As school wraps up for the year, parents across the Valley are trying to figure out what they’re going to do for the next ten weeks. While kids in most of the country enjoy their summer weather with long days at the park and learning to ride their bikes, Arizona kids can feel trapped by the scorching temperatures. If you’re looking for playdate alternatives, you’ve come to the right place!
FREE Summer Playdate Alternatives
Here are a few activities to break up your days when it’s too hot to go to the park, starting with the FREE (or almost free) options:
- Splash Pad: If you hit the splash pad first thing in the morning, it’s not that hot. As an added bonus, your sweet preschooler will have so much exhausting fun that nap time is sure to go well. Pack some sunscreen, a cup for pouring splash pad water, and some snacks and you’re good to go!
- Popsicle Playdate: You probably already have a freezer full of popsicles. Make a mundane day extra special by inviting some friends over and letting the kids enjoy some time in the shade with their melty treats. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could try making your own popsicle recipe!
- Puddle Jumping: The best part of monsoon season is the heavy rains that bring slightly cooler temperatures. While I’ve never heard of puddle jumping as a playdate alternative, there’s nothing sweeter than the look on a kid’s face when they jump in the big puddles; and it’s sure to be double the fun with a friend!
- Backyard Movie Night: One of the best birthday parties we’ve ever attended was a backyard movie night. All you need is a projector, blankets, and popcorn. If it’s still too hot at night, you could move the party inside and lay out picnic blankets to contain the mess.
Other Playdate Alternatives
If you’re okay with spending a few bucks to entertain your kids, here are some options to break up the endless pool days:
- Odysea Aquarium: There’s something about the dark, cool atmosphere that makes the aquarium my favorite summer hangout. In addition to all the cute animals, the aquarium has several interactive play areas that are sure to entertain a group of preschoolers for hours.
- Butterfly Wonderland: Although the Butterfly Conservatory feels a little humid, this is one of those places that makes you feel like you’re on vacation even if you’re only a few miles from home. After dozens of visits, we’ve perfected the ideal itinerary for a preschooler: 9am – arrive at opening to watch the 3D movie, 9:30 – head to the Conservatory to help with koi fish feeding and explore the area (count butterflies, name colors, look for other special animals, etc.), Next – head to the reptile and insect area to check out the unique creatures, and end in the aquatic area at 11am to help with the stingray and shark feeding! If you’re lucky, there may even be a preschool storytime session (free!) at 10am.
- Pinspiration: Do you have an art-loving kiddo, but hate stocking the supplies and cleaning up the mess? Pinspiration is my all-time favorite place to go when we need to get our creativity out. If you look on their website, they even have a section dedicated to kids’ crafts and playdates.