On waterfalls and wildlife

backyard waterfall

One of my favorite features of my backyard is broken. Our waterfall, which Jim — primary caretaker of the falls — likes to keep running through each and every season (despite it freezing for the most part during winter seasons), hasn't been running for several seasons now.

Because it's broken. Has a leak. Somewhere. Somehow.

Jim and I plan to spend much of Saturday figuring out the where and the how — and the what we need to do to fix it.

Taking apart the waterfall and putting it all back together again will surely be a pain in the butt. We don't look forward to it.

We do, though, look forward to once again having water streaming and splashing. We miss the sound, the peace, the tranquility of the special spot just off our patio.

Despite our reluctance to remove and replace liners and rocks and such, the special spot needs to be fixed. Not only to fulfill our...

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Team with grandkids and National Wildlife Federation to create a wildlife habitat

certified wildlife habitat

Grandma and Grandpa's house is a magical place for a grandchild. Having your yard certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation can increase the magical factor tenfold and more.

Certifying your yard, no matter how big or how small, is much easier than...

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Forecast calls for fun: Getting grandkids outdoors no matter the weather

Today I return home from the Lifesavers Conference. Tomorrow I leave to spend 10 days (woo-hoo!) with my grandsons.

My busy schedule of late makes it a little tough to write new content to share with you each day. Have no fear, though, as I've procured some goodies to share with you now and again during my time in the desert, with fits and spurts of some original stuff (photos of Bubby and Mac, for sure!) along the way.

Today it's this: Tips from the National Wildlife Federation for getting the grandkids outside — regardless of the erratic springtime weather.

Forecast Calls for Fun
(courtesy of Family Features)

Grandparent often keep a running list of rainy day activities, crafts and games to keep grandkids indoors when the forecast is soggy. But if your grandchildren have never dodged rain drops, built a snowman or enjoyed a lazy summer afternoon outside, they're missing out on something wonderful.

Weather was cited as the biggest barrier to getting kids outdoors by 61 percent of parents recently surveyed by the National Wildlife Federation. But the outdoor activities kids love, such as running, jumping, climbing, playing games with friends and taking nature walks, are a great strategy for keeping children healthy and happy.

“Children are safe to play outside in most kinds of weather barring the extremes,” said Lindsay Legendre, manager of the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement. “Regular outdoor play is so important to kids’ healthy development and a little rain shouldn’t stop them from being out there. Parents might enjoy puddle jumping again themselves.”

Bring on the Rain. Rain can sometimes be blamed for causing children to catch colds or flu, particularly when their hair or feet get wet. However, rain cannot make you sick. Dress children in waterproof hats, boots and raincoats to keep kids from getting too soggy. If storm conditions develop, get out of any body of water and seek shelter in a nearby building. Prepare for mud and splashes in advance by keeping a heavy mat and dry towels by the front door.

How Hot is too Hot? When temperatures climb, make sure to have plenty of water available and take precautions, such as applying sunscreen and wearing loose clothing that is light in color. Try to schedule outdoor time during the early morning and evening, which are often the coolest part of the day.

Allergies. In many areas, seasonal allergies are another challenge for parents to contend with in regard to outdoor play. Experts say, in addition to any allergy medications recommended by their pediatrician, there are steps you can take to help allergic kids enjoy the outdoors:

  • Encourage kids to go outside in the early morning and evening when pollen counts are lower.
  • Cool shades or sunglasses can prevent allergens from entering their eyes.
  • Have them shower and wash their hair once they come back in.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Many grandparents are reluctant to send kids outside when temperatures drop. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges adults to dress kids in several thin layers to keep them dry and warm, including warm coats, boots, gloves and hats. It’s also important to set reasonable time limits on outdoor play and have children come inside periodically to warm up. And don’t forget the sunscreen, as sunlight, especially reflecting off snow, can cause burns.

“Kids should get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, and it’s great if they can do so outside for the fresh air and more room to play,” said Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician and author of Heading Home with Your Newborn.

For more tips and advice on getting kids outside, visit www.BeOutThere.org/Weather and www.BeOutThere.org. For more National Wildlife Federation news, visit: www.nwf.org/news.

Main photo courtesy of Getty Images

Today's question:

What are your memories of outdoor springtime fun as a child?