My childhood garden was large and full of little nooks and crannies (notice you never get a cranny without a nook?) that offered hours of entertainment. Summers were long and balmy, filled with the squeals of laughter of four siblings who would tie each other to trees with their pigtails (thank you brother 1), hold talent contests on the picnic bench, splash around and soak each other with the hose, play badminton in the quiet side road next to the house, race on the go-kart from the side garden and under the archway to the garage into the back garden, and practise tennis or netball against the side wall of the garage. All under the watchful eye of my mum from the living room or kitchen window, both of which were upstairs (weird layout) and commanded a magnificent view over our 'empire'.
The point I am trying to make here is that we spent hours and hours every day outside.
As my siblings grew older, I had less playmates but it didn't affect my desire to get out into the fresh air. Even now, I feel free when outside, it soothes my frazzled nerves and I can feel my spirits lifting.
When we went to Nymans for the National Trust event earlier this Spring, David Bond (marketing director for Nature!) asked us whether our happy place was inside or outside. The split was about half and half, which is very different to most families. Most adults (and children) now have an indoors happy place. It is therefore, hardly surprising that children in the UK are the most depressed in the natural world; they don't know about the joy of feeling the wind through their hair and tingling their senses, the sun caressing the skin, the sense of achievement when they climb a tree or jump the brook, skim the stone or make a den.
Last year I blogged about the 50 Things To Do Before You're 11&¾ campaign by the National Trust. I set us a goal of 5 Things To Do Before You're 3 and we attempted four of these things (the waterfall was always going to be ambitious!). In the past year we've ticked off a few more of these (mostly easy to achieve) targets and are making steady progress, mainly thanks to the Country Kids linky over on Coombe Mill.
Climb a tree(04/11/12) Roll down a really big hill
- Camp out in the wild
Build a den
- Skim a stone
Run around in the rain Fly a kite Catch a fish with a net(25/07/14) Eat an apple straight from a tree Play conkers
- Go on a really long bike ride
- Make a trail with sticks
Make a mud pie
- Dam a stream
Play in the snow
- Make a daisy chain
- Set up a snail race
Create some wild art(21/07/13) Play Pooh sticks Jump over waves Eat blackberries growing in the wild Explore inside a tree Visit a farm
Go on a walk barefoot
- Make a grass trumpet
- Hunt for fossils and bones
Go star gazing
- Climb a huge hill
Explore a cave Hold a scary beast
Hunt for bugs Find some frogspawn Catch a falling leaf Track wild animals Discover what's in a pond Make a home for a wild animal Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
- Bring up a butterfly
Catch a crab(25/07/14) Go on a nature walk at night Plant it, grow it, eat it Go swimming in the sea Build a raft(05/08/13) Go bird watching Find your way with a map and compass
- Try rock climbing
Cook on a campfire
- Learn to ride a horse
Find a geocache
- Canoe down a river
I've decided to write this post for me so that we can cross off the other targets as and when we meet them. And because it's more a of a reference bank for me, I also thought I'd open it up as a permanent linky until… well The Boy is 11&¾ quite frankly. Either that or until he does them all!
I'd love it if you joined in with your posts or photos (Instagrams/twitpics) showing your children fulfilling one of their Fifty Things To Do Before You're 11&¾.