Free Diversionary Tactics to Beat the Heat

Momservation: You’re guaranteed to have a good time when you entertain yourself.

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The western United States is doing its impression of a frying pan right now. In Sacramento, where we live, going outside is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. We aren’t even venturing into our pool because it’s doing its impression of a hot tub.

Years ago when my friend, Janine, moved to Arizona I questioned how she would survive the brutal desert summers. She explained it this way: “Like you do in the winter. We just stay inside.”

Key difference though: You can count on restless kids being in school for good portions of the day in the winter. The longest days of the year seem especially long when you’ve got hot, cranky kids cooped up inside.

But I’ve got two words for you to help solve this dilemma: Diversionary Tactics.

And I’ve got another word for you that will seal the deal for locking yourself inside with restless, whining kids: Free!

Here’s a list of 10 Free Indoor Activities for Maximum Fun (to beat maximum heat) that can be modified for any age level:

  1. Make ice cream in a bag. If you have milk, sugar, vanilla, kosher salt, ice and zip lock bags you’re already good to go without a trip to the store!
  2. Board game stations. Have Rumikub set up on the dining table, Sequence on the living room coffee table, Pay Day in one bedroom, Sorry! in another bedroom, and finish with Gestures in the master bedroom (or whatever games and rooms you have). You can do speed rounds, wager rounds (we bet state fair ride tickets), winningest player, or just for fun!
  3. Get crafty with Pinterest. Whatever your resources are or whatever your fancy is, there’s something for everyone: packing tape postcards, homemade lava lamps, create and eat veggie trays that look like Seasame Street characters, paint your nails to look like Converse High Tops, carving a watermelon like a pumpkin…what will you make to feel so clever and creative?

    candy ball game

    Fun game with left over candy, packing tape and dice from Momservations Pinterest Project Day board

  4. Interactive movies. Pick a favorite or popular movie and assign crazy hijinks to perform whenever a certain word is mentioned or scene appears. Ex: Monsters Inc. Anytime you hear “Sully” you thump the table with your hands. Anytime you hear “Mike Wazowski” you do scary feet. Anytime a child screams everyone runs around the house screaming. Anytime you hear “Boo” you hug the person next to you.
  5. Cards only. Play for points, pennies, bragging rights, or loser does the other siblings’ chores, but only card games allowed: Rummy, Crazy 8’s, Spoons, Speed, Double Solitare, Blackjack, War, Spit, Uno, Hearts…go one on one or play as a group, but I guarantee your kids will get hooked and keep playing them all summer.
  6. Make forts. Pillows, blankets, mattresses, anything’s fair game as long as it’s put back. Then bring in a board game, cards, iPods, iPads, or drinks and snacks and  enjoy Mom letting you tear up the house without getting mad!
  7. Hall ball. If you have a boche ball or croquet set and a hallway you’re good to go for a modified indoor game (i.e. softer throws and hits)! Wickets can be pushed into bars of soap to stand up for croquet and a closed door or end of hall stands in for a wall for boche ball. If you don’t have these outdoor sets, you can improvise with tennis balls, wiffle balls, or baseballs and use wire hangers for wickets and baseball bats for mallets.
  8. Penny pitch. Everyone gets a pile of pennies (or quarters for high rollers). You stand 7-10 feet from a wall. You pitch your penny trying to get it closest to the wall. Whoever’s penny is the closest gets all the pennies.
  9. One-Four-Twenty-Four. It’s not gambling with dice it’s teaching math and finance! Buy-in is 10 cents. Everyone takes a turn rolling six dice. You get up to six rolls and you have to pull out at least one die every roll. During these rolls you need to get a one and a four to “qualify.” With the rest of the dice you ‘re trying to getting the highest cumulative points to win the pot. It doesn’t matter which roll you pull out a 1 and a 4, but you have to have it all by the last roll—the qualifier and highest total points to win the pot.
  10. Indoor scavenger hunt. Break into teams to find different lists of items that can be found around a house. Set a timer and pick a prize for the person or teams who can find the strangest or funniest things found in a home.

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