When I think about things to love about living in Texas, the list is pretty long. Sweet tea everywhere you go, Tex-Mex (queso, yes please! Free chips and salsa, thank you very much!), knowing that you will never need to know how to shovel snow, Whataburger…I could go on and on. With a state as big as mine, it’s super easy to have big reasons to love it! My list of things that aren’t so great comes down to 3 things: heat, humidity, mosquitoes. These things come hand-in-hand and every year I dread the summer time because of it. This summer I am determined to not let mosquitoes kill our vibe of wanting to spend time as a family outside. With a few simple tips to keeping mosquitoes at bay, I am taking back summer and sharing 4 ways to enjoy time outside your family.
1.Visit Local Outdoor Places
My family and I have already started making it a point to visit a new place around our neighborhood each weekend. It’s important for us to get the kids out of the house and for them to have new experiences. Our recent trip to pick strawberries at a local farm was one of my favorites! With the kids being outside more and more, I make sure I protect them from mosquitoes. I apply an EPA-approved insect repellent on them before we leave the house. It’s important to apply sunscreen first, before using repellant. With many options safe for children, this little step in protecting them from mosquito-borne diseases or even just the annoyance of itchy burning bites, goes a long way. This summer our list of outdoor places includes: the farmer’s market, local gardens and nurseries, the butterfly exhibit and the children’s museum, and the drive-in movies.
2. Keep Cool With Water Activities
With 100 degree+ weather in Houston keeping cool with water activities is just about a daily thing! Cami recently started swim lessons and Hendrix loves splashing around in our neighborhood splash pad. In our backyard we enjoy grilling-out and letting the kids play in the inflatable pool and the slip-n-slide. With water, there comes pesky mosquitoes. Both kids have long-sleeve swim suits to protect them from the sun and also from mosquito bites. Wearing light-weight long sleeves and pants is always a good idea if you know you are going to be outside and that there will be mosquitoes. After we play in the water in the backyard or after rain, I always look to see if there are areas of standing water because this is where mosquitoes breed and thrive. Remove standing water when you go outside to protect yourself!
3. Observe and Discover Nature
Everything is always more wonderful and exciting if you view it through a child’s eyes! Last weekend Cami and I enjoyed looking for slugs and snails after the rain. She was so amazed by how they moved and of course had a million questions about them that I didn’t know how to answer. Because of her curiosity I decided that our family must take a trip to the arboretum this summer, go on a few nature walks at the local park, and spend a few evenings locating stars in the back yard. Learning about nature is at the top of the list and I think we will ALL learn new things!
4.Crafting For The Outdoors
During these warmer days one of the first things that I grab before we go outside is sidewalk chalk. The kids love to decorate the driveway and the back porch with their drawings and scribbles. We recently added chalk-paint and several kids on our street took part in making our drive way the most colorful in the neighborhood, haha! This summer I would like to incorporate more outdoor crafts with kids. For starters I am going to have them paint and decorate their own terracotta pots and planters in which we will plant marigolds and mint. Marigolds and mint plants can help keep mosquitoes away from your yard. I know the kids will love decorating their pots and I will love the fact that the plants are helping to keep the mosquitoes away!
Mosquitoes can ruin your day, and they can also bring life-altering consequences. For more information on how to stay safe during mosquito season visit the Texas DSHS and remember to declare WAR on mosquitoes: W– Wear long-sleeves and pants, A– Apply EPA-approved insect repellent, R-Remove standing water. This post was created in partnership with Texas Department of State Health Services. However, all opinions are my own. Have a happy and safe summer ya’ll!