Keeping Cool in the Summer Heat: Family-Friendly Activities

Whether you spend it inside or in the great outdoors, summer is a tricky season for keeping cool. Excessive heat can be very dangerous, especially for infants and young children. Check out these tips, tricks and activities for staying cool while still having fun in the summer heat. 

Family-Friendly Activities to Beat the Summer Heat

It's hard to believe that in just three short weeks kids will be heading back to school and summer vacation as we know it will be coming to a close. Where has time gone?!

Despite the heat and humidity that has now decided to grace us with its presence at the tail end of summer, its important that we make the most of what time we have left before our normal routine kicks in again.

Today, I'm teaming up with an amazing group of Ontario mommy bloggers to share our favourite ways to beat the summer heat with our little families, and make the most out of what's left of everyone's favourite season.

Check out my little family's four favourite ways to keep it cool this summer. (Then make sure you hop on over to check out Amber, Erica and Kate's tips and favourite activities too!)

Create outdoor water play

For this water-loving toddler of ours, most of the ways to keep cool involve just that, water! From the kiddie pool at the cottage, to the sprinkler in grandpa's backyard and even the lake at grandma and poppa's, Morley is not picky when it comes to where, when or how she plays in the water. Even the bath will do.

A refillable kiddie pool is one of our favourite ways to stay cool during the summer heat. Fill it up, toss in a random assortment of toys, throw up an umbrella and watch your water baby come to life. Bathing suits optional, of course.

Family-Friendly Activities to Beat the Summer Heat

>> Related article: Tips for Keeping Baby Cool in the Summer Heat

If you don't have the space for a kiddie pool, check out a local city pool or community centre near you for open swim times.

*Remember, never leave young children unattended near the water.

Visit a local splash pad

No backyard? No problem. The perfect alternative quick place for your children to enjoy the cool water on a hot and sunny day is at a local splash pad. Splash pads are unsupervised water play areas and are conveniently located in many parks and playgrounds. They often include engaging water features such as shower heads and spray jets that keep children laughing for hours. 

Splash pads, and even lawn sprinklers, are a beneficial form of outdoor play for your tot, helping develop their coordination as they run through, dodge and grab at the water and their problem solving skills as they need to learn how to turn the water on and what spray or water head it will come from next.

Family-Friendly Activities to Beat the Summer Heat

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but there are so many new and exciting splash and spray pads popping up in Toronto, including one just around the corner from our house! Ever since Morley figured out how to turn the water on, there's no stopping her (or getting her to leave at the end of our visit).

Eat a cool treat

Enjoy a tasty, cool treat in the shade. What's your go-to? Is it ice cream, homemade popsicles or watermelon? Morley's really not too picky, and is known to dabble in all three.

Family-Friendly Activities to Beat the Summer Heat

And, if all else fails...

Stay indoors

I know, I know, staying indoors seems against what summer is all about. But sometimes when the mercury is rising, staying indoors is a much needed relief. And, who said you can't have fun indoors anyways?! Staying in doesn't mean staying home. Instead, visit your local library, science centre or aquarium for lots of fun and learning, in the air conditioning. One of our favourite indoor spaces in Toronto to visit is Ripley's Aquarium of Canada.

>> Related article: Family-Friendly Indoors Destinations in Toronto

Family-Friendly Activities to Beat the Summer Heat

Don't forget to check out these other fabulous mamas and their tips, tricks and activities here: Emmett's ABCsAnna Georgianna and Bird of Balance.

How do you keep cool in the summer heat? I'd love to hear!

Family Travel Made Easy with Happytrails from MEC

Whether you’re hiking a trail, going for a stroll around the block or just limited on space, a child carrier backpack is the way to go for comfort, affordability and convenience.

MEC Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack Review

I love our Bob Revolution stroller. I really do. Up to this point in our parenting journey, I can't imagine what it would be like with any other stroller. I really can't. It's rugged, it's durable and it's comfortable for baby.

But sometimes, it just doesn't do the trick.

Like, for example, when we're hiking.

Although rugged itself, our stroller just isn't suitable for rugged trails.  The ups and downs, bumps and dips, are just too much for it to handle. Our feet do a much better job. 

But, seeing as Morley is our outdoor adventure companion, not haven something for her to travel with us in just isn’t an option. Instead, we need an alternative when we need to ditch the stroller.

>> Related article: Benefits of Outdoor Play

MEC Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack Review

Enter MEC's Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack. The solution to our dilemma.

Made from aluminum and 420-denier nylon, this carrier features a real backpack suspension system – with a lushly padded hipbelt and a shoulder strap attachment point that is infinitely adjustable for any user up to 183cm (72 inches) in height – making your child easier to carry on the trails, or wherever your adventures take you.

The 5-point child-restraint harness keeps your child safe and secure, with fleece straps for added comfort. The diaper bag clips off to become a daypack. The carrier also includes a removable sun hood, which doubles in keeping the child's head dry if it rains. Maximum passenger weight is 23kg (51lbs.). (This carrier is intended only for children who can sit upright unsupported.)

MEC Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack Review

Our Happytrails carrier got a lot of use on a recent visit to the family cottage, and Flowerpot Island where strollers were not recommended.  It met rain, it met sun, it met gravel roads and rugged trails. It also met full of energy little girl that can fall asleep just about anywhere. 

Since dad and poppa did most of the carrying, here are their thoughts on MEC's Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack. 

Dad says,

Likes: The removable rain/sun hood, which comes standard, is key. In the woods, we didn't need to worry about the sun, but the hood came in handy for keeping the branches off of Morley's face as we hiked the trail on Flowerpot Island. When it started to drizzle, the cover did a job at keeping her head dry. (However, if it were to rain harder, other parts of her body that were exposed would get wet. A rain jacket would be needed if it were to rain.) We loved the lower cargo bag, which can be removed and used as a small daypack. There was the perfect amount of storage space for a day hike. 

Dislikes: None.

MEC Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack Review

Poppa says,

Likes: The carrier allows you to balance the weight. You can adjust the straps accordingly so that it does not pull on your shoulders, and instead put the weight on your hips. The removable sunshield is definitely needed to help keep some sun off the child. The collapsible kickstand makes it easy to set the carrier down on the ground without the worry of it toppling over when the child is still strapped in. 

Dislikes: The carrier only comes in one colour (navy blue, pictured), so a variety of colours to chose from, or a more neutral colour, would be nice. Adding a water bottle holder would be handy for older children so that they could take a drink whenever needed. 

MEC Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack Review

Tech Specs

Weight: 3 kg / 6.6 lbs
Volume: 18 L
Widtht: 36 cm / 14 inches
Length: 74 cm / 29 inches
Max carrying capacity: 23 kg / 51 lbs

Price: $159.00 ARV (Canadian dollars). Available online or in store.  

Additional information: Replace sun/rain hoods available.

MEC Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack Review


Getting your little one exposed to the outdoors will be a fun experience for the entire family. By opting for a carrier instead of a stroller, you will be able to explore the outside world in a whole new way! 

The Happytrails Child Carrier from MEC is an affordable option for anyone in need of a child carrier. Despite the low cost, it is extremely durable and comfortable for both adult and child. This little family gives it two thumbs up! Or, in the case of the photo above, two eyes closed.

What's one thing that you can't live without when traveling with children? I'd love to hear!

Disclaimer: To & Fro was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% that of To & Fro. We are simply sharing a product that we love.