Water-bound with Toddlers

No votes yet

Posted at my parents' lake house is this: “Those who are lucky enough to live on a lake are lucky enough.”  For those of us who are not lucky enough, we must pull our wet and wild goodies from beach bags not from our lakeside cabanas.   Heading down the water toy aisle at your favorite box store will land you similar ideas – noodles, inner tubes, water shoes, toys galore – but we all know it is possible to have too many options, so here’s my summary of water essentials:

  • Stearn’s Puddle Jumper – Of course safety will never go out of style, but toddlers wearing lifevests is indeed so ‘yesterday.’  Intended for kids under 50 pounds, Stearn's Puddle Jumpers are so much less cumbersome than lifejackets, and wedgies are a complete non-issue.  These fabulous floats take the best of all worlds – lifejacket fabric, out-of-the-way arm floaties, and ski-belt snugness – and pair them with adorable patterns at a great price.  My kids never bulk at putting them on.  I truly cannot recommend them enough.
  • Pool Saddle – Whoever named these was short-sighted.  While they may be great in a pool, we don’t enter the lake without one in hand (or under rump, as the case may be.)  Our children never tire of jumping, jumping, jumping off the dock at their grandparents’ home.  So instead of us tiring, tiring, tiring out as we tread water awaiting their cannonballs, these comfy seats keep all heads afloat. 
  • Snorkel set – Strap on a mask and snorkel for hours of explorative fun.  If you’re pool-bound, any number of diving toys are a hoot, diving sticks, penguins, etc.  If you’re at a lake, no additional diving toys are even required.  Fish, rocks, shells - oh my!  (BTW, get one for yourself.  Not only is it a cool buddy activity, but you'll be just as curious about what's on the bottom as s/he is, trust me.)
  • Ball – Simple, for sure, but who doesn’t love tossing a ball around, on land or on water?  It can be used with a friend or with a group, playfully or as a tool of annihilation.  ‘Nuff said.


Add new comment

How to Build and Use a Water Level

No votes yet

Plumb BobI had to lay some buried drain lines on my property to address problems where water was pooling and causing mud holes. Once I had dug the trenches my next problem was to figure out how to accurately measure the slope of the drain lines to ensure the water would go where I wanted.  I’m basically too cheap to buy a laser level or a transit; and too inept to use a string level with any accuracy.  So I decided to build a simple water level to make sure my drain lines were right.  Here's how I did it......

Kids Toys for Christmas

No votes yet

It's almost Thanksgiving and the wife and I are already thinking of toys to get for the boys for Christmas.   John Deere stuff is big this year as we watched the combines harvest the corn fields next to us.  We have beans planted the last few years and the deer population has been affected.  Now, we should see lots of deer wandering around plus maybe even a few lost turkeys.  The coyotes have been loud at night too.

Kids and Camping v1.0

No votes yet

So, when I was young, my father's idea of "vacation" meant loading up an Army surplus tent and a cooler of bacon and heading to the great white north which, in this case, was always the same place, Port Austin, Michigan. Not that Port Austin wasn't nice. It was. It had trails, and trees, and a Great Lake. Pretty much an idea spot. For CAR CAMPING. Not really my thing. I'm more of a "middle of nowhere, leave me alone" kind of person.

Fast forward 30 (or so) years in the future. I have my own kids and I want to introduce them to the wonders of the outdoors. Still, it would be nice if they actually enjoyed themselves. I want them to appreciate the wilderness that doesn't include pump stations, electrical outlets and owl shaped string lights. I want them to know the pride of carrying their gear, food and water in and leaving to traces while they are there.

Beat the Cold with These Fun (And Different!) Snow Day Ideas

No votes yet

The score is Snow 1, School 0.  Your kids are thrilled because Mother Nature has given them yet another snow day.  But you’ve already made snowmen, gone sledding, and watched movies on all of those OTHER snow days.

Trust me, your choices are not limited to frostbite and snotcycles, check out these ideas for some snow day entertainment and avoid the dread "Dad, I'm Booooored!"

Teaching Your Kids To Hit A Baseball

Average: 4.3 (13 votes)

After many years coaching every sport the city rec department could possibly imagine, I discovered that most of my younger colleagues were facing familiar issues when it came to teaching their kids how to hit a baseball. Here is an easy way to have fun and turn them into sluggers too!