PICKENS COUNTY — Everyone knows that South Carolina in the summertime is hot. The sun is unrelenting on clear-sky days and it seems the cooling breezes you hear so much about always seem to be drifting into someone else’s window.
But if hiding out in the air conditioning isn’t exactly your cup of (hopefully, iced) tea — fear not. There are some pretty crafty people out there who have devised some clever ways to beat the heat, and maybe have a little fun too.
Pools are all well and fine but when you’re on week two of temps in the upper 80’s and 90’s, a pool can sometimes feel like sliding into a big outdoor bathtub — hardly the refreshing swim you were looking for. That’s were sprinklers come in …
Mandy St. Clair runs a video blog out of Easley where she and her two daughters find all sorts of ways to cool down online, and test them out.
“Some of them work, and well, some of them fail spectacularly,” she said during a phone interview. “But my girls and I usually have fun either way.”
Some of her “worst” failures included a slip and slide kickball game and a bizarre looking arts and crafts project known as “the blob.”
“The water blob was a really cool idea that seems to work well for everyone else, I just wasn’t doing it quite right,” St. Clair said. “It’s basically a homemade waterbed mattress for the kids to play on — outside.”
The design is simple: plastic sheeting, sealed with an iron and filled with water. Turn on a sprinkler over head and you’ve got an instant playground for kids to enjoy. If you’re feeling extra froggy, you can add glitter and food coloring.
“I understand the concept, but the first time I did it I didn’t use any barrier between the plastic and my iron,” she said. “Well, you can guess how that went. The sheeting melted and my iron was ruined. The second time worked better, I used parchment paper between my (new) iron and the plastic.”
St. Clair said they filled the blob up and were all excited, until it immediately popped the first time her daughter hopped on.
“Yeah, that was a disappointment but I figured third time’s the charm, right?” she said. “Attempt number three is what I would recommend: when all else fails — duct tape.”
The slip and slide kick ball game came about with the remains of the first two water blobs.
“Well, I had all this plastic sheeting left over and I thought ‘well, this could make a slip and slide,’” St. Clair said. “We used inflatable kiddie pools — the kind you just pick up an the dollar store — as bases and the slides between them.”
All was going well until her husband fell and sprained his ankle, she said.
“That one is definitely more for the kids,” she laughed. “We were so sore the next day — but the kids had a ball.”
However, if you are a more “indoorsy” type, St. Clair has one more suggestion: a good old fashioned fan fort.
“There’s a bunch of different ways to make this one but I have always liked to go the simplest route,” she said. “You take a box fan and a bed sheet and bunch of books.”
St. Clair pins the sheet down with the books on the edges and on top of the fan, then turns it on.
“The air billows up in the sheet and inflates it,” she said. “The kids love hanging out in there because the fan keeps the inside nice and cool. I remember my grandmother making something similar for me when I was little because she didn’t have air conditioning at her house.”
No matter how you beat the heat this Summer, St. Clair says it’s important to have fun while doing it.
“Summer’s are long in S.C., but there’s no reason it should make you miserable,” she said. “You don’t have to hide from the heat — have fun with it.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.