The southwest is slated for a sweltering week — hopefully the monsoon will start up soon!

With daily temperatures reaching record-level highs and excessive heat warnings in effect, move the fun out of the sun this week and turn your home into a retreat. Ditch the dangerous degrees with a day of #DIY activities fun for friends and family. Transform your indoors into an obstacle course and compete with family or friends for the top spot or compete for the last pizza bite.

As a word to the wise: Avoid being outside. Though, if you can’t, keep hydrated, smear on sunscreen and limit sunlight exposure, especially between noon to 7 p.m.

Solar Oven Pizza Bites

DIY Solar Oven

  • Crackers
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced pepperoni

Want s’more solar oven recipes? Swap savory for sweet for a bite-sized pizza pie treat.

Whip out the #DIY Solar Oven you engineered a few weeks back and clean it of any prior food residue. (Click here for step-by-step directions for a DIY Solar Oven.)

Next, set out the oven in an area with direct sunlight. This will preheat the oven while you stack your pizza bites.

Begin compiling the snacks by dolloping enough pizza sauce to coat the top of cracker “crust.”

Stack sliced pepperoni and top with a sprinkling of shredded cheese.

After, arrange pizza bites on a cooking/baking surface and place inside the solar oven.

Allow the sun to take it from here, bake the bites until the cheese is melted (about 40 minutes) and enjoy while warm!

DIY Indoor Obstacle Course

Construct a course to challenge the kids, compete in games for points and let the games begin!

Start off drawing out a design for the course. Follow the layout of your house. Use rooms to feature different games or activities along the way, while hallways can be areas to get tangled up in. Tape directional arrows to the walls and floors to guide competitors on the path. While every house varies here are some suggestions to help build your course:

Mission Impossible: Laser Beam Hallway

  • Streamers/String
  • Tape

Creep down the hallway and tip-toe around the “lasers” in this obstacle straight from your favorite heist movie!

Arrange this obstacle in tight quarters, typically most hallways will work for this setup.

Tape the streamers or string across the hallway. Create various lengths of lazers. Extend the lazers horizontal, vertical, diagonal and from low to high to make the path challenging to cross.

Tally up any broken or fallen streamers and deduct points against contestant’s total scores.

Paper Plane Throwing Contest

  • Paper
  • Tape

Build a fleet of planes to compete in a game of distance.

Fold paper to form planes. There are several different designs, work to create a aircraft that will go the distance. Repeat the design or test or several to compete with.

Lay out the tape to indicate a starting line to throw from and add another strip that runs perpendicular to the starting line tape to form a landing strip for the planes to land.

Along the track mark out targets for points, for example: The closest value to the starting line is lowest point, while increasing along the landing strip.

Have each contestant make three to five planes to throw and tally up the scores for each player.

Balloon Ping Pong

  • Paper plates
  • Popsicle stick
  • Balloon
  • Tape

Here is another game to keep the fun going back and forth!

Decorate the paper plates and popsicle sticks to your liking before constructing. Once all your supplies are designed, tape the popsicle sticks to the back of the plates and blow up the balloon.

That's it!

Now you are ready to play balloon ping pong. Each player will get one of the paddles. The point of the game is to hit the balloon back and forth with the paddles. Whoever lets the balloon hit the ground gives a point to the other player. 



Kristopher Yanez is the proud father of 1-year-old daughter Kennedy, a journalism student at Pima Community College and is also the first-ever Bear Essential News Summer Reporting Intern. When Yanez is not doing school work, he is off doing daddy duties for young Kennedy.