Fun Ways to Cool Off in the Backyard

The blazing temperatures of summertime heat isn’t always an easy time to cope with, especially if you have kids who quickly tire of being cooped up in the house. Children often need to burn off energy, but when temperatures soar to high levels, you have to be careful of overheating and dehydration. Water fun is usually a good activity that cools down body temperatures, and your backyard can be the perfect setting.

If you want to be outdoors, at least for a little while, and keep cool, along with having tons of fun, you can turn your yard into an “island of adventure”. Either focus on one favorite activity, or create different areas of cooling down fun in different areas of your yard (kind of like “stations”). Kids can have fun exploring their own personal theme park, roaming from place to place like they would at the amusement park. Water activities are generally a hit with kids in the summertime and you can mix these up with some other activities as well.

4 Fun Ways to Cool Off in the Backyard

Fun ways to cool off in the backyard - sprinkler fun

Photo credit: Leigh Goessl


A tried and true favorite, most kids love the opportunity to run through the grass and soak themselves in a sprinkler. You can either purchase one designed for kids’ play or, if you don’t have one of these, use a regular grass and garden sprinkler (this is what we do). Have the kids slip on their bathing suits and have at it enjoying the misty cool feeling of spraying water.

If you want to do more than just have them run through, make a game of it. Perhaps play a bit of soccer, baseball, volleyball or other favorite sport, wearing bathing suits and navigating around the sprinkler. You can set up goal lines, nets or bases in strategic areas around the sprinkler. You might not want to spend too much time doing this, just enough to cool off, this way too much water isn’t wasted.

Fun ways to cool off in the backyard - wading pool

LightStalker / Pixabay

Small Pool

Younger children, and perhaps even some older ones, can play in a small wading pool filled with cool water. Bring out some fun water toys to make it even more special. You can play games or even use this time to teach kids some math and measurement lessons by bringing out measuring cups, spoons and a bowl from the kitchen.  

Or you can pretend the pool is a pirate ship and create an adventure for those curious buccaneers. If not pirates, another favorite character, perhaps a princess stuck in a castle surrounded by a moat. Kids have amazing levels of creativity, there are lots of great games they might even come up with on their own. Pretend you’re Elsa and zap some ice cubes in.

Ice Cream Picnic

If you have a shady area of your backyard, you can plan to have an ice cream social. Spread out a sheet or blanket and you, or even the kids if they are old enough to manage, design your own ice cream sundaes topped with sprinkles, cherries or other favorite toppings.

To make the picnic more fun, construct a makeshift tent over the picnic area. You can do this by spreading a lightweight blanket or sheet between trees or use poles to hold the ‘tent’ up. This will keep kids out of direct sunlight as they enjoy their ice cream.

Water Slides

If you have a backyard playground or portable plastic slides you can create water slides for your kids by using your hose and spraying the slide. Kids are likely to love feeling the cool water against themselves as they slide down. For additional fun, place a tarp under the slide and soak that down, so kids can land on the plastic and slide a little further, much like a slip and slide.

Escaping the heat in the summer is not always the easiest thing to do, however options are many if you consider the types of activities your kids like and then use what resources you have to create that “island of adventure”. With a little imagination, your backyard can be transformed into a play area that beats the heat and also provides lots of fun.

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