Fifty Things To Do Before You’re 11 3/4

Image: The National Trust

The National Trust has launched a scheme to encourage sofa-bound children outside and to enjoy the big outdoors. They want to get children exploring and excited about nature’s own playground. They have put together a comprehensive list of 50 things all kids need to have experienced before they hit 12 and have formed a team of Elite Rangers whose responsibility it is to get little ones on their feet.

There are a few worrying statistics which inspired the scheme and propelled the Elite team in to action. A quarter of all children never play outside, a third have never climbed a tree and amazingly one in 10 can’t even ride a bike. Kids are more than twice as likely to get bumps and bruises falling out of bed than falling out of trees and one in four don’t know what a mouse looks like. Meanwhile, children spend an average of four-and-a-half hours a day sat in front of a TV or computer screen.

Image: The National Trust

Are parents to blame though? The National Trust conducted a survey with children –  more than 80% of kids say they want more freedom to play outside – to build dens, swing on ropes, go camping or explore rock pools – but fewer than 10% get the chance because their mums and dads won’t let them. One in five youngsters aged seven to 12 have been forbidden from playing conkers and 17% are not even allowed to play tag.

The go-to list is a response to this, the Rangers want kids outside and ticking off the list as they play:

The list

1. Climb a tree

2. Roll down a really big hill

3. Camp out in the wild

4. Build a den

5. Skim a stone

6. Run around in the rain

7. Fly a kite

8. Catch a fish with a net

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree

10. Play conkers

11. Throw some snow

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach

13. Make a mud pie

14. Dam a stream

15. Go sledging

16. Bury someone in the sand

17. Set up a snail race

18. Balance on a fallen tree

19. Swing on a rope swing

20. Make a mud slide

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild

22. Take a look inside a tree

23. Visit an island

24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

25. Make a grass trumpet

26. Hunt for fossils and bones

27. Watch the sun wake up

28. Climb a huge hill

29. Get behind a waterfall

30. Feed a bird from your hand

31. Hunt for bugs

32. Find some frogspawn

33. Catch a butterfly in a net

34. Track wild animals

35. Discover what’s in a pond

36. Call an owl

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

38. Bring up a butterfly

39. Catch a crab

40. Go on a nature walk at night

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

42. Go wild swimming

43. Go rafting

44. Light a fire without matches

45. Find your way with a map and compass

46. Try bouldering

47. Cook on a campfire

48. Try abseiling

49. Find a geocache

50. Canoe down a river

We’re hoping that the list is open to grown-ups as well! Kids can sign up to the scheme here.