Like most of the nation, we have been experiencing a heat wave; temperatures in the 90s and 100s for more than a week.  This could have wrecked havoc in the recreational program for children with disabilities I have been coordinating, as the lovely van of previous posts is our mode of transportation.  Said van does not have air conditioning, or, should I say, any little amount of cool air that would have come out of the sickly air conditioner is quickly usurped by vast, oppressive hot air lingering in the air and not felt beyond the driver.

So, I like to play a little game called “Heat Wave?  What Heat Wave”.  Firstly, before I leave work for the evening, I freeze water bags half full.  (At the Dollar Store I purchase cute, brightly colored little bags which one fills with water. With its carabiner hook, they easily attach to a child’s belt loop.) In the morning, using my intuitive powers of observation, I do not park it in a SHADY spot because at the time of the day we will be leaving, that spot will be sunny.  I calculate where the sun will be and which spots WILL be shady, and I park there.  This enables our little group to later enter a van that has not been cooking in the sun.  I pass out the water bags filled to the top, and attach them to each of the kiddos.  (It is easy for them to find if it is attached!)  Then, as the van commences transportation, which, by necessity, includes entering the sunny zone of the freeways,the anti-heat games begin…

* Playing the “Hot Potato” game…(HOT potato…get it?) students pass around this musical icon.  The original goal is the person who is holding the “hot potato” when the music stops is “out” of the game.  In our game, the person who  is holding the “hot potato” when the music stops gets sprayed with water from a spray bottle!  Now, instead of quickly forcing the item onto the next person so as not to be out, the students take their time passing it, hoping to “win” a spray.  (The seat configuration of the van, in a rectangle, facing each other, is very conducive to this particular rendition of the game.)  This not only cools everyone off, but is also a fun game to play, with lots of laughing and joyful sounds!

* Dancing to the beat of the music, played loudly.  For those who know me and my pension for dancing in the van, this is just an extension of this specialty. The children all bounce and bop, clap and cheer along to their favorite music.  (I, of course, as the driver, save my van dancing for in private, instead choosing to pay attention to driving this precious cargo.)  This creative, exercise inducing activity keeps the kiddos happy and entertained.  After a few songs, as the sweat drenches down their little brows, they take a drink of that ice cold water, and ask for more music, and to TURN IT UP LOUDER!

Good ole fashion water gun play.  Yes, I let them use water guns; small ones that don’t shoot a heavy stream of water.  I keep about 20 filled ones on board, so that when one gun is empty, it can be passed down for another one. (Lest you think the water must get all over the van, need I remind you that it is 100 degrees and any water turns into steam…)

The finale of the trip is arriving at our air conditioned destination, be it the pool, the library, the movies or the mall. Just the sight of the destination is enough to make everyone forget the heat, and to file off the van with great expectations of what is to come.  Of course, after I drop them off, I still have to look for a parking spot in the place where there WILL BE no sun…let’s see…how long will we be there?


Link to my book


The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane

Link to the Readers Digest review of my book:  http://www.rd.com/recommends/what-to-read-after-a-hurricane/



Comments on: "Heat Wave? What Heat Wave?" (35)

  1. Brilliant! I am going totally going to try those!

  2. What a special Mama to make life fun for your brood. No wonder God gave you these special kids. They are so blessed! :))

  3. Such great ideas! Especially the one about finding a parking spot that will be in the sun once you get back to the van. I’ll have to try that one out in the not so distant future.

  4. Love this blog!

  5. Excellent! Love the creative thinking!

  6. how wonderfully creative

  7. These are all great ideas and so creative!

  8. I love it………We have had some pretty awesome water fights ourselves but not in the vehicle LOL

  9. songtothesirens said:

    I really liked your post! I think it is wonderful that you have put together a summer program for disabled children! More people should become involved with the disabled either mentally or physically. They have so much to teach us about living, in my humble opinion.

    They are so often just overlooked as people that can’t do things like go to the pool, the mall, or the movies. In fact, they can, and sometimes I think they enjoy things more than the so-called “normal” people because in many cases, they don’t have that “etiquette” training that we all get from society. They are free to just be.

    I like the games you play to distract everyone including the driver from the heat. We went through ours about mid-June, and now we are getting rain for the first time in 4 or 5 years! And they say climate change isn’t happening….

    Anyway, just wanted to give you kudos for being you and for the compassion you show for people who frequently get very little. I know it stems from being the parent to disabled children, but you are definitely paying it forward. 🙂

  10. some great ideas there

    we’re sweltering in unseasonably hot weather here in the UK

    the M.D. of our company, despite the oppressive heat, has refused to allow us to wear shorts instead of trousers at work

    wonder how he’d react if we played your version of the hot potato game in the office 😆

  11. You have the most interesting blog on the net! What incredibly creative solutions for what could become a “grumbling problem”. Your kiddos are so lucky to have someone who cares so much about their welfare.

  12. I would like to be in your van. Water play is so much fun and I love your creative solutions.

  13. You are a genius. The kids must love you. I hope I’m that creative when I become a parent.

  14. Very creative. And to think to park the car will the shade will be- savvy!

  15. These are fun ways to stay cool in this crazy heat. I will definitely try these out with my kids!

  16. What I love about your blog – you always sound so positive and upbeat. Great ideas, and I’ll bet the kids had a fantastic time with you 🙂

  17. You are brilliant! I love reading you and getting a heartwarming chuckle from your experiences. 🙂

  18. wow you are so inventive.

    well done. I love these ideas.

    Blessings! maria and Joe chapman Email, iMessage & fb: bubbygirl1972@gmail.com twitter: bubbygirl

  19. Such a clever idea yet so simple!

  20. Excellent turn around of a crappy situation! Bravo!

  21. I just nominated you for the WordPress Family Award! 🙂

  22. My family lucked out. We headed to OR and WA states to visit family just in time. We missed all of the 100+ degree days and came back on Sat. evening just as the temps broke. My family with our three medically fragile kids lucked out! I love your games, and we may have to steal the ice pack idea. Till now, we’ve used my cooling stuff for MS for both me and my daughter (heart issues).

    • You are lucky you traveled to cooler weather. You must really have your hands full with your kiddos. I have never fostered a child who was medically fragile. I suspect it is tremendously more stressful than my children. God Bless you!!!!

      • Medically fragile adds some more paper work, but I know most of the draining, hard parts are from the parenting work. Sometimes the need for approval to do common sense things like using a children’s Tylenol are annoying, but the hard parts are the same: “Go to bed” “Bath time”, “We don’t yell at the table” and “we need to brush your teeth” are the same issues every parent can face. Even the gross shoving poo under the door trick could happen with any parent. The plugging in of a feeding tube and setting to run or even replacing a g-tube all become second nature for the parents as well as the kids. That’s not hard, and it’s a small trade off for the kids not moving in and out of foster homes as frequently. For me, my kids have taught me how to deal with my MS because I watch all they overcome realizing I should be tougher…like them.

  23. Great tale! Thanks for sharing. Coincidentally I wrote about days when we had no A/C. It was a long time ago but, if you have a moment, you might take some pleasure in that. http://legacytales.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/air-conditioning/

  24. Walter Boomsma said:

    Reblogged this on Brain leaks and musings and commented:
    I couldn’t resist re-posting this for a bunch of reasons… it’s written by a positive person who’s pretty creative, for one thing…

  25. You are so creative. I remember the long drives with my grandchildren when I would encourage them to create a band my singing the sound of their favorite instrument. They would drum, toot, trill and sometimes sing. The more raucous the better as they passed the miles with laughter and joy. Hmmm….maybe I should do my own band to shorten the miles as I travel to visit them now.

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