NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center called the summer of 2014 the hottest on Earth to date, so unless you enjoy sweating like you’ve just run an ultra-marathon, you might want to prepare some indoor entertainment this year. With epic board and card games galore and quality TV at an all-time high, you can actually look forward to spending time in the comfort of your air-conditioned home. Below, we’ve shared six fun indoor activities to help you stay cool this summer:
1. Netflix Night
Between its array of movies and ever-burgeoning list of binge-worthy original programs, Netflix is on the tip of everyone’s tongues these days. Pop some popcorn (the real stuff, please, we suggest the DIY movie theater popcorn recipe below), grab your beverage of choice, cozy up to your loved ones, and binge away.
2. At Home Beer (or Wine) Tasting
With so many craft and microbreweries popping up all over the country, it’s a great time to gather with friends (who are of age) to taste test some of them – plus, cold beer on a hot day is always satisfying. Pick up a few new-to-you beer varieties at a specialty store and ask your guests to do the same. When everyone is over, pour small tasters (about 4oz.) for everyone to try. After everyone has tried a sip, vote on your favorites! Not a beer person? You can host a similar wine tasting event, too.
3. Game Night
Already a tradition in many homes, resurrecting Game Night can be an absolute blast. Whether you gather the fam for a night of Monopoly or Apples to Apples or organize a more adult evening (Cards Against Humanity, anyone?), time together laughing is always a big hit. Game Night can be well-planned with dinner included, or it can be done on the fly. Don’t have any board/card games? Write down silly scenarios or topics and start an impromptu game of Charades – it’s just as fun!
4. Arts & Crafts
If you’ve got kids who are antsy since they can’t play outside on a sweltering day, arts and crafts can be the perfect solution. Head to your local craft store and stock up on coloring books, markers, paint sets, and clay. Set down some newspaper (kids are messy creatures by nature), put on their smocks, and let ‘em go to town. Adults can do their own version, too. You’ve likely seen the Wine & Paint nights that have gotten popular across the U.S. Bring the idea to your own home with a few easels, some friends, a nice bottle of wine, and some basic art supplies. You might even discover you have Picasso potential you never knew you had (and a nice painting for your wall!).
5. Themed Dinner Club
If you’re miserable from the summer heat, chances are your friends are, too. Start a rotating dinner club. Whether it’s a Mexican fiesta at your pad with tacos and margaritas or a down-home BBQ at a friend’s house with Mac ‘n’ Cheese and burgers, everyone gets their chance to host (and clean up!). If you need meal ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest board.
6. Indoor Campout
Kids are often the ones who suffer from cabin fever most, so it’s important to be creative when coming up with ways to entertain them indoors during the hot summer months. An indoor campout is just the solution. Set up a tent in your living room, tell ghost stories, and make some indoor s’mores. One added bonus: indoor plumbing (not to mention the air conditioning)!
While all of these activities are guaranteed to bring on the fun, one guaranteed party pooper is the skyrocketing energy bill as you run the A/C all summer long. If you live in an energy-efficient Shea home, you’re lucky enough to have a home that was built with energy efficiency in mind. Either way, there are things you can do to make sure you’re making the most of your A/C. Check out these 5 tips to keep your air conditioning bill affordable:
Avoid the initial panic you feel about cooling off your house after it’s been locked up for a period of time. You might be tempted to set it to a really cold temperature thinking it will cool off the house faster, but this isn’t the case. Air conditioners deliver cool air at a consistent rate until it reaches the set temperature. Rather than cool your home faster, you’re more likely to leave the air on longer, resulting in a higher bill than expected. Instead, just set the temperature you’d like your home to reach.
Consider having an interior fan installed to help evenly spread the coolness throughout the hottest rooms in your home.
Set your thermostat to the highest temperature with which you are comfortable, as your bill will be lower if you keep a smaller difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures.
Maintain your cooling system with regular pre-season check-ups.
Be aware of when you need to replace your cooling system. If your energy bills are rising, it needs frequent repairs, and it’s more than 10 years old, it’s likely that you need a new one to keep monthly bills more affordable.
Do you have activities that help you stay cool when the summer months warm up? Share them with us below!