Suddenly you’re needed again. Grandparents who were sidelined for a while are in demand. Parents will welcome extra hands to cope with the changes brought about by the pandemic. Preston Hollow is ideal for all sorts of cool attractions to enjoy with the grandkids. And you won’t need to keep reaching for your wallet. Show you can be trusted to take care, then let your hair down and have fun.
On the Northaven Trail, spot the green Mexican parrots nesting at the east end of the Trail on the substation near Central. Yet again they have managed to rebuild their huge nests and make a great spectacle squawking as they fly back and forth.
In a few short weeks, the Trail will display colorful patches of wildflowers, just for admiring, not picking. Talking of flowers, be sure to visit the award-winning garden at Kramer Elementary School. There are pots for colorful blooms, fruit trees, and raised beds for growing vegetables. See how the birds make frequent trips to the wildlife sanctuary there. If you are blessed with plenty of energy, making a wildlife sanctuary in your yard is a great project to tackle with the kids. You will need to have 50% native plants, food, shelter and water available year-round and pay a $15 fee for Texas wildlife certification. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will give further information.
Don’t neglect to ride over to Pagewood Park (rabbits abound there) and visit other small parks tucked into the neighborhood. In most of the parks, no bikes or skateboards are permitted, a relief to grandparents as this reduces accidents. If you’re not squeamish, have the littlest kids collect acorns and fit the nuts into the ‘cup’, to help develop fine motor skills.
Wherever you walk, have boys and girls take a pencil and paper with an I Spy list and offer a small prize for the first pair to check off seeing a mockingbird, green coat, sandals, red leaf, round stone, ants on the march, soda can, … and add some more!
Animal lovers can watch dogs cavorting leash-free on the field in the back of Hillcrest High. There’s always a lot of joyful loud barking and the fence keeps them away from the sidewalk.
Some days even the hardiest grandparents will want to spend time indoors. Before settling down at home where spilled snacks or drinks can do no harm, go gather an armful of books from one of the several Little Free Library boxes in Preston Hollow. There’s a well-stocked blue one on the east side of St. Michael between Northaven Road. If you’re not familiar with these freebies, it’s time to take a look, they are open 24/ 7. Anyone can choose books from them and donate any that are no longer needed at home. There’s a rapid turnover right now.
While you are driving around go see some of the weird and wonderful houses in the neighborhood. Check out The Rapunzel house, standing south of Royal Lane the half-moon house between Preston and Hillcrest, and the spectacular mansions on Strait Lane.
At home, keep a shelf for basic art supplies: construction paper, washable markers and glue sticks (not bottled glue which asks to be spilled). Choose coloring and activity books from the dollar store and sidewalk chalk for hopscotch – it washes off easily. Have a pack or two of playing cards for Snap, Go Fish and Old Maid (though probably not a very PC game nowadays). Avoid glitter and ‘slime.’ Let parents cope with these potential hazards.
Older kids don’t need entertaining, though they need to know you are close by. Middle-schoolers love to window shop along the small strip mall at Royal and Preston. Treat them to a frozen yogurt, but remember it’s easy for kids to take $10 worth or more if you’re not watching.