11 Indoor Outings for When It’s Blazing Hot

I love getting outside with my girls, going on walks, visiting parks, and letting them roam on the grass.

But in the summer, it’s just too hot here to go outside during the day for any period of time. Within minutes, my girls are sporting rosy cheeks and sweaty heads.

The pool or a splash pad is usually a good idea, but I don’t always want to get completely changed into swimwear and then back into regular clothes, deal with washing pool towels and hanging up suits to dry afterward.

So here are ten places we like to go when our first priority is some decent air-conditioning:

  • The Library

    The Library

    This is a classic, and for this former librarian, it’s a no-brainer. We are at our library’s storytime every week, and sometimes more often, if we need a break from our own books and living room. We also visit nearby libraries and check out their selection.

  • Start Your Own Music Group

    Last year, I started a music group for other toddlers in our neighborhood. It was a huge hit and one of our favorite weekday afternoon activities.

    Get instructions on how to start your own here

  • IKEA


    If you have an IKEA nearby, it’s a fantastic place to spend an afternoon. Plus, many of them have free kids meals once a week (which means almost every Tuesday, you can find us there!)

  • The Pet Store

    The Pet Store

    This is like the poor man’s zoo. My toddler is fascinated by animals and it doesn’t matter to her how big or small the store is. And if there are dogs being groomed? It’s like heaven on earth.

  • Play Dates

    Play Dates

    Last summer, a friend and I set up a standing play date on Tuesday afternoons. We switched back and forth between our houses and it was a great chance for our little ones to practice sharing and also play with some new toys. Plus, we got to chat for 90 minutes.

  • A Sports Store

    A Sports Store

    The first time my husband took my toddler along, I thought she’d be bored stiff. Two hours later, she came back talking about the bikes they’d ridden, the helmets they’d tried on, and the mini-golf they’d played at a display stand.

  • A Movie

    When it’s 106 outside, going somewhere you need a sweater seems like a complete luxury. Lots of theaters do free or $1 movies during the summer for children. And Michelle wrote a great post about how to take your little one to a theater.

    Check out Michelle's Tips

  • A Toy Store

    A Toy Store

    The local toy store is perfect for my little girls – they love checking out the new toys, attending the little activity times that it hosts, and it’s good practice for not always getting something you want.

  • Fast Food Play Place

    Fast Food Play Place

    We don’t eat a lot of fast food, so this is a special treat for my toddler. And playing on the indoor play equipment is the best part of all.

  • The Bookstore

    The Bookstore

    Almost every Barnes & Noble I’ve ever been to has a train table, and since we don’t have one at home, this provides endless entertainment to my toddler. And I can sit in a chair and read while she plays. Win-win!

  • And if All Else Fails. . .Target

    And if All Else Fails. . .Target

    There is this Disney Princess shopping cart at Target that my toddler loves. As soon as we enter the store, she makes a bee-line for it and then pushes it around the entire time. She’d stay all afternoon if I let her.

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