Summer is my favourite time of year. I love being out in the sun. It’s heat penetrating my bones, working on my suntan, hanging out at the beach; I just want to be out in the sun as much as I can. There are so many fun things to do out in the sun. And I am going to get to that in a minute, but first I would like to address the concerns that many parents have about being out in the sun.
Skin Cancer! Yikes, that’s a scary thought. Everyone wants to be protected from ever developing this disease. So immediately you get out the sunscreen and pile on a layer over you and your child’s entire body. Ok, now you feel safe. But hold on, how safe is it really? There has been an ongoing debate in the medical world on whether the effects of the sun is what really causes skin cancer. Perhaps it’s the chemicals in the sunscreen products that bake into your skin that’s the real culprit. At this point, it’s hard to say. But until this debate has a conclusion one way or another, what do you do?
Well here is my suggestion. With my children, they are both completely opposite when it comes to everything, even down to their skin. My daughter, she has skin that never burns, it just browns. So I have never put sunscreen on my daughter. She can be out in the sun for hours and not even develop a tan line. My son, on the other hand, he looks at the sun through a window and he’s sun burnt, his skin is so fair. So he definitely wears sunscreen. But I don’t apply sunscreen on him immediately. I wait for about 20 minutes, so his body can absorb the wonderful nutrients of the sun and gain its benefit. Then I apply a thick layer of sunscreen so he can enjoy being outside for a little longer. I am not a fan of the stuff, but that doesn’t mean I don’t use it. I certainly do not want my son suffering from a sunburn, or having to stay inside because of his fair skin. I want him to get out and enjoy the sun. So I found a happy medium.
Being smart about spending time in the sun is all about balance. Please don’t think that just because your child has sunscreen on that they can be out all day and remain protected. Prolonged exposure to the sun, with or without sunscreen is not a wise choice. So get out in the sun, but do it in moderation. And remember, there is always tomorrow to get back out there and enjoy your summer.
Concerns with dehydrating or getting heat stroke is another concern. But this can be eliminated if you try these suggestions. Of course, drinking lots of water is the best option here. You can lose electrolytes very easily in the heat, sweating and not getting enough fluid to replenish. So instead of purchasing regular Freezies or Popsicles to stay cool, try Pedialyte Freezer Pops instead. Doctors recommend Pedialyte when your child is sick, to replace all the lost electrolytes, so why not when you are out in the heat. Instead of waiting until you are already suffering from dehydration or possible heat stroke, use Pediatlyte Freezer Pops as a proactive preventative measure. Another great idea is to freeze Gaterade or Powerade into homemade Popsicles. This can provide the same results as the Pedialyte. And, again, it cannot be stressed enough, remember to keep drinking water regularly.
Another way to protect yourself in the sun is to wear a hat, preferably with a rim to cast shade upon your face and shoulders. This will keep you cool and keep your scalp from burning. It also helps keep the sun from shining on your eye lids, ears and nose, spots on your body that you tend to forget to add sunscreen, that can burn and cause much discomfort.
Now on with the good stuff! Fun Activities For Everyone To Enjoy!
Fun in the Sun comes in many shapes and sizes. The key is being creative with your time. I love the beach. Even now that my children are teenagers, we still go to the beach with a pail and shovel. We like to skip stones and build sand castles (that look more like blobs, but who cares). We find it relaxing. Some of my best pictures of my kids are at the beach so we also have photo shoots there too. But we also like to attend the open swim times at our local public pool. It is an outdoor pool, and it has a diving board. That is the main attraction for my children, they like to flip off of it. They spend hours playing Marco Polo and Colours with the other kids there.
My son, he likes to wash my car. So we have a wash-my-car party. The soapy water usually ends up more on each other than it does on the car, and my son loves to drench his sister with the water hose. It’s a great way to get your kids to do a chore, have fun together or with their friends, and you get a clean car out of the deal. Some lemonade, and fruit to snack on, what a fun couple of hours this can be.
Sidewalk Art, ever heard of it? Well, my kids have created many masterpieces in their younger years. I’m their mom, of course I think they are brilliant creatively. Masterpieces? Well, perhaps not. But a big box of sidewalk chalk and an open area of concrete, you have the setting for art to unfold. Sometimes, my daughter would draw lines outlining rooms of a house and the kids would pretend. Sometimes they took varies objects and traced them, creating a scene with the chalk. Once, they drew a gigantic Welcome mat at our back door. Of course, my daughter cried when it rained the next day and washed it away. But no big deal, she got outside after the rain and coloured me another one.
Sometimes you just can’t get to a swimming pool or the beach so the alternative is having a water balloon/water gun fight. Fill up a ton of balloons and a bunch of water guns, gather the neighbourhood kids and make some teams. Let the fun begin. If you want to keep things a little less rambunctious then simply play games. Balloon toss, target shooting with the water guns, this is still a lot of fun, competitive and everyone still gets wet.
When I was a little girl, there was no one in our neighbourhood who owned a swimming pool. The public pool was too far from our house to walk to so we had to come up with a way of having fun and staying cool. So we would play in the sprinkler. We would toss a ball back and forth, play tag and invent our own games to play jumping through the sprinkler. Then once the grass got soggy enough, it became slippery and we had our very own natural slip and slide right in the grass.
A few other ways to enjoy the sun, as a family and with some friends are:
- Riding your bicycles on a trail or in your neighbourhood.
- Planting a garden, whether it be a flower garden or vegetable/fruit garden. It’s a great learning experience for the kids and you get to enjoy the benefits of your labour.
- Call your local markets and orchards for what fruits are in bloom and ready to pick. Spending a few hours picking baskets of fruit can be a fun, yet relaxing experience. And, enjoy some yummy healthy food in the process.
- Take advantage of your local fairs and carnivals. It is a great way to support your community, have some fun with family and friends and participate in the events, that may have you trying something new.
- Playing some sports in the back yard. It doesn’t have to fancy or difficult. Just having a good time together is key. Including the neighbouring families can make a great day of fun and competition. Then you all can enjoy a BBQ potluck together.
- Having a bonfire. Need I say more. Nothings better at a bonfire than roasting some marshmallows and hot dogs , singing campfire songs and telling stories. It’s also a great setting for a family reunion. Seeing family that you don’t get to see on a regular basis makes for some great summer memories.
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