Summer break is here and the struggle to stay cool in this season’s heat has never been realer. But where’s the fun in lounging around an air-conditioned house when the weather outside isn’t so frightful?

That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite water-related outdoor games that’ll help your family beat the heat this summer. They’re simple, fun, and will get you and your kids into your backyard, front yard, or local park in no time – minimal setup, maximum mommy tanning time!

 1. Water Baseball

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Little Leaguers or not, your kids will love this game! Put a wet n’ wild twist on America’s favorite pastime by throwing in some water balloon action. Whether you decide on batting practice, playing catch, or even sliding practice with a Slip N’ Slide, you and your kids will get a kick out of the unlimited options that this game offers when you just add a little bit of water.

Learn more about Water Baseball here.

READ MORE: 5 Fun Outdoor Activities For The Fourth Of July

 2. Cup Races

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Mix some water guns with a little competition and you’ve got the ultimate outdoor summer game. Mimic the popular water race games at carnivals with just a few pieces of string, water guns, and paper cups. Invite your kids’ friends and watch them go head-to-head with each other in a fun, friendly game of cup racing!

Learn more about Cup Races here.

3. Flipper Fill-Up

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Who doesn’t love a good relay game? Flipper fill-up is guaranteed fun for the whole family and perfect for those hot summer days. With the intensity and competitiveness of this game, don’t expect to stay dry for long. Any game that involves flippers is bound to get a little crazy.

Learn more Flipper Fill-Up here.

READ MORE: 20 Activities To Keep Your Kids Occupied This Summer

4. Drip, Drip, Drench

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Turn a traditional game of Duck, Duck, Goose into a summertime favorite! All you need is a bucket full of water and a sponge, and your kids are ready to try out a few rounds of Drip, Drip, Drench. This game is a great way for the little ones to stay active and still be able beat the heat this summer. What more can you ask for?

Learn more about Drip, Drip, Drench here.

READ MORE: 25 DIY Summer Activities For Kids

5. Ready Steady Jump Rope

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This simple spin on jumping rope will make things a lot more interesting. Each player gets a cup full of water and must try to retain as much liquid in their cup while jumping rope. Whoever has the most water in their cup by the end of the game wins. As easy as that sounds, there’s bound to be a little (or a lot) of splish-splash!

Learn more about Ready Steady Jump Rope here.

6. Water Balloon Towel Toss

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Get a little teamwork going with this easy game of Towel Toss. Pair up with another group and see how long you can keep the water balloon intact while passing it back and forth between your team’s beach towels. Don’t be surprised if it eventually turns into a full-fledged water balloon fight. Can’t say we didn’t warn you!

Learn more about Water Balloon Towel Toss here.

7. Water Limbo

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Grab a hose with a straight and steady stream, and play all your kids’ favorite tunes for a fun game of water limbo! Throw in an extra challenge by lowering the hose after each round of shimmying and see who comes out (fairly) dry in the end.

Learn more about Water Limbo here.

READ MORE: Summertime: 5 Ideas For Welcoming The Sublime Season 

8. Glow In The Dark Bowling

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The fun doesn’t have to stop once the hot summer sun goes down! Grab a few empty water bottles, some colorful glowsticks, a sturdy ball, and you have yourself a fun DIY game of glow in the dark bowling to end your long summer day.

Learn more about Glow In The Dark Bowling here.

Don’t let a little heat keep you and your family from enjoying some fresh (albeit hardly breathable and plenty humid) air from enjoying what summer has to offer. Go out, make memories, and make waves!

Looking for some inspiration for your Labor Day Weekend celebration? Then take a peek at this festive roundup we’ve put together of all things red, white and blue! From food, to nails, to decorations, you’ll be sure to find something to help bring out your holiday spirit! 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a warm-weather, tankini-clad, floppy-hat-obsessed Scrooge. I love summer.

There’s the gloriously gorgeous weather. The maxi dresses and cute sandals. The perfect excuse to claim that pedicures are a necessity. Barbecues. Playing hooky on the perfect beach day. Fun field trips with the kids. Cocktails at sunset (and pretty much whenever else you damn well please).

But when your spending your summer with kids, things are a little more…complicated. And messy. And sweaty. And tantrum-y. Behold, the untold delights of summer with small children!

Sand.

No need to spend a day at the beach. Just head to the nearest playground. Millions of tiny grains from the sandbox will stick to your sweaty kid, as well as find its’ way into the abyss of their shoes and pockets. No matter how well you think you’ve de-sanded your kid, grains will magically appear all over your house a few hours later.

The crap you need to lug everywhere.

Trade in the bulky coats, gloves and hats for soccer balls, baseball bats and bubble machines, not to mention hats, water bottles, a change of clothes, towels, sunscreen and the like. You’ll have just as much crap, possibly more. The difference is that now you’ll be sweating profusely as you schlep it to and from the park.

Sunscreen.

You need to apply, then re-apply and then re-apply some more. If your precious little cherub goes home with more-than-rosy cheeks, you will be convinced that he’ll come down with melanoma in 20 years and it will be your fault.

Terrifying playground equipment.

Every year it gets bigger, higher, and more horrifying – at least from a mommy perspective. Despite the fact that my son is sturdier and stronger than he was last summer, he’s also more daring and that makes the threat of taking him to the ER with broken bones or a concussion a lot more real. I mean, what geniuses designed all of this playground equipment to be on concrete or padding that’s about as thick as a cracker?

Unexpected mom guilt.

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the flowers are making you sneeze, and you’re hungover. You could persuade your child to stay home and watch Frozen for the gazillionth time, but it’s just so damn nice outside. Remember when you were frozen a few months ago and wished for a day like this? Time to suck it up and hope that the sun doesn’t make your blood-shot eyes actually bleed.

Other a-hole kids.

They push, they shove, they cut in front of your sweet child who’s waiting patiently for his turn to go down the slide. They also usually have a-hole parents who are either not paying attention or who are trying to take pictures of said kids acting like a-holes. (That seriously just happened yesterday.)

Burgeoning independence.

I’m not a “free-range” parent, but I’m smart enough to know that I shouldn’t totally smother my kid. He’s started telling me to “watch from there”—way over there—and as long as he’s not doing anything death-defying, I respect his wishes. When I see him trying to make friends or join in the fun with some older boys, I back off. But wow, is it so hard.

Water, water, everywhere.

Which means having a change of clothes and water shoes. If you don’t pack these things, you may have a wet, shivering child with blue lips who either needs to walk too many blocks to get home or needs to get into a car seat. You’ll be praying that your car won’t acquire an eternally moldy smell. (Reality check: Most likely, it will.)

Bare arms and legs.

The hotter it is, the fewer clothes your kids will want to wear. The fewer clothes that they wear, the higher the possibility of scraped elbows and bruised shins. After just a few days, my rough-and-tumble kid’s legs looked like Courtney Love’s legs in the ’90s.

Epic meltdowns.

You haven’t experienced the meltdown of all meltdowns until you try to take your hot, restless kid out of a place where he/she is having a blast. It doesn’t matter that they are literally falling over because they are so tired or starting to get grumpy with his friends. It doesn’t matter if he’s hungry or if you want to move onto next fun thing. (Which, for you, would be a nap.) He…wants…to…stay! Good times.

So, yes, it’s complicated. But, hey, at least it’s not winter!

This article was originally posted on Dawn’s blog, Momsanity. Featured image via. 

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We just got home from a 9 day family vacation to Palm Springs. We all survived and made some fantastic memories along the way. It was stressful and relaxing all at the same time. (Is that even possible?) It was exhausting and invigorating all at the same time. (Can that even be?) And there were times when we were alarmingly Griswold-eque. But that’s the beauty of vacations. they teach you so much about your own family dynamics. The good, the bad and the obnoxious.

So once again, I’ve decided to pass along some nuggets of parenting wisdom. It’s your lucky day!!!

Hang In There…

It is a LOT of work getting ready to go on vacation. And somehow it always seems to fall on Mom’s shoulders. There will be moments in the week leading up to the trip when you’ll wonder if it would just be easier to stay home. Hang in there, Mama. Your hard work will pay off once you’ve made it to your destination and pop the cork on that first bottle of wine.

Keep It Simple…

Remember the days of packing an entire bag full of coloring books, crafts, and activities to keep the kids busy on the plane? Forget that! I’ve got one word for you…SCREENS! My advice? Lose the guilt. Who cares that they just spent 4 hours straight playing Minecraft? Can you hear all that silence? I bet the people sitting next to you can. Hey, I never promised my parenting advice will win you the Mother Of the Year Award. But it WILL keep the peace. And that’s far more precious than any imaginary award.

Speak Your Piece…

Having a husband who travels frequently for work might complicate things for you. There’s a good chance he’ll make his way through the airport as if he’s traveling alone. He’ll breeze through security worrying only about himself, while you schlep the rest of your family (shoes and bags and all) through x-ray machines and metal detectors. He’ll briskly dodge through crowds, while you struggle just to make it to the gate with all 3 of your kids in tow. And after all that he’ll stop to buy the kids treats and drinks, despite the fact that last night you spent an hour packing bag lunches and healthy snacks for them. Do not be afraid to kick him in the balls gently remind him that traveling with a family of 5 is not the same as traveling alone and you’d appreciate a little help.

Accept It…

When you’re on vacation with your family you’ll still have to go grocery shopping, make meals, clean up, and do laundry. It’s just one shitty reality of being Mom. There’s no two ways about it. So the sooner you accept that you have to be the maid no matter which state you’re in…the better.

Look On The Bright Side…

Kids will OBSESS about swimming! You could take them on an aerial tram up into the mountains for hiking, to the zoo for the day, exploring in a National Park, or even on a desert safari jeep ride and you will still hear, “Can we go swimming when we get home?” Just go with it. It makes for great bribery (Be good or no swimming!) And at least it tires them out so they sleep well at night.

And while we’re on the subject of swimming: When your kid gets a bloody nose in a crowded pool and his brother decides to announce it FULL VOLUME for everyone to hear…and he swims underwater to get to you after you’ve yelled at him to keep his nose out of the water…and then he sasses you in front of everyone when you tell him how gross that was…and later he sticks his nose up in the air and yells over to you, “Hey Mom, is it bleeding again?”…just don’t panic. There IS a bright side to this situation too. The pool will clear out REALLY fast and you’ll have the place to yourself in no time.

Get to Know the Locals…

Traveling to California? A warning: You just might see a lady carrying her little dog in a Baby Bjorn walk right into the Mexican restaurant you’re eating at. And she might even sit down and share her salsa with said dog. Try not to get too grossed out. Simply get out your phone and post a picture of it on social media so your friends back home will believe you. You can also have a good laugh when one of your friends comments that she looks remarkably like Keith Richards.

It Gets Better…

Parents of little ones…fear not! It gets better. My youngest is 5 now. You know what that means? This is the first time our family has traveled without a STROLLER! That milestone is almost as big as potty training. Seriously! When we got to the airport on our first day I kept feeling like I was forgetting something. Turns out I was just feeling empty handed without our enormous, clumsy, fonder pot of a stroller to push. Breaking News: No stroller = freedom! Just wait, you guys. I promise your time is coming too!

So there you have it. As is generally the case with my family, we were a loud and obnoxious ordeal with every new adventure we encountered on our trip. We had our fair share of spills at restaurants. The tight quarters of the rental mini-van proved that you can indeed have too much family time some days. And there seemed to be at least one crabby, sassy, whiny child (or adult) at all times. But we had fun, damn it! It’s just our way. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

This post was originally featured on Marie’s blog, Make Your Own Damn Dinner.

Happy June. We’ve reached the other side of Mother’s Day, Father’s day. In May WTF celebrated the Imperfect Mother. I thought, Oh how sweet! So, this month we can celebrate the Imperfect Father… huh… but I have never heard of a “Perfect Father” or an “Imperfect Father”. I haven’t seen any books on the NYT bestseller list titled, “The Good Enough Father.” WTF? It’s obvious Fatherhood doesn’t need the qualifier of “Imperfect” to fight off the tyranny of “Perfect.”

This inequity doesn’t make me bristle with indignation – but it does make me want to set us free! I think we are in need of a Mommy-Moses, “Let my people go!”

I mean, maybe the imperfect and the perfect are like matter and anti-matter. If we can get them in the same room together, it will lead to the annihilation of both, and then we can all sigh with relief because we are left with simply MOTHER.

The fact that any of us (or many of us) are grappling with the guilt and feelings of inadequacy in our mothering is a much larger discussion. But, for me, it’s superficial deconstruction is that even though I know that I can’t be a PERFECT Mother (which, let’s be honest, is synonymous with GOOD Mother) giving up the goal of perfection makes me feel somehow vulnerable. This is because the pursuit of PERFECTION in mothering feels like armor; my motives are unassailable both to others and myself. But, conversely, allowing myself to embrace IMPERFECTION in mothering, (just being who I truly am) feels like I am falling down on the sacred job of motherhood and failing my kids. Caught between a rock and a hard place.

Stepping back from this conundrum, I have to ask, “Who would give themselves a truly impossible job, then beat themselves up daily (if not hourly in my case) for not doing it PERFECTLY?” If we had a boss, or a friend, or a partner who did that to us, over and over, we might call that person … a Mother Fucker, no?

It’s shocking I know, but let’s look at a definition of that phrase:  “Mother fucker – a despicable … or vicious person. One who fucks his mother.”

My first step in setting us free would be to make the phrase “Good Mother” synonymous with ‘Mother Fucker.” Because that’s what we are doing to ourselves, and letting others do to us, being vicious and despicable. We are fucking ourselves.

My next step in setting us free might seem hypocritical but it’s claiming the power of Motherfucker.

A pal showed me a video recently of her 4-year-old daughter spinning around the room pretending to be a princess…excuse me! NOT a princess – a queen! “ I am a queen!” she sang as she danced around in a circle, “I am a queen” she sang louder, with a dishtowel tied on her shoulder, “I am a… Motherfucking queen!” I must have watched that video about 50 times because I thought,

“Yeah, she IS a MOTHERFUCKING QUEEN”.

Do you guys remember that line in the movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” when Jessica Chastain, as Maya, says, “I’m the motherfucker who found the place, sir.” And we have all heard, “He’s a bad-ass Mother Fucker.” That pronoun is the ultimate insult and the ultimate identification with power. It represents the primordial, raw power of the mother. We are mighty.

So, in June and for the rest of the summer, when we are chasing our kids around, begging them to put on sunscreen, feeling triumphant or embarrassed by our bathing suit clad selves; as we breathe in the long summer days and the soft summer nights. I have three ideas for freedom:

1. Don’t let ANYONE be a motherfucker to you, including yourself.
2. Be a Bad-Ass Motherfucker in the world.
3. Tie a dishtowel around your neck and dance around the room singing, “I am a Motherfucking Queen!”

Happy Father’s Day,

Love,
Flicka