The dog days of summer are upon us. The kids have been out of school for awhile and are starting to get bored, and the mercury is rising so high, it can be hard to get outside for some much-needed activity. Fear not, parents of summer—it might be toasty outside, but there are still plenty of fun ways to keep the family entertained and cool:

Lace up your skates

If your town has an indoor ice skating rink, grab the sweatshirts and long pants and head over for an afternoon of chilly fun. Most indoor rinks have family skate times when kids and adults of all skill levels can work their way around the rink in the blissful cold air. After you are done with your family skate time, head to the snack bar for some hot chocolate.

Get cultured

Summer vacation is prime time to check out your city’s museums. While hands-on kids’ museums like science centers are great for younger children, older kids may enjoy traditional art museums filled with classic sculptures, oil paintings and more. Google your town’s name and “museum” to see what is in your area. If you get the sense that your child is inspired by the beautiful artwork, end the afternoon with a trip to the arts and crafts store and let him or her pick out a few supplies.

Play water volleyball or badminton

If you have a backyard pool, host a rousing game of volleyball or badminton and be sure to join in the fun. If you don’t already have a net that stretches across the entire pool, is a terrific resource; the website sells a durable Super Water Volleyball/Badminton Combo Game that includes a huge floating net. Challenge all of your kids to a game of pool badminton; they will howl with laughter as you dive from side to side of the pool trying to hit the birdie back over the net.

Have an Otter Pop/Light Saber battle

If your house is filled with Star Wars fans, transform simple Otter Pops into frozen light sabers that you can battle with before consuming. offers instructions on how to make gray felt cozies to hold the Otter Pops without freezing your hands; once they are made, head outside and let the frozen force be with you.

Freeze your T-shirts

There’s nothing worse than wearing hot and sweaty clothes in the summer. Take some of your kids’ T-shirts—and one of yours, too—and soak them in water. Wring out the shirts and then fold them before placing them into the freezer. Once the shirts are super stiff, gather the kids in the family room and hold a contest to see who can put their frozen T-shirt on first.

Build a fort

A great way to pass the time on those endless summer afternoons is by building a fort. Lower the A/C in the living room by a few degrees to make it extra cool and comfy, and let your kids bring in all of the blankets, towels and sheets that they want to transform your couch and chairs into a massive fort. has some amazing blanket fort ideas for families who want to stray a little from the norm. Supply your builders with Popsicles, popcorn and juice and encourage them to read, watch a movie on their tablet or even sleep overnight in their creation.