I live in the Pacific Northwest, where summer is a long-awaited, highly anticipated three months of gloriously dry and sunny days (mostly). But for some of you, it is quite the opposite. Instead of heading out, you head in, where you can take advantage of the air conditioning to avoid heat stroke. If summer isn’t your outdoor season, it doesn’t mean you have to give up the outdoors! With a little creativity and planning, you can still get your outdoor fix next to the A/C. Below are some great indoor activities when it gets too hot for outdoor adventures and activities.
Read About the Great Outdoors
Live vicariously through books! Head to the library and pick up a huge stack of outdoor-themed books. They can be books about camping or hiking, nature, insects, national parks or whatever interests you. Make a big batch of lemonade or your favorite treat and settle in somewhere cool with a stack of books for the afternoon. Need recommendations? Check out the Hike it Baby Goodreads account for loads of suggestions.
Relive Past Outdoor Adventures
What better time to pull out a photo album or set up a slideshow of your past adventures when stuck indoors. Recapture the feelings, the experiences, the laughs and the disasters from the recent or distant past.
Set up Camp Indoors
Set up a tent in the living room, then pull out some camping gear like sleeping bags or backpacks. Then sit back and let the little ones play and imagine away. Build an imaginary campfire and make S’mores. Indoors S’mores are a cinch with a microwave. Simply put a marshmallow and piece of chocolate on one graham cracker, top with the other, and then microwave for about 15 seconds. No fire or hot stove necessary!
Learn a New Outdoor Skill
Have you always wanted to learn how to tie a few knots? Read a topographic map? Or teach the kids how to build a campfire? Maybe you want to work on your little adventurer’s balancing skills for walking on fallen logs and grow his self-confidence? Get some books from the library about learning outdoor skills, find a gym or play place with indoor activities that offer climbing or jumping options, or check out a YouTube video and put your indoor time to good use by learning a practical skill you can use once the weather is more favorable.
Dream Together About Hiking
Use this downtime to get inspired for fall. Where do you want to hike or camp next? Find websites of state or national parks to visit and look at pictures to get everyone excited. Find videos or books at the library of areas you want to explore. Get a book on trails in your region, pull out a topo map of the area and together trace the trails on the map. Discuss what you think the trail is like. Study brochures, visitor guidebooks or other travel literature for ideas.
Make a Bucket List for Fall
First, gather the family together. Then, make a list on paper of all the things you can’t wait to do outdoors this fall. Write down the places you want to camp, the trails you want to hike or the harvest festivals you want to attend. Finally, post it on the fridge where you’ll see it often. Or decorate it together then frame it to sit on a counter or table. Since you’ve taken the time to commit your ideas to paper, you’ll be more likely to follow through.
No matter what the weather is where you live, fill your summer with the outdoors – even if not all the fun is outside.
What are your creative indoor options when it’s too hot to get outside? Share your ideas and comments below.
Photos by Kendra Reeder, Vong Hamilton and Kristin Hinnant.