Jul 24, 201111:26 AMReal Moms of NJ

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Beat the Heat: 10 Great Ideas to Keep Your Kids (And You!) Happy this Summer

Could Jersey be any hotter? Seriously, it couldn't. With record high temps, it's a challenge to keep the kids happy. Here's 10 great ideas for keeping the kids—and you—happy.

1. Get wet.

Go swimming at the local pool, lake, or even head out to the beach and enjoy the cool(er) ocean air and waves. If you're not up for a trip, or your kids are young, a kiddie pool in the backyard works just fine. And even the modern kids of today know there's nothing like the joy of an old-fashioned sprinkler, or even a hose for summertime happiness.

2. Read a book.

Read a book to your kids, or for beginning readers, have them read one to you. Read outdoors under a shady tree, or take a trip to the local library to choose from their vast collection. While you're there get the events calendar, most libraries have tons going on in the summer months, from puppet shows to classes to reading challenges for the kids.

3. Do crafts.

Simple ideas like paper and crayons work fine, or you can get more creative. Hand the kids a pile of magazines, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick and have them make a collage based on a theme you give them (a specific color, things that are summery, animals, etc.) or let them cut out whatever they want to make their own masterpiece.

4. Play a game.

Board games like Junior Monopoly and Sorry! are always hits, as are card games like Go Fish, War, and my childhood favorite, Spit—my own kids have been known to play this addicting game for entire afternoons. And don't forget Hide-and-Seek, especially useful if mommy wants to get a few things done before starting the finding half of the game.

5. Go in the backyard.

If the kids can't amuse themselves, hide a few items for a scavenger hunt or lead them in a nature-based hunt where they find items like pine cones, a pink flower petal, a bird feather, and a round rock. We often put on hunts for the whole neighborhood and hide different colored marbles around the yard.

6. Eat a sweet treat.

Make something in the kitchen, like these fun Strawberry Cupcakes and Fruit Salad Cones. Bake sugar cookies and cut them out into fun shapes. Or go out for ice cream—Jersey has tons of great places where you can even get it homemade.

7. Watch a movie.

Many towns offer free outdoor movies, and there are a few places where you can see a free one indoors, too.

8. Listen to a concert.

Almost every night of the week you can hear music outdoors in New Jersey, or by traveling into Manhattan. And you even stay home and have your kids put on a live show with their friends in your backyard, living room, or front porch.

9. Find nature.

Get up early and go bird-watching. Take a hike at a nature preserve. Make a picnic lunch. Go blueberry or peach picking. Walk around the neighborhood with a Critter Keeper and see what bugs you can find. Or, wait till the heat of the day is gone and head out at night. Listen for owls. Catch fireflies. Go camping, even if it's just in your own yard. Tell ghost stories. Star gaze. Eat marshmallows (campfire and roasting optional).

10. Use your imagination. 

Let your kids have an indoor picnic in the living room, go camping in the basement, build a fort, have a dance party, or maybe even pretend they're at the beach. Spread out the towels, put up the umbrella, and best of all... you don't need any sunscreen.

How are you staying cool and having fun this summer? Let us know!

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About This Blog

There's nothing artificial in these blog posts from New Jersey's hardest-working women. Where to go, what to do, and how to do it—with kids—are all part of the mix.

Meet Our Bloggers!

Editor Judy Grover is the mom of two rambunctious boys, who, she admits, completely run the household. Like this "jokey" line admitting her feelings of parental inadequacy, her posts focus on the joys and challenges -- in the rawest, "real mom" way -- of raising her toddlers into considerate, thoughtful men in the face of demands from both career and peers.

Essex County Real Mom Anna Sandler lives happily ever after with her Jersey-raised husband and three NYC-born children in the land of jug handles and disco fries. She loves baking and crafting with her kids, even if everything they make doesn't turns out Pinterest-perfect. Anna has never met a holiday she doesn't want to celebrate, and enjoys sharing ideas for everyday fun (indoor beach party, anyone?), as well as how to commemorate bigger moments from birthdays to first days of school.

Mercer County Real Mom Lauren Kim is a writer and the editor of mom blog and home décor website, MomHomeGuide.com. When she is not spending time with her children and spouse, she loves crafting and tackling various DIY projects around the house. To see more of Lauren Kim’s favorite pins, visit her Mom Home Guide Pinterest Board. Follow her on Facebook for more on her favorite craft and home décor finds.

Middlesex County Real Mom Renée Sagiv Riebling is a mom of two who never irons (Quick! Grab it out of the dryer while it's still hot instead!) or cooks anything that requires dicing, but she does love sweet sticky faces and family outings (check out her Jersey Jaunts column for ideas). She understands all too well about the minutiae of mothering, and her blog posts focus on parenting pointers--from experts or experience.

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