50 Things to Do Before You’re 11¾


Do your kids play outdoors as much as you did as a child? It seems the answer is going to be no as the National Trust conducted research that found that fewer than one in ten children regularly play in wild places compared to almost half a generation ago, a third have never climbed a tree and one in ten can’t ride a bike.

Pond dipping - 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11¾
Dearne Valley RSPB Old Moor, Yorkshire

It’s true the children of today have a lot more options but that doesn’t stop the fact that getting outside together can be great fun and good for all the family so I loved the idea of this campaign which included plenty of simple ideas to get you enjoying the great outdoors again.

The National Trust launched www.50things.org.uk in 2012 and it’s still running now.Kids can tick things off the list to gain rewards and get help from a virtual Outdoors Explorer. There’s a parents area too so you can help your family stay safe while enjoying nature time together.

Victoria Park, Merseyside Liverpool - 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11¾
Victoria Park, Merseyside

I live in London with my young daughter yet we still have plenty of places to play outdoors as London has more open green spaces than many major world cities. Without mentioning theRoyal Parks which are spread across the city, Kew GardensHampstead Heath, the London Wetland Centre and Epping Forest are fantastic, as is Abney Park in Stoke Newington andCamley Street Natural Park in King’s Cross.

Flying kites in Swindon - 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11¾
Flying kites in Swindon

When did you last fly a kite? Skim a stone? Or make a mud pie? I love kite flying on Hampstead Heath and always skim stones at Brighton beach. Mud pies aren’t really my thing but my daughter loves ‘cooking’ them in our local park most weeks. National Trust Elite Ranger Captain Skim, aka Mark Astley, says flat stones thrown hard and low produce the best skimming results. His personal best is 27 skims so we can’t deny he knows what he’s talking about.

Brighton Beach - 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11¾
Brighton Beach

There’s no age limit to enjoying time outdoors so I reckon we should all check the list and see if there’s something we’ve missed doing for a long time. What are you going to try first? I want to try 29 and 37 soon!

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 (we did this at Bryngarw Coutry Park)
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 (I’ve been white water rafting in London!)
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

This article was first published on the Visit Britain Super Blog in 2012.

More from Laura Porter

Escape Room: Leonardo Artmergency! at the Queen’s Gallery

There’s a full events programme for the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: A...
Read More