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/