Summer Survival Tips in Phoenix With Kids

Summer Survival Tips in Phoenix With Kids. Those parents who survive a summer in Phoenix with kids should receive a gold medal. It’s not an easy feat to keep active bodies busy with outside temps in the 100’s! And it doesn’t help that the scorching weather runs from May-October, much longer than summer break.

Phoenix, AZ Things To Do

But never let it be said that Phoenix leaves those parents lacking for activities. There are as many indoor options as there are outdoor options! Beyond the wonderful summer camps, VBS programs, or swim lessons available, here is a list of our favorite pastimes to keep the kids smiling and entertained all summer long.

Membership to an Indoor Activity
How to survive a Phoenix summer with kids comes down to having a membership to nearby indoor activities. You may already have a membership to, say, The Children’s Museum of Phoenix, which is a fabulous option. But if it’s the afternoon, and the kids are driving you crazy, and it’s 30 minutes away — are you really going to drag everyone there? I know I wouldn’t. An option closer to home, no more than 15 minutes, is what you need.

For example, one year we had a membership to Legoland Discovery Center this year! But that’s a 35-minute drive. So I also snagged a membership to Party Jungle, which is only 10 minutes away. For $9.99/month, the entire household can enjoy the rides and play area, and more! This was our go-to spot when we have just a few hours to kill. Trampoline parks are also a great option to expend energy and will appeal to teenagers as well.

Not sure what’s nearby? Check out these posts of indoor activities in the West Valley, City of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and East Valley.

Or browse this list of Best Indoor Places for Kids in Phoenix.

Indoor Things to Do in Phoenix, AZ

Harkins Summer Movie Fun
Harkins has announced their 2022 summer movie lineup! It costs only $8 for 8 movies total, and you can sign up at any participating theater. We have done the Harkins summer movie series in the past and loved adding this weekly event to our summer days!! The price can’t be beaten, and the setting is extremely kid-friendly for little ones who might talk or need to wiggle on occasion. More info here. 

Splash pads are free and located all over the Valley! If you’re like me and never heard of splash pads before moving to Phoenix, they are basically outdoor water play areas for kids. Larger ones with fountains and other features are splash pads, and smaller ones are often called spray pads.

Either way, it’s a fun way to stay cool in the summer heat! Find a couple close to home, invite friends, and make it a weekly play date. Food and drink are usually allowed at splash pads; also pack a few cups or buckets to enhance playtime. We have an interactive map of all splash pads in Phoenix (plus Arizona) to make it easy to find a place to play!

Aquatic centers
Summer means swimming! Some families have their own pool or have a neighbor that does, and others have a community pool thanks to HOA. But if neither of these are options for you, then aquatic centers are your best friend! These fabulous city-run pools often have water slides and other features, making it fun for the entire family.

We’ve visited aquatic centers in Scottsdale and Chandler over the past couple of summers. Every location has had clean restrooms, friendly staff, and most importantly, affordable prices, like $3/person. The kids have loved every visit! We bring a lunch and stay most of the day.

A list and map of all pools can be found here!

Summer Survival Tips in Phoenix With Kids

Indoor ice skating
Have you taken your kids ice skating? Yes, Phoenix has several indoor ice skating rinks that offer open skate sessions! It’s the perfect way to cool off when it’s 110 outside. (In fact, it can be almost too cold if you don’t dress appropriately. Be sure to bring pants and a long sleeve shirt or jacket.) Ice Den in Scottsdale has been our go-to place. Check their website for open skate times, which usually last 1.5-2hrs. There are skating supports available for younger children, on a first-come-first-served basis.

Pogo Pass
The Phoenix/Tucson Pogo Pass offers admission to over 20 places for just $49.99 with code PHOENIXWITHKIDS! Places like Golfland Sunsplash, Uptown Jungle, Gravity Extreme Zone, the Phoenix Zoo, sports games, and more are included. See their website for more info, including days and times you can use the pass. It might not be the best deal for every family.

GetOut Pass
The GetOut Pass offers admission to over 50 places around Arizona for just $49.99 with code PHOENIXWITHKIDS. Places like KTR, Jake’s Unlimited, Rush Fun Park, Luv2Play, D-Bat, and more around the whole state (like Bisbee, Tombstone, and Prescott) are included. See their website for more info, including days and times you can use the pass. It might not be the best deal for your family.

Go Bowling
Have you taken your kids bowling? One summer, when our kids were 2 and 5, it was our go-to summer activity every couple of weeks. We’d show up at the opening time, usually, around 11 am, and have most of the place to ourselves. Bumpers on the lanes and the bowling ball assist ramps made it easy for the kids to score. Sometimes we’d order a pizza or appetizers too. The whole family has great memories from those bowling days!

Search for what alley might be closest to you, and give them a call to see if they offer any kid or family specials. We’ve had fun at Fat Cats in Gilbert (part of the Pogo Pass) and Bowlero in Scottsdale (Via Linda location). Also, visit Kids Bowl Free for, as the title suggests, 2 free bowling games for kids at select locations! Adults can be added for an affordable fee.

Try Groupon for a new place
Feel like shaking it up a bit? Get on Groupon as a family and see what piques your interest! We like to search generically as “kid activities” with Phoenix as the location. Search for restaurant deals as well. This is a fabulous way to save on local attractions. More ideas can be found in our popular blog post outlining 9 Ways to Save on Phoenix Attractions. Note: some Groupons have restrictions on days the vouchers can be used, how many you can use in one visit, etc. Read the fine print carefully to avoid any issues.

Your local library
Your local library is a wonderful year-round resource and especially comes in handy over the summer. Free classes for toddlers and preschoolers are the most popular. There are often LEGO clubs that meet on weekends. Some locations hold kid movie nights, craft events, or volunteer options.

Don’t forget the free summer reading program too! We’ve done this several times; even young ones can be read to for 10-15 minutes a day and earn prizes. Stop by your local library and ask for information on any summer programs! And of course, stay to check out some new reading material or have the kiddos enjoy different toys in the children’s area. Look into the Culture Passes as well. When available, this is a good way to check out local museums for free.

Numerous Phoenix resorts offer discounts for summer staycations! Here is a list of some of our favorites.

Get out of town (day or weekend)
There comes a time when enough is enough. Escaping the heat of Phoenix at least once is almost as key as learning to survive the heat. Weekend getaways are the most popular, but day trips can be refreshing, without the overnight commitment. So where to go?? For day trips, we recommend local lakes, like Butcher Jones Recreation Area At Saguaro Lake, or Phon D. Sutton Recreational Area along the Salt River. Payson is also a fun day trip (did you know there’s a lavender farm to tour??). We also love Crescent Moon Picnic Site near Sedona.

Browse this blog post of 10 Summer Day Trip ideas, or browse all day trip posts for locations all over Arizona. We also have a handful of posts about places in California and Colorado.

Things to do in Phoenix

Bonus: assign certain days for certain activities
One last tip we offer for summer survival is to have a routine. Assigning certain days for certain activities gives kids (and parents!) something to look forward to. For example, one summer we had our Harkins Movie Date on Mondays and an ongoing splash pad/Chick-Fil-A date with friends on Wednesdays. The other days were open to last-minute ideas, staying at home to chill, and swim time. (This was also the year we bought the newly released Nintendo Switch + a couple of games. Lots of family Mario Kart games happened that summer!)

For those at-home days, here’s an idealist of 12 Indoor Activities for Kids.

And if you’re looking for FREE things to do in Phoenix, start with our series of posts about activities, restaurants, museums, and more!

Just remember that the temps WILL come down eventually; in November we’ll have 80’s again and the glory of outdoor activities will return.

Summer Survival Tips in Phoenix With Kids

Family Things To Do

To offer even more ideas for summer survival, we asked our followers on Facebook and Instagram to share their favorite ways to beat the heat! Here are some of the awesome suggestions:

“We love the splashpad at the Phoenix Zoo, and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.”
Lynda, Phoenix

“Typical week: Indoor play place, library day, swimming day, art/craft day (I get ideas online), or a splash pad in the morning. We like to change it up! The Stomping Grounds is our absolute favorite hands down. Then Giggles and Luv 2 Play.”
Heidi, Goodyear

“Modern Milk does Parent & me yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as other classes. With yoga, you can do a drop in or class pass.”
Jane, Scottsdale

“We have a big shaded patio with misters, and a big (12ft) blow up pool. Sometimes staying home and avoiding hot cars is a must!”
Lauren, Phoenix

“We love the library, splash pad, and parks before 9:30am. The Phoenix and Scottsdale locations have great baby and toddler song classes, and the play spaces are a great break from the regular toys at home.”
Mom of 2, Cave Creek

“I plan on a lot of ice activities in the kiddie pool, in the driveway after 6pm! I like to freeze blocks of ice with toys sticking out of them so they can be dug out, like an excavator activity.”
Tiffany, Phoenix

“The Scottsdale Train Park has limited hours in the summer. We like to go in the mornings, and take breaks from the heat in the ice cream shop and miniature train museum.”
Shawn, Scottsdale

“I take my kids to the pet stores and look at the animals, fish, etc. Free zoo!”
Kimberly, Scottsdale

“They have free craft days at Home Depot!”
Jess, Peoria

“Friendship park now has a gated splash pad! We love the splash pad at Lucis at the Orchard too. Rio Verde Park has a nice gated splash pad. We have the Science Center pass and that’s a great way to be in the A/C.”
Andrea, Glendale

We hope this article has given you some new ideas to fill your summer days!

Summer Survival Tips in Phoenix With Kids

Summer Survival Tips in Phoenix With Kids


  • Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

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