DIY vs Buy: Beat the heat with these 5 ways to stay cool this summer

From a homemade slip-and-slide to fabulous ice molds, we've got you covered when it comes to chilling out
By Avital Norman Nathman  Published on 07/10/2018 at 9:00 AM EDT
Unsplash/ Raphaël Biscaldi

Though it’s only the start of the season, we’ve seen many scorching days across the U.S. this summer. Around here (the Northeast) we’ve had an actual heatwave and it appears another is on the horizon.

Are you feeling the heat where you are? Looking for new and improved ways to keep cool (and have fun at the same time)? Then you’re in luck! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite products that help us keep cool, as well as their DIY counterparts, so you can beat the heat this summer, no matter your budget! Click through the gallery below, and make sure to tell us in the comments how you’re staying cool this summer.

Slip 'n Slide

Slip ‘n Slides have been around since I was a kid, and it’s easy to see why they’re still so popular. They’re an easy way to cool off and have fun. Now, the brand that brought you the original Slip ‘n Slide has a whole host of new options, including kits that come with boogie boards and walls of water spray to slide through!

Purchase a Slip & Slide on Amazon for $28.


Growing up, we didn’t always have the extra funds to spend on the latest cool toys, which meant we had to be creative when it came to having fun in the sun. However, with only a few cheap items, you can make your own version of a Slip ‘n Slide! All you need is a tarp or a roll of thick plastic (like painters use), your hose, and the secret ingredient: dish soap. Just a few drops of soap will allow kids and adults alike to sail down smoothly without getting a skin burn from dry spots of plastic.

Cooling Clothes

When my son went off to a camp that was outdoors all day (in the woods with no actual base camp), we knew he’d want something to help keep him cool while he hiked. We purchased a cooling wrap that you wet, stick in the freezer, and then wear like a bandana around your neck. It definitely worked, and not only did it help keep his body temperature down, but it helped cut down on weather-related complaints as well!

Purchase a Koolgator cooling neck wrap on Amazon for $10.


All the cooling neck gear I’ve found online has some sort of insulation that keeps the product cool for a long time. However, in a pinch, an old bandana that’s been soaked in water and popped in the freezer will work. It may not last as long, but when you can buy a pack of bandanas for the same price as a fancy neck wrap, you’ll have plenty to spare!

Interesting Ice

Cold drinks are a must on hot, summer days. So why not jazz things up with some fun ice cube molds? I mean, why use regular old cubes when you could have the entire Galaxy in your iced tea.

Purchase Star Wars ice molds on Think Geek for $1.99 each.


Sure you could go through the hassle of trying to find crafty ways of making your own uniquely shaped ice cubes without fancy silicone molds. Or, you can worry less about presentation and more about the wow factor. Using a regular old boring ice cube tray, add some chopped up pieces of fruit and mint to the water before freezing it. The pop of flavor will be a real treat!

Cooling Face Care

One way to take the temperature down is to physically cool yourself. A soothing, cooling face mask or spray is one of the easiest ways to not only chill out physically, but also mentally. Yes To’s Cucumbers Cooling Mud Mask will not only help you escape the heat for a little bit, it will also give you soft, supple skin!

Purchase Yes To Cucumbers Cooling Mud Mask at Target for $15.


For a cooling on-the-go spray, mix equal parts water and witch hazel in a spray bottle. For every tablespoon of liquid mixture, add one drop each of lavender and peppermint essential oils. For maximum effect, keep your spray bottle in the fridge until you want to take it out and about with you!

Cooling Pillow

One of the worst parts about a heatwave is making it through the night. This is especially true if you don’t have air conditioning and rely on fans and other techniques to make things comfortable. Cool pillows are a great way to chill things out in bed. Instead of absorbing and recirculating your head’s heat, they provide enough air flow to main a cool comfort throughout the night.

Purchase a gel memory foam cooling pillow on Amazon for $39.



This DIY version is one of the easiest yet. Take your pillowcases (and your sheets if you’re feeling saucy!) and pop them in the freezer for a couple of hours before bed. When you slide in for sleepy time, you’ll be in icy heaven! Place your sheets in a plastic bag first to avoid getting any stains or smells on the sheets.

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