Things to Do with Boston Kids to Cool Off This Summer

It’s hot out there. Some people are lucky enough to have central AC and a pool, but if you’re like the rest of us, you’re desperately looking for things to do with the kids that involve air conditioned spaces or splashing around in the water. I’ve mined Mommy Poppins Boston for ways to stay cool during the dog days of summer – read on for ideas aplenty.


Play indoors. The heat may make you lethargic, but the kids still seem to have plenty of energy. Let them play while you relax in the AC at an indoor play space for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Your kids can play, build and even go on rides at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston. Other great options are Open Jump at Jump On In and Toddler Town at the Marina Bay Sports Complex.  There are also several fun indoor playgrounds North of Boston and a handful of sweet play spaces South of Boston

See a movie under the stars. Enjoy the evening breeze while you watch a free outdoor movie or experience a slice of Americana pie at a drive-in movie.

Head for the hills. The Blue Hills, that is. Explore nature indoors and out at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum and go for a swim in Houghton's Pond. 

Escape in a good book. There's something blissful about snuggling up with your little one and a good book in the AC. Between concerts in the courtyard (with shaded seating), terrific summer programs, and the fabulous new Children's Room, we would happily go to the Boston Public Library every day in summer. Local bookstores and toy stores also offer storytimes and other fun activities for kids. Whether you go to the library or a bookstore, look for titles by these local authors!

Have it made in the shade. Spend hours at a playground with shade (some of them have water features, too). The Arnold Arboretum also provides an abundance of shelter from the sun.  

Visit a National Park right here in Boston. The ferry ride over to the Boston Harbor Islands is breezy even on the hottest of days. To stay cool on the islands, linger at the indoor exhibits, explore the cool, dark corners of the fort on Georges Island, and go for a swim on Spectacle Island

Join the maker movement. Kids get to create and build something amazing at Boston area makerspaces. Einstein's Workshop, Parts & Crafts, and Hatch (run by Watertown Library at the Arsenal Project) have drop-in hours during the summer. 

Get hands-on at a museum. The Boston Children's Museum and the Museum of Science are obvious choices. But if you want to try something different, find cool things to do with kids at the MFA,  meet a robot at the MIT Museum, or kick a field goal in The Hall at Patriot Place

Have a cold one. For a sweet, frosty treat, stop at one of our favorite ice cream and frozen yogurt shops.

Go shopping. The local malls have destination stores like American Girl Place, Build-a-Bear and LEGO, where your kids will likely want to hang out for a while. There’s also a play area in Burlington Mall for little ones. If the malls aren’t your thing, The Curious George Store in Harvard Square is definitely worth a visit, and Henry Bear's Park offers summer events and workshops. For other stores with fun activities and play spaces for kids, take a look at my post about shopping with kids

Cooking? Fuhgiddaboudit. Instead, pick up some pizza and ice cream after you visit the DeCordova, Boston Public Library, or the Blue Hills Trailside Museum. You can also combine dining and diversion at a restaurant where the meal is the entertainment

Get creative in the kitchen with your kids. A good meal doesn’t have to involve cooking over the hot stove. Visit our Good Food Stuff board on Pinterest for creative, no-cook meal ideas.

Splash! The Frog Pond, Christian Science Plaza, and Greenway all have water features for the kids to cool off. There are plenty more wading ponds and spray parks around the city, too. 


Take a look at our Indoor Fun Guide and Summer Fun Guide for even more ideas to have fun and stay cool. 

Originally published July 2013

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