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Handling the Heat When it's Too Hot to Handle

How this mom's kids beat the heat with a lot of creativity and zero cash.

While it wasn’t, technically, hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk recently, it was hot enough to bring a screeching halt to our typical summer activities. Ordinarily, my daughter does lots of outdoorsy things like track camp, pool, lemonade stands and just plain old playing with the other members of our neighborhood gang.

But the heat wave brought an end to outdoor fun. Even track camp was cancelled as the temperature topped 100.  Like most of my friends, we don’t have an unlimited entertainment budget, so spending the week at the pool or in the movie theater was out of the question. Still, driven indoors, kids can easily turn into couch potatoes. Mine, and those of some friends, didn’t; they applied a generous dose of creativity to beat the heat without spending a dime.

My daughter erected a tent city in the family room. With a goodly amount of blankets and engineering assistance from her teenage brother’s friends, she put together a cozy space for reading, writing and hanging with her BFFs. That she built it all around one of the AC vents is just further testament to her ingenuity.

My son and his friends held a jam session. Instead of driving around looking for fast food and contributing to a hole in the ozone layer, they took over the remaining space in the family room. Guitars and amplifiers joined the drums and keyboard that already reside in the room. For a few hours, my kids and all of their friends coexisted peacefully. It was a beautiful, musical thing but left very little room to maneuver.

While I forced myself to run in the cool early part of the day, a friend’s teen took the opposite tack. She stayed up until four in the morning then slept through the hottest part of the day. She gets extra points from me for adapting the siesta, a staple of torrid climates, to our latitude.  

The most creative heat-induced activity I know of, though, are the films created by a team of three siblings from Wheaton. With a house full of Legos and time on their hands, they wrote, directed and filmed Lego Flash Mob and Lego Flash Mob 2 using the little plastic bricks and stop-motion photography. The films are a testament to raising siblings without rivalry.

We’re likely to get another pass through the broiler this week. While it’s tempting to take refuge at the movie theater or pay the price for a day at the beach, I think I’ll dig out the Legos and see if we’ve got any budding Spielbergs on our block. My son’s friends can supply the music and we can screen the films in my daughter’s tent city.

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