With summer here, we can all use some ideas on staying cool during hot weather. Even if you’re lucky enough to have air conditioning at home, staying in all the time is bound to make the kids restless and you irritable. (And if you don’t have air conditioning, there are only so many days you can hide in your basement.) So here are some ways to get out of the house and keep your cool.

Visit a local spray park or wading pool. Water not only cools you down, but it also makes for instant fun and erases any heat-induced crankiness. Kids + water = happy kids! Happy kids = happy parents/caregivers!

Have competent swimmers who need more challenge, or just want to throw PFDs on the little ones and get really immersed? Then a trip to one of Calgary’s outdoor pools might be the best thing for your family.

If lake swimming is more your style, head to Sikome Lake to enjoy the beach, lake and playground. You might want to take a pop-up shelter or umbrella for some guaranteed shade; that sand can get hot! Beach shoes are highly recommended, for the same reason.

For an even more natural water experience, find a park with access to one of our beautiful rivers. Take along a picnic and your water shoes for wading in the shallows. (Check water advisory for Alberta Health before entering the water.) Sandy Beach and Bowness Park are both popular spots next to the water. Or get out of town to find even more beautiful rivers and lakes, like Gull Lake in Lacombe County.

If you can round up all the gear you need to do it safely, why not try rafting in Calgary?

Hot summer weather will have the whole family screaming for ice cream and other frozen treats. Happily, Calgary is home to a number of excellent ice cream shops, or get out those ice pop molds and make a healthy frozen treat at home!

When you are out on hot days, don’t forget to apply safe sunscreen to the whole family (swim shirts will reduce the amount you need to put on!), wear hats, drink plenty of water and watch for signs of heat illness, particularly in children and older adults. It’s always a good idea to minimize the amount of sun you get during the hours of 11 am – 2 pm when rays are their most intense.

This brings us to… it’s OK to spend some time inside on hot days! Take the kids to visit one of these air-conditioned attractions: TELUS Spark, Heritage Park’s Gasoline Alley Museum, YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Museum, one of the many branches of Calgary Public Library, the Bow Habitat Station, The Military Museums, or the Hangar Flight Museum.

Bowling or indoor miniature golf are also fun ways to have some active fun indoors or head to an indoor movie or one of Calgary’s many recreation centres. We also have a huge variety of indoor play places, from free toddler areas in the local mall to an epic trampoline parks, skate park, or bike park. You could even grab your skates and head to a summer ice skating session, like these ones at the Olympic Oval.

Want to stay cool, but still stay at home? Don’t forget the good old sprinkler and wading pool in the backyard and an afternoon movie in the basement. Invite some friends over and make slushy smoothies or mocktails (maybe with a little kick for the grownups)!

Summer in Calgary is brief, so make the most of these hot days. You know it won’t be long before we’re bundling up and trying to stay warm. Have a terrific summer!