It’s August. And it’s Monday. And I’ve decided to try something new on (cool) progeny. Starting this week, every Monday will feature a “five things.” The five things could be about anything kid-parent-family-baltimore-related, but hopefully it will be a fun new series! If you have ideas for “five things,” let me know!

Since we’re heading into a week of high temps, here are five FREE ideas for beating the heat with your tots in tow! And they are a heck of a lot better than your mom’s “I think we’ll go walk around the mall today” plan. {{Remember that?}}

1. Head to Storyville. We’re huge fans of Storyville in Rosedale, and we hear the one in Woodlawn is just as (cool). The air-conditioned play places are designed for children birth to age 5, and are 100% free as they are part of the Baltimore County Public Library system. Best advice? Get there early. Storyville often fills to capacity and you may need to wait for a spot to open up. Good news though — you can ‘wait’ while perusing the children’s section of either library! Read more about Storyville in a previous post about a Baltimore Mommies play date!

2. Get Wet at the Sondheim Fountain. Nothing better than getting soaking wet on a hot day. Head over to West Shore Park and run through the Sondheim Fountain with your kids! Pack a snack or hit up the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream stand for a dog days of summer treat. Want to make the day even more fun? Consider taking the free Charm City Circulator to get there. Your kiddos will love hopping on the brightly colored bus.

3. Make Your Own Water Table. If your house is like mine, storage is a premium. While those $100 water/sand tables are pretty cute, I have no idea where it would live 9 months out of the year when not in use in our postage-stamp sized back yard. But scour your house for a plastic storage bin, water, bath toys and cooking utensils and viola! Homemade water table. To store, empty water and put everything back. Simple. Found the image above from a post over at Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers. Want to get a little more sophisticated with your table? Check out the tutorial over at Tales of an Ordinary Housewife. They built one for $14.

4. Freeze Your Banana. Frozen banana on a stick. A little healthier than the iced and creamed variety and so much more fun. Engage your little one in helping you dip and roll the bananas in the toppings of your choosing. Want something with a little less sugar than the chocolate in the Frozen Banana Pop Treats I found on Kidlet? Try rolling the frozen bananas in yogurt and topping with granola, crushed nuts or diced dried fruit. Fun measuring/sensory activity for the kids no matter how you coat it.

5. Get Your Art On. Admission to the Baltimore Museum of Art AND Walter’s Art Museum is FREE. For all kids and kids at heart ages 0 to 100+. Best part? The temps inside the museums are cool. While each offers family-friendly activities, you can create some custom activities for the kids with a little pre-planning. Check out either website ahead of time and create your own art scavenger hunt. You can scale the hunt for age appropriateness and keep all your kiddos engaged. If you head to the Walters, be sure to check out the dress ups and other fun stuff in the children’s area!