Friday 21 April 2017

Having fun with the National Trusts 50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4

National trust header

Originally launched in 2012 the National Trust's bucket list of 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4 is an amazing and successful attempt to get the nations tech-centric kids off the sofa and out into the great outdoors to experience nature as I did as a child 30-40 years ago.

The shocking findings of the National Trusts Natural Childhood Report in 2012 were the catalyst for the National Trust to take a pioneering role in helping families to get back to enjoying the great outdoors together. Over the last few decades, children's relationships with the natural world have been declining to the point that by the time the National Trusts report was published a third of children had never climbed a tree and one in ten cannot ride a bike.

Twin girls jumping in leaves

Now here we are five years later and there is still a very long way to go but great leaps forward have been made. Hundreds of thousands of 50 things scrapbooks have been given out and kids all across the country are busy ticking off the 50 activities and seeking to achieve their mystery surprise for completion. But for those kids that only know the modern way, there is also a free app that can be downloaded for iOS or Android devices.

So what kind of activities can your kids get involved with? All sorts and so many that don't cost a penny - make a mud pie, fly a kite, climb a tree, play make-believe with sticks, do some nature art or go bug hunting. These don't have to be done at a National Trust site, they can be done anywhere - in the garden, at an urban park or on local fields but we've found it a real joy as a family to do some of the activities at National Trust sites as they make it really easy. Being the visual reminder to get involved, providing enthusiastic volunteers, supplying stickers and even making events available for the kids to join in with.

Kids bug finding

Yes there are a few that are slightly more challenging and require a bit of organisation but I've found a few of these have been taken care of by my kids being Scouts and Cubs, things like canoeing, camping and cooking on an open fire. My near 10-year-old girls only have three tasks left and they are to learn to ride a horse, build a raft and catch a fish. The raft building should be accomplished at their school PGL holiday in September, my brother will help them fish and to be honest I'm not sure they'll achieve the horse riding in the next couple of years as the cost of that is extensive.

Girls playing on a large log

To be honest it doesn't matter, ticking all 50 off was never my aim for being involved. For me, it was just about family time outdoors and helping my children know there is fun beyond our front door and it's worked. As I started to write this post I could recall all sorts of trips, days out and family times where I'd have relevant pictures to share if the kids totting up their 50 things. A big thanks to the National Trust for being the inspiration and the kick up the bum that my family needed back in 2013.

Why not pin this post for later?

National trust pin

Check out all our other National Trust reviews over here.  

Disclosure: We've received some free passes for our family to use at National Trust sites in exchange for an honest write-up about our family's day out.

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