hat! Preferably a light colour to reflect the heat. Use a good sunscreen and bring plenty of water with you. I keep a few half-filled water bottle in the freezer so that when we are heading out for the day I can grab them out, top up with cold water and they tend to stay cold while we’re out. For additional comfort wear light coloured, light weight fabrics that breathe to allow your body to cool itself down.
Beaches, Pools and Water Parks
I may not always want to go, but if you have a beach, pool, or water park in your area, heading out for some fun in the water can be a great way to beat the heat. Just make sure to follow the advice above and you’re sure to have a wonderful time. (trust me, heat stroke and sun stroke are NOT something you want to take lightly) Water parks and beaches tend to be free options in our area which is always nice (if you exclude paid parking) but sometimes a pool can be just as much fun. More, if it happens to be in your own or a friend’s back yard. 🙂
Is there anyway better to cool down in the summer than by eating a yummy cool treat? There are so many yummy frozen treats you can keep on hand, and not all of them need to be sugar filled. Frozen berries and other fruits are yummy and nutritious, and go great with yogurt for dipping. Or freeze yogurt in popsicle moulds for a healthier alternative to ice-cream. In our house we love making our popsicles. Typically I tend to use fruit and veggie juice to make our ‘snack’ popsicles and then have some fun using other things to make our ‘treat’ popsicles, like Jello or flat orange pop. The boys love them. They’re quick and easy, and doesn’t take much to always have some on hand.
So there you have it. A few of the simple ways our family uses to beat the heat when summer rolls around. This year is already shaping up to be a hot one and if it keep up I may need to start thinking of not-so-simple ways to stay cool. How do you keep cool in the summer?