The dog days of summer have settled in and it's too hot to play outside all day. This leaves the kids with lots of energy to burn. Here are 15 easy ways to entertain the kids and keep cool at the same time.

  1. Movie marathon . Let the kids enjoy a movie marathon in the comfort of the house. Make popcorn or cool off with some ice cream while you enjoy relaxing and watching movies through the hottest part of the day. Often theaters have summer dollar movies just for kids that make a great and affordable break from the heat of the day.

  2. Get crafty. Paint, sculpt with play dough or make bead bracelets. Allow the kids to get creative by making their own scrapbook or by finding items in your recycle bin that they can make into works of art.

  3. Library trip . Take the kids to the library and find some great books and movies to check out. When you get home, spend some time relaxing and reading.

  4. Indoor play. Check local listings for open gyms, indoor playgrounds or other fun indoor activities where the kids can run and play without getting overheated.

  5. Cool treats. Who doesn't love a cool treat when it's sweltering outside? Enjoy some ice cream or popsicles with the kids. For extra fun, try making your own.

  6. Put on a show. Have the kids work together to perform a play, puppet show or dance routine.

  7. Play a typical outdoor game inside. Try playing hide-and-seek, hopscotch or jump rope inside.

  8. Picnic. Have an indoor picnic in the living room since it's too hot to eat outside.

  9. Home science. Try a science experiment at home. Create your own volcano, mix food coloring or make a balloon rocket to teach the kids about science in the cool of indoors. Pinterest is loaded with easy activities to enthrall your children.

  10. Make cookies. Make no-bake cookies so that you do not have to turn on the oven.

  11. Get out early or late. Run errands or play outside early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are cooler.

  12. Build a fort. Have the kids make a fort with pillows and blankets for some indoor fun. A small fan can also help keep them cool and keep their blankets aloft.

  13. Race track. Use masking tape to make a race track on the floor. Then let kids make believe they are play cars and see who "drives" the fastest.

  14. Ice. Make a block of ice in advance. Create your own art by putting the ice on a rimmed cookie sheet or shallow pan and using salt and food coloring to melt the ice. You can also freeze things in the ice and let the kids play with the small toys as they fall out.

  15. Get wet. If your kids have to go outside then the obvious place to keep cool is in the water. Take the kids to the pool, splash pad or water park. Get out the sprinkler, baby pool or water table in the backyard. Try having a water balloon fight.


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Sarah Lyons is a proud mother of six kids, including triplets, who writes from her home in suburban Kansas City.