The summer heat is upon us, and this means that there may be limits to what you can do outdoors. Not to worry. The Valley of the Sun YMCA has plenty of options available to help you make sure that your family is entertained and active during these hot months. Here are ten tips on how you can keep everyone in your home happy, healthy and cool this summer:

When the sun is in full force, jumping into a pool may be the best option for you to cool down. It’s not only a good way to keep the family entertained, but swimming has countless health benefits, including building endurance and improving muscle and cardiovascular strength. It also helps the kids exert a great deal of energy, which will relax them and make them sleep better. Each Valley of the Sun YMCA branch has a pool for your family to enjoy, and swimming lessons for family members of all ages. All you have to do is come by your local Y or find out more at: https://valleyymca.org/programs-activities/youth/swim/

If you don’t have time to visit the pool, lake or beach, you can keep the kids refreshed this summer by being resourceful with items around your home. Use a wading pool and put in some fun toys and plastic glasses and bowls for everyone to play with. Or break out the sprinklers or water balloons and turn it into a fun game in your yard. If you want to venture out, you can try visiting a splash playground in your area or a local park with fountains or spray pads.

Team sports can be a perfect way to help children improve skills, make new friends, be active with other kids, develop a love of the game and learn about sportsmanship. Our various Y locations across the Valley offer youth basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball and Itty Bitty team options, and they also have courts available for adults. Our adult sports teams can help you be active and social in a fun, supportive environment, while reconnecting with your favorite sport and challenging yourself. To find out more about youth sports, visit: https://valleyymca.org/programs-activities/youth/sports/. For adult sport options, see: https://valleyymca.org/programs-activities/adults/sports/.

While the sun is blazing, you can always hang out in the fresh comfort of your air conditioning and get creative with family fun. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), GetKidsInAction.org and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommend playing a game of hide-and-seek or creating a mini obstacle course with pillows, sheets or boxes. You can also ask the kids to pitch in around the house by vacuuming, making beds or picking up toys, which can help them burn calories, while checking off some items on the family’s chore list.

It’s always fun for kids to get out and interact with people their own ages during the summer. It also allows them to make lasting friendships outside of their school environment, which helps build their social skills. Our Summer Day Camps are packed with themed activities, crafts and games, swimming, sports and field trips under the watchful eyes of fully-trained staff. You can sign your child up for one week of camp or all 10 weeks. Your camper will have the best summer trying new activities, gaining independence and making lasting memories. For more information: https://valleyymca.org/programs-activities/youth/day-camp/

Staying indoors too much can make the entire family stir-crazy, and getting outside may be the only cure for those cabin fever blues. If your family wants to venture outdoors, choose the times wisely. According to the CDC, the hottest time of the day is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest, so it’s best to avoid the outdoors then. When you go outside, make sure that the entire family wears plenty of sunscreen. The general rule of thumb is to use SPF 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection, and to apply about a shot glass full every two hours.

You are never too young or old to start a healthy lifestyle, and the Y offers a variety of fitness classes for people of all ages and abilities. Our Valley of the Sun YMCA branches have youth yoga and group fitness classes to get your children and teens active in a safe and supervised environment. We also have plenty of exercise classes for adults, including studio cycling, circuit training, Zumba, Pilates and yoga, just to name a few. To learn more about fitness options, visit your local branch and ask for a group fitness schedule or select your branch on our website and download it from the “Schedules/Downloads” button.

Spending time as a family is one of the most important things you can do, and there’s no better opportunity to do this than before and during dinner. To keep the kids engaged and healthy this summer, try asking them to help out in the kitchen in age-appropriate ways, like washing vegetables or mixing up salad. Addey Rascon, our Diabetes Prevention Program Director, recommends that fruits and vegetables make up half of your plates at any given meal, with 30 percent vegetables and 20 percent fruit.

There’s no better way to get the family moving than to boogie your days away in a dance class offered at our various Valley of the Sun YMCA locations. The kids can take ballet, hip-hop and dance mix classes, which is a combination of hip hop, break dance and street dance for the youngest enthusiast. There are also plenty of dance classes available for adults. To learn more visit your local branch.

Always remember that water is your best friend this summer, as it can help keep your family cool and hydrated, while helping you avoid any heat-related ailments. The amount of water that a child needs varies by age, weight and gender, but the general consensus is that they should drink at least six to eight cups of water a day. When the kids are out in the hot weather or while they are exercising, they need to drink at least a half cup to two cups of water every 15 to 20 minutes.