Beat The Indy Heat

photo courtesy of indianapolis museum of art
#beattheheat | #todoindy | #indianaweather | #coldsummer
Indy is heating up this August and families need to find creative ways to cool off in their backyards or find new places around the city to escape the summer sizzle. Here are 10 ideas to help you and your family Beat The Indy Heat {or lack thereof}!

  1. Backyard Splash Games: Turn your backyard into a playground for splash games and activities. Several of these ideas could be combined to create a Family Splash Olympics!
Ping Pong Baseball

Set up cones or “bases” in your favorite shape (triangle, square) or use stationary bases within your background (patio chair, swing set) and have players line up. Give each player a full cup of water with a ping pong ball floating on top and say, “ready, set, go!” Each player then runs the “bases” and tries to reach the “home” base before the other players. The winner of the race gets to dump their cup of water on the other players. Then fill up those cups and go again for round two. 

Water Balloon Toss/Target Splash

Can’t go wrong with a classic! Have players partner up and stand apart 1-2 feet. One of the players holds a water balloon and then tosses it to their teammate. With each toss the players each take a step back, becoming further and further apart. If the water balloon pops then that team is out of the game. The winning team is the last pair still standing with their water balloon. A twist to this game would be to draw “targets” on the sidewalk or driveway with chalk (circle targets). Have each player stand behind a line and try to hit each “target” – the targets can be worth specific points and the player who hits the most targets and is the high scorer is the winner!

Water Jump Rope

This activity requires at least 3 players. Two will need to hold a long jump rope and one player will start off by jumping. The twist to this one is that the jumper needs to hold a full cup of water. The other 2 players count how many jumps the jumper reaches before their cup of water is gone and has splashed out. Then rotate so everyone gets a turn. The “winner” is the player with the highest number of jumps.

Frozen Treats: Head inside to cool off in the kitchen and create treats to be enjoyed by the entire family. 

  Watermelon-Popsicle.jpgPhoto and Recipe from

Easy treat to make with kids and can healthy too. If you don’t have reusable popsicle molds then you can use cupcake or muffin tins with wax paper (or ice cube trays) and then add the wooden popsicle sticks.

Here are few favorite and easy recipes:

Banana & Orange (Pineapple, Peach) Smoothie Popsicle

One of my son’s favorite (healthy) treats is a smoothie. In the summer I turn his breakfast smoothie into a popsicle for a cool treat in the afternoon.

  • 7-8 ounces of Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cups of orange juice or thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 1 large banana
  • 1/3 cup of pineapple, peach, strawberry. Use any favorite fruit (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice

I typically double (or triple) this recipe depending on how many popsicle molds I have to fill. Add more banana or yogurt if mixture is not thick enough or seems too runny. Can add some lime zest for a little extra tart taste.

Watermelon Popsicle

It seems we always have watermelon left over. So making these popsicles is a great way to use up leftover watermelon from that weekend BBQ. These will last up to 1-2 weeks in your freezer.

  • 1 ½ pounds seedless watermelon without rind, cut into small pieces (about 4 cups)*
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup mint leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
*vary the recipe depending on how much watermelon you have leftover and for taste.

Slip n’ Slide: no need to buy one if you don’t already own a slip n’ slide. The best slip n’ slides I remember as a kid were homemade from the contractor drop cloth (painter cloth), hold down with milk jugs of water or wooden stakes in the grass. Don’t have a hill – grab some friends and head to your local park for a slip n’ slide playdate!

Water Fight: kids (and adults!) love to have a water war! So fill up water balloons or have sponges in buckets of water to throw at one another. Have everyone grab their favorite water squirt gun of choice and set buckets of water around the backyard. 

Ice Art: an idea I found on Pinterest that was a hit with my toddler was ice art. Put a small amount of Crayola Washable Paint in ice cube trays, and then fill up with water. Add more paint for darker, richer colors. Now my son just enjoyed taking the frozen colorful ice cubes and smearing then all over paper outside on the sidewalk. You can certainly get creative and one idea was to put a long piece of paper on the slide of their play set and drop the ice cubes down to create an abstract piece of art. 
Car Wash: this is always a favorite for parents and accomplishes two tasks in one – keeping the kids cool and getting a household chore accomplished. Perfect for the multi-tasker. Grab some buckets of water, large sponges, soap, garden hose and start washing! 

Splash Parks: Indy is full of FREE splash parks! Splash parks are open to all ages and located on every side of Indy so check out the closest location to your home by visiting Indy Parks ( Aquatics section (includes list of local public pools and spray grounds) around the city. One of our favorite splash parks is Riverwood Park (7201 Crittenden Avenue). 
Book Events: one of our favorite activities is to read books. So we visit our local library often. It’s a great way to get inside and stay cool for free. Our local libraries offer several of events for kids throughout the summer (check out the calendar: for dates/times on free summer music concerts, puppet and animal shows, story hours for all ages and craft workshops. Keep in mind that some of the family/kid events do require prior registration but most are free and provide great entertainment. There are several local bookstores that offer free story hours that you may want to visit (Indy Reads and Kids Ink). If you can’t attend a scheduled event then get creative and do a scavenger hunt with your kid(s) – ask them to find certain colors, animals or shapes within the children’s section of your local library; and don’t forget the favorite activity is to simply read with them.
Movie & Popcorn: there are so many great family movie deals being offered around Indy for the summer. Several of them are listed on our tCM Event Calendar! Free movies being offered vary by location so check out the specific movie theater near you for price and time. A few theaters offering movie deals for children include Cinemark ($1 each), Regal and IMAX theaters. And don’t forget your local library – several branches are offering free movie screenings as one of their many family events.  
Play with Art: there are several museums and places to visit indoors to stay cool with your kids in Indy. One of our favorites is the Indianapolis Museum of Art because it is free! Throughout the galleries ask your kids to hunt for colors, shapes or animals. You can challenge older kids to look for specific artwork, artists or certain objects. The Welcome Desk has an Art Search & Find game that may suit your older children. The museum has the Star Studio on level 2 – this is a free, interactive space created for families and children to explore, get crafty and have fun (without the fear of breaking priceless artwork!). The Star Studio is open during regular museum hours. On level 3 within the African Art galleries there are activities for families to create artwork. 

If you’re looking for a specific event the museum offers ‘Make & Take’ in the Star Studio every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. An instructor will teach the children how to make their own art that they can then take home for your wall or fridge. There is a new ‘Art Pack’ activity (designed for ages 4 and up) that can be picked up at the Welcome Desk throughout the week. Art Packs involve drawing, reading as story and working a puzzle as they tour the galleries. If the weather is not too hot out then I would highly recommend exploring the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, where your kids will love climbing on art!
Check out these great resources for year-round fun:
Indy's Child Magazine
Indy with Kids

Jen Mulzer
Jen is an Event Planner for theCityMoms who can be found on her own blogCurious Cocktail where she writes about "daily details that are overlooked, never discovered or given more than a minute of reflection". A wife, mother, friend, daughter & sister in her 30s who is enjoying the best decade of her life and living her motto: "Live imperfectly with great delight!".