Summer is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to learn a few new tricks to keep up your sleeve to make the best of those long hot days. With that in mind, I’m sharing some of my all-time favorite summer hacks. Just keep reading to check them out!
Genius Summer Hacks for a Healthier & Happier Season
From natural ways to avoid mosquito bites to tips for picking the perfect juicy watermelon, we’re talking genius summer hacks that will make this season healthier and happier for everyone in your family.
One quick note- I used affiliate links below for some recommended products. If you buy anything through those links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!
1. Use these wristbands to keep mosquitos away without chemicals…
Let’s start with the bane of everyone’s summer existence: mosquitos! Very little ruins a fun day faster than finding yourself covered in itchy bug bites, right? Before you douse your kids (or yourself) in chemical-laden sprays, try a more natural approach. I love these little wristbands. They’re DEET-free, waterproof, and reusable.
2. …or make your own all-natural mosquito repellent spray!
If you need a little extra protection (or just don’t really like the wrist bands for whatever reason), you can also make your own all-natural mosquito repellent. Just mix 1 teaspoon of lemon eucalyptus oil into 1/4 cup of your favorite carrier oil (coconut oil is my top pick because it’s cheap, easy to find, and gentle on the skin). There are other recipes out there using different essential oils but lemon eucalyptus is actually on the CDC’s list of EPA-registered insect repellents.
3. Find natural itch relief in your fridge or pantry
If you reach for a storebought cream to help relieve itching from bug bites or poison ivy, you may want to read this study. Too much cortisone (the most common ingredient in those creams) can cause some pretty scary side effects! Fortunately, there are plenty of natural itch relief options right in your pantry or fridge.
For severe cases of itchiness, nothing beats a good old-fashioned oatmeal bath. Just make sure you get colloidal oatmeal, it dissolves better in the water. For mild localized itches (like a bug bite), a dab of honey can do wonders! Other remedies include making a paste out of baking soda and water or dabbing a little skin-safe tea tree oil on it.
4. Switch to mineral sunscreen
Traditional sunscreen may keep your skin safe from the sun’s dangerous UV rays, but that protection comes at a cost. Many of the big-name brands contain chemicals that rank high on the EWG Skin Deep Database (and high is bad in this case). We’re talking about ingredients that can disrupt your hormones, penetrate your skin and leech into your entire system, and more. Scary stuff!
That’s why I only use mineral sunscreens for my family. Even my pediatrician agreed that they’re a better option. I’m a big fan of Babo Botanicals. Check out my post on protecting your family from the sun naturally to learn more about their mineral-based options.
5. Build a better campfire with laundry lint & empty TP rolls.
Here’s a strange little summer hack that really does work: use laundry lint stuffed into empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls to get your campfire started. Check out the video below for a simple tutorial on making your own firestarter logs.
6. Save time & money by making infused water by the gallon
Sure, those trendy water-infuser bottles look super cute on Instagram, but they’re a total waste of time, space, and energy if you drink a lot of infused water. Instead, grab one of those big glass jugs that you use to make sun tea. You know, the kind with a spout on the bottom. Fill it with fresh water, toss in your favorite fruits, and let it sit in the fridge overnight to really absorb the flavors. When you’re ready to drink it, just pour it from the spout. It’ll catch all the fruit bits so they don’t end up floating around your water.
7. Make grab-and-grill dinners for busy nights
Here’s an easy hack for grilling up delicious meals even on days where you’re way too busy to prep and marinate everything. Once a week put together some quick “grab and go” foil pack meals for your whole family. Then on those busy nights, just grab a few and throw them on the grill. Many of these 20 delicious summer grill recipes can easily be turned into foil packet meals.
8. Throw a little sage on the fire after you’re done grilling
I saw this tip on Healthy Holistic Living, except they recommend making sage bundles to keep bugs away. Sure, you can do that, but it’s easier to just toss some dried sage on your grill (or in your campfire). Rosemary, basil, lavender, and peppermint work too. Plus they all smell so delicious!
9. Use solar power to keep your phone charged
Keep your phone charged at the beach or on your family hike by harnessing the power of the one thing that’s never in short supply during the summer- the sun. That way, if there’s an emergency, you’ll never have to rush around trying to find a payphone (which I’m not entirely sure even exist anymore) to call for help. Check out my post on essential gadgets and beach gear for more great summer hacks like this.
10. Swap out your winter emergency car bag with one for summer
If you live in states that actually experience winter (unlike me), then chances are you have some sort of “emergency bag” in your car in case you get stuck in the snow somewhere far away from civilization. Well, getting stuck in the middle of nowhere in the sweltering heat is just as dangerous.
Stock a second bag (or swap out your winter one) with essentials like bottled water, a second solar charger (one that stays in the bag), a reflective blanket for shade, and some snacks that can withstand a bit of heat. Think nuts and trail mix (the kind without chocolate, of course). Keep it next to your year-round emergency car kit (I like this one).
11. Grow your own sunburn relief…
Even the most diligent sunscreen user ends up getting a little extra-crispy from time to time. It seems like there’s always that one spot that you miss. You know that aloe is the best treatment for a painful burn, right? Sure, you could buy a big bottle of it to keep under your sink, but why not just grow your own? It’s one of the easiest plants to care for, and you can even turn it into a fun summer project for the whole family.
12….or make soothing aloe cubes in your freezer!
If you’re not really excited about tending to a plant all summer long and really just want to take the easy route, then go ahead and buy that big jug of organic aloe. While you’re at it, get an extra ice-cube tray. Fill the tray with aloe and pop it in the freezer. The combination of aloe and the coldness is a million times more soothing than one or the other alone! Sometimes I don’t even use it for sunburn, but just as a quick and easy way to cool down on a really hot day!
13. Make your own super cute drink holders for your backyard or the beach
I found this absolutely genius summer hack over on Positively Splendid. She covered a used (but clean) soup can with colorful fabric and drilled a hole in the bottom of the can. She used a nail to create a “stake.” Then, stick the stake in the ground and your drink inside the can. Voila, instant cup holder!
14. Pick the perfect watermelon every time
Want to make sure you’re always buying just the juiciest and most delicious melon? Pay attention to the color of the stripes. Look for the melons with the deepest green stripes. Lighter strips mean they were picked too soon, and there’s NO way to ripen a watermelon once it’s been picked. So if you choose wrong, you’re stuck with it. Check out more tips for picking a ripe watermelon.
15. Skip storebought slushies and make your own instead
Those slushies that come from convenient store machines are SOOOOO bad for you. They’re basically pure frozen sugar with a little artificial flavoring tossed in. Make your own healthier versions in five minutes with my instant magic slushies trick. It’s so easy, even your kids can do it. They’ll have a blast coming up with fun new flavors, too.
16. Spice things up to cool down fast
There’s a reason why countries south of the equator have so many famous spicy dishes. Hot and spicy foods actually cool you off faster than ice cream and cold drinks because the heat triggers your body’s natural air conditioning system (sweat). So, if you can tolerate it, go ahead and make those BBQ wings extra hot, or try adding a bit more heat to these 1Easy Keto & Paleo-Friendly Summer Recipes.
17. Make these cooling leis from sponges!
Here’s another cheap way to cool down fast: let your kids make these cute little leis out of sponges! Check out the video below for tips on how to make them.
18. Freeze water balloons for a cheap and pretty way to keep drinks cool
Make a cheap DIY cooler that turns into a fun party activity as the day goes on. Just fill and freeze water balloons, then put them in your drink bucket. They’ll keep your drinks cool for hours! When they thaw out, use them for a water balloon fight.
19. Make a DIY Ball Pit for Kids
Speaking of water balloons…use them to turn a kiddie pool into a fun ball pit! Fill the pool halfway with water, then toss in a bunch of filled water balloons. Let your kids stomp on them, squish them, or just “lounge” on them until they pop. It’s a whole lot safer than letting them play in a real ball pit (you never know what you’ll find in those, blech!).
20. Fill your freezer with healthier ice pops for your kids
We rarely (and by rarely, I mean almost never, ever ever) buy ice pops from the store. First, they’re usually full of artificial ingredients. Second, why would you want to waste money on something that you can very easily make yourself for A LOT less money! I use real fruit (both sliced and juiced) and coconut water for mine. Check out my tutorial for making healthier ice pops for your kids to see how I do it.
I hope you enjoyed the summer hacks and found a few new ideas to try with your own family this year. You may also love my list of 10 Creative, Fun & Affordable Family-Friendly Activities for Summer. There’s something for every budget, including ideas that don’t even require leaving your home.
Last update on 2022-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API