9 Ways We’re playing Outside in July


playing outside in julyI hate the heat. I always think I should be more used to it as a nearly-native to Mesa, but I still hate it, and almost struggle with it even more as I age. 

However, ya’ll know I find it easier to parent outdoors rather than inside, so we continue logging our 1000 hours outside even during the 120 days, with a little extra planning and foresight. (Don’t miss our summer outdoor safety tips to stay hydrated here.) 

So, here’s a few of our go-to, brainless ways we are playing outside in July and August.



  • Butcher Jones Beach at Saguaro Lake

Just 20 minutes from our house is open water friendly enough for a toddler. Butcher Jones gets busy during the weekends, but in the week if you arrive early (since your kids are awake anyways!) It’s pretty steady. 

We pack lawn chairs, sand toys and a picnic lunch and make a morning of it. Mom hack: keep an eye out for the wild horses who sometimes make an appearance. 

  • Early morning park play

I can’t be the only one whose kid wakes up an hour+ early during the summer. We take advantage of it and on park play days we’re at the park by 7/7:30 a.m. so that by the time it’s hot, we’ve logged at least 90 minutes playing outside.

  • Stroller breakfasts

A daily ritual for us in the summers, this helps us get our day started outside without any breakfast delays. Here’s our cheatsheet on starting stroller breakfasts, what works well in the stroller (and what doesn’t). 

  • Swimming 

Duh. And if you don’t have a pool, chances are you have friends who do. One of our contributors has free swim Fridays, where her pool is open to friends and family to come and go as they please to swim every Friday in the summer. Ask your friends–most pool owners are happy to share the water! 

  • Swim lessons and swim team

We keep our weekly, year-round swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School Gilbert in our schedule, but just to keep cool and fill the calendar, we’ve signed up for city parks and rec classes as well. Cities typically offer two week sessions, 4-5 days a week. This is an affordable way to fill the calendar (there’s afternoon/evening classes, too!). 

Growing up, my parents put me in a daily swim team through the City of Mesa, too, which was my first step in loving the spot (and I ended up doing year round competitive swimming through high school).

  • Non-pool water play in the backyard 

playing outside in julyIf you’re like me, and you don’t have a pool, sometimes it can be hard to come up with some easy backyard water play. Here are some of our personal favorites to beat the AZ heat!

  • Day trips to cooler weather hikes

I refuse to hike when it gets warm. So when it starts to get too hot for me, we venture out for day trips or even weekend getaways to cooler weather. Here are a few family friendly hikes we’ve done and love in cooler summer temps.

  • Splash pad play

We replace park playdates with splash pad play dates, and actually I just keep a spare swim suit and swim diaper in my car as part of my summer car kit in case we find ourselves near a splash pad without notice. Here’s our best tips for splash pad etiquette and what to pack for a splash pad playdate. 


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