There are lots of discussions about whether modern childhood is as good as childhood was in our parents’ generation as well as whether children spend too much time in front of screens. Of course, the world our children will grow up in is different and there will be more reliance on technology in their futures. It’s important that they are able to function in that world. Equally important though, is making sure they get time away from the screens, time to play outside and have fun in nature – all things in moderation.
In an effort to make sure today’s children get to experience some of the joy of being outdoors that was common in the past, the National Trust has introduced a list of “50 Things to do Before You’re 11 ¾”. The list contains childhood essentials like climbing a tree, skimming stones, picking wild blackberries and playing conkers as well as some more modern pursuits such as finding a geocache.
Completing the list will help children develop their skills in navigation and survival, build their knowledge of the natural world and give them plenty of opportunities to get wet and muddy! Some of the tasks are easily accomplished – rolling down a hill, for example, and some will take a bit more preparation, such as damming a stream or building a raft. Some will require your children (and you!) to get up close and personal with some mini beasts – are you up to holding a scary beast or raising butterflies? For the more adventurous, you can learn to ride a horse or canoe down a river and for those with a good attention span there’s the challenge to plant, grow and eat a crop.
Whether or not you manage to complete the list, having a go at a selection of these challenges is a guaranteed way to build fun into the summer for you and your children (though you might need to wait until winter to complete the snow based challenges!)
You can find the complete list, and sign your child up for rewards at the 50 Things website.
About the author:
Barefoot Mahala is written by Nicola Kelsall, a 40 year old mother of three young children. An ex-teacher who now home educates her children, Nicola writes about life as a parent, home education, feminism, breastfeeding, crafts, gardening and almost everything in between.