If you’re a childcare provider, here are some tips to get ready for summertime play:

1) Ask parents to bring cool clothing to keep on hand

2) Keep the children out of the sun during the hottest time of the day. Good times to play outside in summer are from 9-11 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.

3) Check all outside toys and play structures for loose or missing parts. Do regular cleanings of toys & play structures with eco-friendly cleaner, a scrubby sponge, & a spray hose.

4) Walk your fence line and check for loose or missing boards or nails

5) Check trees with low large limbs for splits which could fall if pulled on

6) Fill water bottles ¾ full the night before and freeze. Have the children make a name label put to on their bottles. Place the bottles in a box or on a tray outside and encourage the kids to drink 2-4 bottles of water each day.

7) If having trouble getting the kids to drink water, add some lemon or orange slices or make kool-aid or juice ice cubes to add to drinking water

8) Serve fruit smoothies, milkshakes or POPSICLES!

9) Coat everyone well with Sunscreen (Have a signed authorization form prior to application)

10) Fire up the sprinkler (if allowed by your licensing agency)

11) Keep a small first aid kit outdoors

12) Encourage bathroom use before going outdoors to prevent children being unsupervised.

13) Create a separate list of outdoor rules i.e. No one leaves the yard, no climbing on the fence, no throwing except for balls, shoes off before reentering the house, etc. Go over the rules the first few days of outdoor play.

14) Do not apply bug repellent to the children unless authorized in writing and requested by parents.

15) If you have your home sprayed for pests, check to make sure that it is safe for children and pets and confirm what precautions you need to take when the children go outdoors after being sprayed.

16) Do not fertilize your plants or lawn during the week, do this on the weekend to allow time for the fertilizer to dissolve.

17) Encourage indoors toys to stay in and outdoor toys to stay out.

18) Offer fun yet messy activities such as sidewalk chalk, finger-painting and play dough.

19) Provide safe outdoor activities such as a child friendly play structure, sand box; ride on toys and balls. Set up sporting stations with a mini basketball hoop or cones for mini soccer games.

20) Keep a cellular or cordless phone outdoors so you can be available to parents as needed, while being able to supervise outdoor play at all times.

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