Yesterday it was 36 degrees in Christchurch. I very quickly needed to adapt my parenting to these new, offensively Australian conditions.
First I put a sprinkler under the trampoline (which is a great idea, so long as you live outside of Auckland), then I filled up a paddling pool and put it next to the trampoline. (Why? Cos the South Island has water). And finally, I found an old piece of plastic and created the world’s shortest ever waterslide (it is much more Aucklandy if you leave out the water part).
So, besides creating dangerously short waterslides, what else can you do with your kids on a hot day?
- Go to the beach. It’s a classic. And you know what levels up the beach? A picnic blanket and some sort of portable shade. Also don’t drink salt water. I know it’s tempting, but don’t do it.
- Go to a river. A river is like the beach, but you can drink the water. At least you used to be able to.
- Get an ice cream. An ice cream can be added to almost any of these classic hot day activities to create the hot day ‘double-dip’.
- Put a sprinkler on the lawn. Water the lawn, yourself and the kids by running through it. This activity is currently banned in Auckland.
- Make your own ice blocks. You could probably make three ice blocks using the only three pieces of the ice block maker that you can still find after using it once in 2009. Add in small pieces of fruit with lemonade to make it a marginally healthy hot day snack.
- Put water balloons on the tramp. Fill up about 50 water balloons and put them on the trampoline. Then let your kids try not to pop them while jumping. If you live in Auckland, restrict yourself to one water balloon for every three children.
- Have a water fight. You probably have some old water guns lying around, why not actually use them? Live in Auckland? Just pretend.
- Wet a sheet and let your kids lie under it on the lawn. Nice.
- Make your own waterslide. Buy a 5–metre by 2-metre sheet of PVC plastic from the garden section of The Warehouse. It is only $12. You should also buy 10 tent pegs for $6 from the camping section. Do this and you’ve just bought an EPIC $18 waterslide. You can add extra PVC and pegs if you have more space/budget.
- Go to the local pool. I mean, it will be packed with people, but it will still be refreshing.
- Go for a bush walk. This might sound like a weird option, but the cool of the bush is a lovely place on a hot day.
- Go to the local library. If you pay rates, you also pay for the air conditioning in council buildings.
- Go to the mall. Malls are also air conditioned; they are just less educational than the local library.
- Buy a frozen grape Fanta from McDonalds. These are only $1 each and because grape is a fruit, I assume that it is healthier than Coke, which is not a fruit.
- Drink a cup of tea. I don’t really recommend this one on a hot day, but many older people have told me that a hot cup of tea on a hot day cools you down. I don’t believe them, but maybe test this hypothesis on your kids. Just don’t make the tea too hot.
- Do a puzzle. Sometimes doing an activity which involves the least amount of movement is the best option for a hot day. The only activity that requires less movement than doing a puzzle is sleep. Sleeping is also a great option.
- Tell other people that you have air con. If you have air conditioning in your home – probably because of the salesmanship of Stephen Flemming, or that random guy with a cat – then now is the time to brag about it to all of your friends who don’t have air con… I mean, why else did you get it installed?
- Take a cold shower. You can probably even do this in Auckland, as long as it is under three minutes and you don’t tell the neighbours or water your veggie garden until 2023.
- Move to Southland.
- Watch March of the Penguins. Even if the movie doesn’t make you feel cold, Morgan Freeman’s voice is cool enough.
Don’t waste the hot weather. It is an opportunity to do some fun crazy stuff with your kids – the type of stuff that memories are made of. So be creative, be a bit crazy and have fun!
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