How to Beat the Heat with Kids on Long Island | Long Island Family Photographer

We have been having an incredible heat wave the past couple of weeks here in New York. The temperatures combined with the humidity have made it challenging to leave the house for more than a few minutes. You can imagine how well that goes over with two restless kids during the summer! We are a family that likes to spend a lot of time outside, so I have had to get creative  and come up with some activities we can do that won't make everyone keel over from heatstroke. Here are ten ways that we have been beating the heat here on Long Island.

1. Long Island Children's Museum

Open seven days a week during the summer, LICM has dozens of fun activities for kids inside, from bubbles, to a sand area, to blocks, to a climbing structure. During the summer, they also have a water play are outdoors.

2. Roosevelt Field

Yep, that's right. THE MALL. I have two words for you: CENTRAL AIR. Roosevelt Field is a large, lovely mall with plenty of space for the kids to run off their energy (in the air conditioning!). We love to come here for lunch sometimes - the food court is big and bright, has high chairs, and a wide variety of good food options to choose from. I enjoy coming here in the mornings, too, before the stores even open, to walk around and get some exercise without dying from the heat. Also, Jamba Juice is open early!

3. Panera

Its basically common knowledge that our family is obsessed with Panera. Its a great place to dine with kids - they have a good kids menu, have high chairs, and are tolerant to mess and noise. My kids love the grilled cheese sandwiches. We go here at least once a week. We usually combine a trip to Panera with a trip to Target or Barnes & Noble - two other air conditioned places! Check with your local Barnes & Noble for the weekly Storytime schedule and events! 

4. Go out for Frozen Yogurt (or Ice Cream)

We have a frozen yogurt shop right down the street, which has been great for an easy, close-to-home outing. And they have the best salted caramel flavor! 

5. The Beach

Even going to the beach can be challenging on a really hot day, but we will often go for a short time and spend as much time as possible in the water. If I am by myself with the kids, I go to the north shore where I don't have to worry about big waves. Our favorite north shore beaches close to us are Sands Point Preserve and Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park (bathrooms, snack shop and playground here!). If I have another adult with me, we will go to Jones Beach or Lido Beach on the south shore. We bought one of these umbrellas last year, and it has been a lifesaver on hot days!

6. Sprinklers or Kiddie Pool

For an easy at-home cool-down, nothing beats the sprinkler or the kiddie pool! 

7. Once Upon a Treetop

There is an awesome indoor playspace in Plainview called Once Upon A Treetop. Lots of different activities available and a huge climbing structure. The whole area is gated, which makes keeping track of multiple children much easier! There is a lunch room where you can take a break and eat a bag lunch. This is also a great spot to go on a rainy day!

8. The Library

Our library has an awesome children's room with lots of toys to play with, and of course a fantastic selection of books. Check with your local branch for kids events, classes and story times.

9. Stay Home!

Our favorite at-home activities at the moment are drawing, making popsicles, playing board games, making origami, and drawing along with the app Muffalo Potato (thanks for the recommendation, Michele!).

10. When all else fails, fill up the bath, and throw them in!

Its amazing how novel the bath becomes when you fill it up in the middle of the day, instead of right before bed! Logan is currently obsessed with numbers and letters, so these are a favorite in the bath.

I hope these give you some ideas of things to do with your own kiddos, and help you survive the last few weeks of this hot summer before school starts. Good luck and stay cool!

Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. Head over to her Facebook page to see more of her recent work at, or follow her on Instagram @francescarnyc. If you are looking for a photographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family's story in photos or a film, please contact her for a session!