Sometimes it’s too darn hot to head outside.  Sure, the kids are dying to hit the playground, head to the beach or just run around the back yard.  But now that the cooling cover of June gloom is a mere memory and the dog days of August push the temps to a sweltering 90 plus degrees, you just want to hibernate at home with the AC cranked high and an iced coffee in hand.  Unfortunately, the kids aren’t on board with that plan (unless you let them watch umpteen hours of TV, and you’re not on board with that plan). So go with the flow, embrace the temps and beat the heat with your kids. Here are 20 ideas to combat the rising temps, L.A. mama style.

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1. We’ve got two words for you: ice cream. We like it low tech, at Peddler’s Creamery, high tech at Ice Cream Lab, and pretty much any way you churn it.

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2. Get back to nature with one of these family-friendly watering holes. Mother Nature keeps the water shockingly cold and refreshing.

3. If you’d rather stick close to home this weekend, here are 10 totally cool (and innovative) ways to beat the heat right in your own backyard.

4. When it’s this hot outside cooking is the last thing you want to do, right? So on your way home from one of these cooling places, pick up dinner without even leaving your car, never mind heating up your house.

5. Hit the beach! These are our favorite spots with kids, and if you’re bringing the family pooch, be sure to check out these pet AND family friendly stretches of sand.

6. Say hello to your best friend: air conditioning. Head indoors to the biggest hands-on science museum on the West Coast.  And did we mention that it’s free?!

7. You’ve hit up Malibu, know Santa Monica like the back of your hand, but have you spent time in Manhattan Beach lately? Head to this idyllic beachside town for some indoor and outdoor family fun.

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8. Relax and indulge: get a mommy and me mani/pedi at one of these cool shops.

9. Beat the heat with a trip to a local popsicle shop, which is all the rage when it comes to delicious and healthy treats.

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10. Franklin Canyon has shady spots to explore, whether you walk around duck pond, hike down by the lake, or explore indoors at the Nature Center.

11. You want your kids to experience aquatic life but lathering them up with sunscreen and hauling everyone to the coast is just too much. Sound familiar? Spend some time in an indoor marine environment instead at one of these totally awesome aquariums where fish, marine life, and touch tanks abound.

12. Catch a breeze with a spin on a carousel.

13. Cannon ball!  Dive into one of these community pools to cool off.

14. If you really want to ditch the sun, visit an indoor play space where the only sweating you’ll be doing is from all the play.

15. Get crafty with 10 easy DIY crafts that keep you busy at home.

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16.  Not the crafty type?  No problem: Make Meaning will serve up any craft you can dream up.  No muss, no fuss, just air-conditioned, busy bee bliss.

17.  Plan a day trip to Anacapa Island.  The breezes from the boat ride will cool you off both coming and going.

18.  Kids are just like us – when it gets too hot to play, they like to sit in the cool, dark movie theater too.  So head to the El Capitan for a showing of Planes in 3D.  Got a tiny tot?  Tuesdays at 10:00 am the movie plays in 2D with the lights on low and the sounds taken down a notch.

19.  Take the kids to the Cube for an indoor LEGO Castle Adventure.

police-museum-jail220.  Sick of the same old museums?  Try the Police Historical Society Museum in Highland Park.  You’re little one will love playing cops and robbers in the lock up. And then nearby Galco’s Soda Pop Stop has bubbly cool treats from bygone eras.

Share the love! What’s your go-to activity for staying cool in the stifling Los Angeles heat? Let us know below.

Photos credit: Sommy Rhee, Meghan Rose, Jolie Loeb, and Jennifer Wolfe