It's been a beautiful warm summer so far, and now it's time to swelter. We've rounded up our coolest ideas on, well, staying cool. We have a how-to on a DIY swamp cooler, a guide to the most kid-friendly coffee shops with A.C., and the best spray parks, fountains, lakes and beaches around. Heat wave? We're not sweatin' it.
Spray parks, fountains and wading pools
On a hot — or even just lukewarm — summer day, you can't go wrong with playing in the water. And that's what free spray parks are all about. Check out our guide to spray parks in greater Seattle area; or our list of South Sound spray parks. For younger kids, don't miss our guide to wading pools and fountains.
Kid-friendly coffee shops
Then there are those days that you just want to chill out with a latte (or maybe get some work done) while the kids play, preferably in a setting with A.C. Check out this awesome list of kid-friendly coffee shops, many of which have A.C. and play areas.
Cheap movie seats
What's better than escaping a steamy day with a cheap trip to the dark, air-conditioned cave that is a movie theater? This summer, with the help of this cheap seats guide, your family can share the big-screen tradition for some very retro prices.
Outdoor pools and water parks
Outdoor pools and water parks are an all-day solution for a heat wave. Our outdoor pool guide points you to where to have fun with wave pools, simulated surfing pools, lazy rivers, zero-depth (beach-like) pool entries, aquatic play structures and slides, slides and more slides.
DIY water play
Stuck at home with no A.C. and antsy kids? Water play is the best solution for everyone. Here are easy and fun ways to have a blast with water, from sponge-ball fights to liquid chalk art.
Top summer hikes
Shade is nature's A.C. and a walk in the woods is a fun way to stay cool, preferably with a water source nearby. We've rounded up the top shady hikes near Seattle, from Saint Edward State Park to South Whidbey State Park; and also a fantastic list of waterfall hikes around Seattle. Feeling extra adventurous? Try one of these lake hikes and take a dip!
It’s tough to beat a summer’s day at a favorite beach: watching the kids sprint toward sand and water, followed by hours of wading, building sand creations and treasure hunting. In honor of beach magic, we've spotlighted 14 local beaches that should be on your summer bucket list, for gloriously different reasons. Or take a trip to Jetty Island for a full day of beach fun!
DIY swamp cooler
Stuck at home with no A.C. in sight? ParentMap friend Jennifer Bardsley (of Teaching My Baby to Read) sent instructions for a DIY swamp cooler along with an image that shows how she did it.
She says, "Using a sharp knife, cut out two holes on the side of Styrofoam cooler. Insert two bottomless plastic cups. Cut out a circle on top of the cooler's lid and place the fan face down. Fill the cooler with ice. Important note, the ice cannot be wrapped in plastic because it needs to be exposed to the breeze of the fan." Thanks, Jennifer!
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated for August 2017.