It’s hot. It’s humid. My body craves two things:

  1. Cold water, everywhere
  2. Shade

Sometimes, on the weekend, I’m lucky enough to stand in the kiddie pool. Mostly, though, my kids run around the yard like they can’t feel it’s So. Hot. Outside. And guess who has to chase them. Hot or not, I’m running flat out because my 2-year-old is freaky fast when he gets going. He’s basically the road runner of humans.

Are you in the same rut? Body begging for something cool and relaxing, but you just can’t quite make it work? Don’t despair – here are a few budget-friendly ideas to help you beat the heat in these last few weeks of summer!

Hit the splash pad!

Adults and kids alike can enjoy a splash pad. It’s safer than the beach, because there’s no deep water. It’s also much easier to get around, because most of them are cement or playground foam instead of sand – much friendlier to those with mobility challenges! But it’s just as cool as the pool! Splash pads are popping up all over the place – do a quick Google search for one near your zip code. Or, if you can’t find a community splash pad, check out these splash mats for your yard. Yes, you will end up using a bit of extra water, but it feels amazing to walk through that cool mist!

Beat the dog days of summer this year by visiting your local splash pad

And for those who want a trip to the actual beach but haven’t hit it yet because of those mobility challenges – check out the Sand Pad. This is a relatively cheap replacement for the small caps on the end of assistive devices like walkers or canes. It might just be your ticket to fun in the sand, after all! And hey, most beaches are free – bring a snack and a blanket and you can stay all day!

Jazz up that Kiddie Pool!

For my yard, the kiddie pool is easily the most underrated method for cooling off. Cold water from the hose, into the pool it goes! (Boy, is that cold on my toes!) Standing in that cold water cools me off for hours, and makes the rest of the day tolerable. And truth be told, I may have sat in the kiddie pool without any kids around, with an adult beverage, after the actual kiddies are sleeping. Shhh, it’s our little secret. For these reasons, I urge you to invest in your own kiddie pool, whether you have actual kiddos or not. It’s the cheapest way to cool down – I think ours under $10 at Fleet Farm.

Who said Kiddie Pools are just for kids?

To make this option a bit more attractive, you can add some dollar store pizzaz – get yourself a few leis, some fancy drink cups, and some water toys, and you can create a poolside oasis that the whole family can enjoy. Even the older kids enjoy water gun target practice! You’ll be the envy of all who spy you enjoying your tiny paradise island.

Mall Walking – remember those days?

According to Google, Mall Walking is still very much a thing. For those of us who have a little trouble getting out in the neighborhood, this can offer a fabulous alternative – air conditioned, accessible, and hey, you can also get a little window shopping in. Better yet, our ICLS Services can even get you there (and back)! Get your walking shoes on, or get yourself ready and into whatever gets you moving if you’ve got mobility concerns.

Air conditioning AND pretzels? What more could you ask for?

The mall has ramps, elevators, escalators, and stairs, so whatever your level of mobility, there’s something for you. Just check out “Mall Walking Near Me,” and you can find somewhere to get out and get moving in an indoor neighborhood! Some areas even have mall walking groups, so you can turn it into a social outing.

And hey, no one will judge you if you have a pretzel or a Cinnabon while you’re there…

Bug Out, Under Budget

I’d love to get out of town, but we can’t afford much. Between visiting out-of-state family members and taking time off for sick self or sick kids, my time off and my vacation budget are both pretty low. But even I can afford a couple days at a camp site, and let me tell you, camping is NOT what it used to be.

Creating life long memories with your family doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg

I have many camping memories from my childhood; some great and some I’d like to repress. Bonfires, s’mores, swimming in beautiful and clear water, fishing, hiking, and the joy of piggybacking on my dad’s shoulders when my little legs got tired – those are the good times, and they were really good. Wet and soggy tent bottoms after being rained out, wind that whipped our tent almost off the side of a cliff, BUGS, and Fear. Of. Bears… those are some of my unsuccessfully repressed memories. Like all of life, camping is unpredictable, but that’s part of the awesome adventure!

Camping or Glamping? It’s your call!

These days, lots of camp sites have pools, actual bathrooms, and even units to rent indoors if you get tired of “roughing it.” You can decide how much glam you want in your camping trip – go old school, or pool swim instead of lake swimming if that’s more your speed. It’s still a better deal than a hotel, and no one has to know that you glamped instead of camped.

You can sleep in a real bed and still go hiking in the morning, or enjoy a bonfire and then catch a movie and some air conditioning in a cozy cabin. Or sleep under the stars like a champion, there’s really nothing quite like that feeling – you’ll see SO many more stars than what you ever will see within the lights of a city. Check out “Camp Sites Near Me,” there’s something for every budget, ability, and experience level!

County Fair, State Fair, See You There?

The State Fair can be a fabulous adventure, but it is also humongous and difficult to get through, even on a “slow day.” There are also tons of County fairs around MN, each of them with a little bit of that State Fair glory, but on a tighter budget and a more friendly scale.

Nothing says “summer” like your local county fair!

County fairs generally are easier to navigate, have cheaper food and drink, and offer a great way to visit with some of your neighbors. Yeah, the weather might be hot, but you probably don’t have to pay to get in, and you’re not going to break the bank on your first corn dog! Put on your tank top and flip flops, bring plenty of water, and get out there to meet the neighborhood!

Summer Library Schedule

Here’s three things to love about libraries – they’re free, there’s air conditioning, and they’re usually quiet and peaceful. It’s practically paradise in there. And during summer, there are tons of events to keep the kiddos busy. Magicians, yoga, and story time are just the beginning. Borrow up a few books, get the kids out of the house, and all without breaking a sweat? Yes, please! Throw together a picnic lunch, and you’ve got yourself a free day of fun. Chances are, there’s a local library near you.

Your local library isn’t what it used to be!

There are also a ton of workshops, if you’re looking for a reason to get yourself out and about. My local library has had great success with a “trash to treasure” type event, where community members share their super handy skills by helping people restore, repair, or just figure out what makes their stuff work. I’ve seen broken lamps, sewing machines, and all kinds of half-finished projects on those days. There are plenty of speakers, and even sometimes live music or other entertainment. Trust me, the library isn’t just a place to sit in a corner with a novel – but that sounds amazing, too!

What are you waiting for? GO!

These are just a few ideas – I’m sure you have some that are even better. Just get out there and get active before summer ends. All good Minnesotans know that our warm days are numbered, so let’s enjoy summer down to the last drop! We don’t need to mention the W-word for motivation, do we? (Hey, Arizona and New Mexico offices – keep it down, we hear you snickering.)

OK, I know fall is basically the best Minnesota season ever because you can still enjoy the beautiful outdoors without all the heat and humidity, but I still always have a little moment of panic when I see the calendar getting closer to September. I’m going to panic-cram some fun in, like I always do. How about you – do you need a little inspiration or motivation? Get in touch with one of our offices to find out how we can help you get the most out of these last few weeks of summer!

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