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Today is June 24

Kid-friendly staycation ideas

Adults may see staycations as great opportunities to catch up on summer reading and finish projects around the house. Children, however, may not always approach time off at home with that same enthusiasm.

Parents confronted with the challenge of keeping kids happy and engaged during staycations can try these kid-friendly ideas to ensure everyone enjoys their time off, even if the bulk of it is spent at home.

· Hit the carnival circuit. Traveling carnivals are a staple of summer in many small communities. These special events feature rides, games and, of course, food. Families can make a night of it at a nearby carnival (one is no doubt within driving distance on just about any night in July and August). Budget-conscious staycationers can attend carnivals on bracelet nights, when both adults and kids can typically enjoy endless rides for one set price as opposed to having to purchase tickets for each individual ride.

· Find a place to swim. Whether it’s a nearby lake or a day at the ocean, a weekday afternoon spent swimming is a great way to remind the family that a staycation is still a vacation. If swimming in a lake or in the ocean is not possible and you don’t have the luxury of a backyard pool, purchase an inflatable pool (or two) that the whole family can enjoy.

· Embrace your inner artists. Parents can visit a local arts and crafts store and spend a day painting or making projects with their children. Choose a theme, like making jewelry or painting a family portrait, and then exchange your masterpieces or create a family art exhibit when the session is over.

· Go fishing. Fishing can be a fun activity for the whole family and a great way to get out of the house without breaking the bank. Create a competition to see who can catch the most and/or the biggest fish. If you catch fish that you’re allowed to take home, involve the whole family in making a delicious fish dinner that night.

Staycations can be fun for the whole family, especially when parents take time to organize a host of kid-friendly activities.

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Protect pets in hot weather

Warm weather brings many changes. Warm weather can make travel more enjoyable and affords people more time to comfortably enjoy the great outdoors.

It’s best to keep safety in mind when soaking up the sun. That’s important for all members of the family, including pets. Cats and dogs are as susceptible to heat-related illnesses as their human companions.

Recognize heat stroke

Pets can suffer from heat stroke, according to the American Red Cross. Certain breeds of dogs are highly susceptible, particularly those with short snouts, such as pugs and bulldogs. Excessive exercise in hot weather, lack of appropriate shelter outdoors and leaving a dog in a hot car may precipitate an episode of heat stroke. It’s important to get the pet out of direct heat right away and check for signs of shock, which include seizures, a body temperature of 104 F or higher, stupor, increased heart rate, or excessive panting. Placing water-soaked towels on the pet’s feet, head, neck, and abdomen can bring down its temperature.

Be cautious of hot surfaces

Humans wear shoes on their feet for protection, but pets do not have that luxury. Think about how hot your feet can feel when you scurry barefoot across hot sand en route to the shoreline or to cross a deck to get to the pool. When the sun beats down on surfaces, those surface temperatures rise quickly. According to a 2010 study by Liberty Home and Pet Services, at peak afternoon sun and an ambient temperature of 95 F in southern Florida, the temperature of cement was measured at 125 F, red brick at 135 F, blacktop at 140 F, and grass at 102 F. Individuals who think a car is safer for their dog or cat may be surprised the informal study measured 152 F on seat surfaces.

Provide extra water

It’s likely you will need to fill your pets’ water bowls more frequently in warm weather than during other times of the year. Be sure to provide constant access to fresh water, even for young puppies who may be learning to house train.

Avoid cutting fur too short

If a veterinarian suggests a hair cut may be beneficial for keeping a pet cool or comfortable, resist the urge to shave down to the skin. Having at least one inch of fur will protect the pet from sunburn.

Outdoor hazards

Warm weather may bring out a high number of insects and wildlife. Use a flea and tick preventative product and medication to protect against heartworm, which is transmitted through mosquitoes. Snakes, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and other animals may be roaming around, and a scuffle with your pet can result in injury.

Pets need extra care during the warm weather to avoid damage and sickness from the sun, heat and more.