[This story will be featured in a special supplement on Summer Survival in this week's News-Aegis]

A hot summer afternoon is beating down on your backyard. The kids want to go out and play and supper needs to be ready in an hour.

You might not have access to a pool or the time to get your kids ready for a few hours of water play and then get them (soaking wet) back into the car and home in time for dinner.

What’s a parent to do? Why not take care of two tasks at once?

Just grab a sprinkler and tell the kids to get their swimsuits on, it’s time for summer fun!

Sprinklers offer a more practical approach to cooling kids down than setting up a Slip n’ Slide type water area that may require many valuable minutes of prep time.

There are several kids’ sprinklers for under $20. Some include: Little Tikes Beach Ball Sprinkler or Super Spiral Sprinkle, or the Wiggling Water Snake sprinkler.

For the budget conscious parent, an old-fashioned arc sprinkler or static sprinkler (make sure the water pressure is turned down!) will do the trick. There’s probably one already sitting in the shed or at the side of the lawn.

Pick a location in your yard that might need watering and set up your sprinkler so that it will allow for maximum coverage of both your lawn and kids. Rotating the spot in the yard where the kids play in the water each time can ensure a healthy summer lawn.

While the kids are playing in the water, you’ll have enough time to get dinner prep going or—if your kids are younger and need supervision--take a few minutes to enjoy an ice cold glass of lemonade while you watch them play.

Once their finished playing might be a perfect time to make bath time early. Since the sun sets later in the summer, eating dinner as the sun goes down is a great way to end the day.

If you want, try combining outdoor grilling while the kids play and then the family can enjoy an evening meal at sunset. There are tips for outdoor grilling included in this special section and a recipe for enticing fried green tomatoes w/gulf blue crabmeat.

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