Five Crafty Ways to Keep Cool

Water Balloon Piñatas

Here are five ways to make your lazy summer day just a little bit cooler, including a yummy frozen snack. All are simple to do with minimal expense and fuss, but they'll yield hours of fun. By the way, these keep cool crafts and projects are not just for kids!

Water Balloon Piñatas

Tie up a line of rope or very strong string. Fill balloons with cool water. The fuller they are, the easier they'll burst, so you may want to experiment to get it just right for the age kids that will play. Hang them up on your line, smack away with a plastic bat, and keep cool in the impromptu shower.

Ice Cream Pizza

There are dozens of variations, but here's the basic idea:

  • Bake a big round cookie crust. (To cut the grownups' prep time we suggest refrigerated dough unless baking from scratch is part of the fun.)
  • Cool it completely, then cover with slightly softened ice cream. Try going halves or quarters with different flavors. Add a layer of whipped cream if desired.
  • Add your pizza “toppings”, such as gumdrop olives, red licorice peppers, peppermint pepperonis and grated white chocolate cheese. (Your project could start with a romp through a nice cool grocery store.)
  • Freeze completely and serve.

Hula Hoop Tent

This one is so easy, we wonder why we never thought of it! Simply hang an old sheet or shower curtain from a hula hoop using shower curtain rings. Then suspend the hoop securely from a tree or other sturdy support and keep cool in your instant shade.

To make it more crafty, let the kids personalize their tents first. Use permanent fabric markers on sheets or Sharpies on plain shower curtains to avoid having the designs wash away in the rain.

Ice Sidewalk Chalk

Mix equal parts cornstarch and water to make easy sidewalk paint. Add lots of food colorings, as the chalk tends to look brighter when mixed than it appears on pavement. Freeze in ice trays - shapes are great! Enjoy.

Keep Cool Science Fun

Plan a family astronomy outing in a safe spot with minimal light pollution. You'll need a blanket or lawn chairs that allow everyone to lean back comfortably, binoculars, bug spray, water and snacks, and a stargazer phone app or book and flashlight.

Get the kids to do a bit of research before you go to find out what planets and constellations will be visible, how to identify the Milky Way, and other specific things to look for. It's great if you have access to a telescope, but you'll be surprised how much you can see with binoculars. (If you happen to time your outing for a meteor shower such as the mid-August Perseids, you'll really hit the jackpot.)