I totally agree on the idea that some parts of country just don't understand how hot it really gets down here and for how long and it IS a saftey issue.
Thanks for the great ideas for indoor play I will start an at home craft closet, I think. I don't know why I haven't already, laziness I guess. Thanks!
I hear ya, OP, I'm on the north shore and it's HOT up here, too. I think people who don't live here or in similar hot climates don't really understand that a few 100 degree days are manageable, three to four months of them are a whole other thing. At some point, it's not safe to be out in that heat. A few years ago we made a little day trip in July and we realized at some point, no one had been to the bathroom in HOURS even though we were draining water bottles like crazy. That's just not safe.
My daughter loves:
water color - I have a big thing of washable paints, several different brushes, and a few clear cups for the water. I put a beach towel (or three) down on the table and chair and let her go. She likes mixing colors in the water as much as she likes painting. Cheap paper plates make good painting surfaces.
also gluing anything to anything else is a huge it
and tape - she loves plain ol' tape, a three pack is a few days of entertainment
I always keep craft pom poms, elmer's glue, googly eyes, some sequins/buttons type things, pipe cleaners, paper plates, and yarn. She can usually think of something to do with them by herself.
There's also this thing where you mix equal parts water and corn starch - use a big container so she has plenty of room. It looks like a liquid and will flow through your fingers but feels like a sold if you slap it or poke at it in the container. Just mix it till you get a consistency she likes to play with.
We also have a kid's yoga DVD (the one we have is really cheesy, I'm sure there are better ones out there). She doesn't always do the whole thing but she likes to watch it and will do most of it. She asks for it often.
That's all I can think of right off. I hope some of that helps.