Summer time is vacation time.
Many families plan their annual holidays to coincide with this time of
the year; after all, there is nothing like cool hill-station air to
beat the raging fury of summer. However, for those not holidaying in
the hills, there are still ways to enjoy a thoroughly comfortable and
fruitful summer vacation with children.
Things to do indoors
With no school to attend or daily homework to race through, vacations become a time when children can spend the days doing what they like to do most—playing. However, except when it is cooler in the evenings, it is not always advisable to allow children to play outdoors. The solution lies in helping children find ways to have fun inside the house.
Instead of letting them laze in front of the television, encourage your children to play board games such as scrabble, carrom, draughts, snakes and ladders, or chess. Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and other puzzles are also just perfect for those sultry summer afternoons.
Make use of summer vacations to develop your children's creative talents. Get a roll of drawing paper, pencils, and a box of crayons and watercolours, and encourage your children to express themselves on paper. Alternatively, get them interested in modelling clay. There are ready-to-make clay sets available, which provide hours of fun for children.
Contrary to popular perception, most children love to read books and you can develop their love of reading by buying good books appropriate for their ages.
Help your children beat the heat with water. A swimming pool is just perfect for a hot, searing afternoon. Throw in sprinklers, floats, and beach balls, and let your children have a splashing time. You can even devise games by rigging a net across the pool for volleyball, or a competition to fish out 'treasures' strewn around the pool.
Evenings, when it is cooler, are a great time to take children to the beach. They will enjoy making sand castles or playing with the surf at the water's edge.
Enrol your children in a nature club. Your children will love to go on nature trails or treks, meet and interact with other children, and come away with a lesson on environmental conservation in the process. Do not forget to add sunscreen to their backpack.
Foods that cool
During summer, your children need foods that are light and cooling. It is important that you guard against dehydration by giving them plenty of fluids to drink.
Instead of sodas or aerated drinks, encourage your children to have fresh coconut water. You can also make refreshing lemonade by mixing fresh limejuice with cold water and adding some salt or sugar. Fresh fruit juices and milkshakes are another healthy option that your children will enjoy. Encourage children to eat more fruits. If your child is reluctant, make an attractive platter by slicing pre-chilled fruits such as watermelons, apples, sweet limes and oranges, and arranging them in an attractive manner. Avoid heavily fried foods or spicy foods, as these will only serve to generate more heat.
Minimalist is the word that best describes summer fashions for kids. Loose cotton clothes will help children stay cooler and prevent conditions such as prickly heat from affecting their delicate skin. Encourage your children to pick lighter colours that will reflect heat. Ideally, cotton hats and caps should form an important part of your child's summer apparel. Substitute leather shoes with light canvas sports shoes and at home allow your children to move about barefoot or wearing flip-flops.
Cooling your home
Of course, fans or air conditioners will help you make the interiors cooler and more comfortable for your children during summer. However, another simpler and effective way to do this is by closing the blinds and curtains on your windows. Fixing reflective solar film on your windows can also help lower the temperature in your home by as much as seventy percent.