Make the most of some quality indoor time with these heat wave activities, fun things to do at home, crafts, and more.

By Jennifer Benjamin
Updated March 04, 2019
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Consider summer—and spring or fall, in certain climates—heat wave season. Typically, steamy temps are synonymous with summer fun: lounging poolside with a frosty beverage, catching a local baseball game, grilling hot dogs in the evening sun. When a heat wave hits, though, the last thing you want to do is spend any time outside, not only because it’s uncomfortable, but also because it can be dangerous.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much binge-worthy Netflix you can watch and so many popsicles you can eat before you’ll need to figure out new fun things to do at home, especially if you have kids. And even though you know it’s scorching out, your little ones won’t understand why they can’t just run through the sprinklers for hours on end. So, just as you may have a grab bag of things to do on a rainy day, you’ll want an arsenal of indoor heat wave activities for when the mercury really, really rises.

Well, we have you covered. Whether you’re looking for things to do when bored with friends, finding new ways to entertain the kids, or just want to make the most of your indoor me time, these ideas will help you beat the heat. We even have some heat wave gadgets that are specifically designed to keep you from overheating. And, of course, you’ll want to utilize some of the cool (in certain cases, literally cool) indoor activities your area has to offer—the local movie theater may over-charge for popcorn, but at least it’s air-conditioned.

You can put away the swimsuit, re-store the sunblock, and forget about a day at the local pool. Instead, crank the AC way up (or put several fans on high), keep some ice-cold water handy, and make the most of inside time with indoor activities that will help you forget about the sweltering heat outside.

Yeji Kim

1

Even though your living room couch may not be anywhere near as luxe as a chaise lounge, you can feign like you’re on a summer vacay by whipping up your own hot weather cocktail. Simply blend together fresh juicy watermelon, ice, lime juice, and some sugar to create a watermelon slushy. Serve it as-is to the kids and add a little vodka or tequila to your own glass.

Yeji Kim

2

Are the kids desperate to let out some energy? Give them an indoor agility challenge to complete. You can set up couch cushions as barriers to jump over, hang swinging keys from the ceiling to dodge, and tape yarn back and forth across hallways to create a laser maze. You can even ask them to invent their own courses to keep both their bodies and their minds busy.

Yeji Kim

3

Instead of whipping out the same-old, same-old board games, take a virtual trip to Vegas, baby. With a deck of cards and some chips, you can play blackjack or poker, or get out the dominoes for a game of Mexican Train. You can gamble with real money if you’re playing with friends, use M&Ms with the kids, or just play for fun and pretend there are real stakes.

Yeji Kim

4

If you haven’t seen them, water beads are these squishy plastic orbs that are great for sensory play with kids (and a pretty zen activity for adults as well). They come as tiny, hard beads, but leave them in a bowl of water, and they slowly grow (over several hours) into soft, round balls. The longer they’re in the water, the bigger and bouncier they get. You can leave them in a clear storage container and have your kids just explore with their hands, or they can get into imaginative play with their toys diving on in. If you’re a highly ambitious parent and the container is large enough, your kids can put on their swimsuits and get right into a water bead bath. (You might want to put a few towels around first to catch overflow.)

Yeji Kim

5

Sure, the idea of playing a winter sport when it’s scorching outside seems a little odd, but a frigid indoor activity is the perfect way to beat the summer heat. Search in your area for an indoor ice skating rink, pack some cold weather clothes, and head out for a little icy fun.

Yeji Kim

6

If your kids secretly want to be YouTube stars, this is a great way to get them started on their road to internet stardom. They can write scripts or improvise, play pranks, open gifts—whatever theme interests them. Then you can use an app like VivaVideo or iMovie to cut and paste it into a viral-worthy clip.

Yeji Kim

7

There’s nothing little kids love more than to hole up in a cozy fort. Of course, in the raging heat, they’ll want something less stifling. Try an AirFort! Made out of a breathable polyester fabric, you just attach the thing to a box fan, and it inflates into a spacious tent that hovers above the floor. It’s super cool for an indoor camp-out or just some imaginative fort play.

Yeji Kim

8

Steamy heat wave weather opens up pores and makes for more sweat, which can often create more skin problems like acne. Since you’re staying in, take the opportunity to give yourself the pampering treatment with a purifying clay mask. While it sets, you can stay refreshed by draping a cooling towel around your head or neck. You may also want to make a pitcher of spa-style water with slices of cucumber and lemon for the full effect.

RELATED: This $10 Face Mask Has a Cult Following–And the Before-and-After Photos Prove Why

Yeji Kim

9

You don’t need actual snow to create an epic snowball showdown. Instead, purchase some plush faux snowballs that are soft enough to throw around the house. It’s a great way to stay active indoors, without really breaking a sweat ... or your ceramic vases. When it’s this crazy hot outside, you may find yourself actually missing winter.