50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 and Three Quarters and 35 and One Quarter, Respectively

You may have seen something in the news last week about the National Trust’s list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾*. I did – and I got really excited about it.

The idea is that children who are chained to their XBoxes and / or wrapped in health and safety wadding will break free into the great outdoors and have some fun (and visit some National Trust properties, obviously.) On a nifty website, children record details of what they did and how they did it and collect virtual bits and pieces along the way. It might seem a bit twee, but when you look at the list, there’s loads of great stuff that you probably did when you were a child and would love to have a go at again.

Interestingly, the author of this article in Huffington Post reads it as another ‘litany of to-dos’ for parents. It’s an valid point, given the fact we’re all short of time and we are told what to do a little too often, but I still love the idea. I’d rather Tom was using a computer to record what he’s been doing in the fresh air than sitting at it all day, playing games and not getting any fresh air at all. Tom’s only six, so we’ve got until the end of 2017 to tick everything off (by which time I will be 35.). No one is going to stamp a massive red ‘failure’ on my head if we don’t get to do all the things, but we’ll have some fun trying…

It was the National Trust’s list that inspired me to drag Tom out into the overcast afternoon last Saturday. He’d been watching telly while I spring cleaned (faffed about on Twitter, looked for the hoover attachment but couldn’t find it, went on Rightmove, put three dresses in a charity shop bag then decided I might wear them again and took them out again.) We went to Clifton Country Park in Salford, where they were running an activity about bird nests. We ventured out into the woods with binoculars, looked at birds nests (did you know that birds make nests with horses’ tail hair and padding from people’s coats? Clever little things), collected nest stuff and made our own, psychedelic nest. Afterwards, Tom fell flat on his face in a quagmire and cried for a bit (I always know it’s bad when he cries.) I brushed him off and cuddled him, then we went on a massive, five mile ramble, got lost somewhere in between the motorway and the Irwell and laughed. We didn’t tick anything off the list but it was an ace day out and I didn’t have to do the housework.

Psychedelic nest, possibly belonging to the Roly Poly bird

We’re going to try and do as many of the things on the list as we can near home. We’ve done lots of them already, but we might do them again. We might not have a garden, but we do have a yard with a newt in it and loads of parks. “Manchester has got everything except a beach” is possibly the most over quoted Mancunian quote, but it is actually true. (Apart from that pop-up thing in Castlefield, is that still there?) Anyway, there are some beach-based tasks on the list, but we’ll be able to tick some of those off when we go on holiday to the South of France in a few weeks (The South of France!) We had a choice of Thomson Al Fresco parks for our prize, so I went for the one with the mobile homes right on the beach. (More on that soon.)

How about you, are you doing the list? I don’t think you have to be under 12…

*I’ve just realised that you can’t actually see the list on the National Trust website unless you sign up, so I’ve put the full list in a comment below…



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8 responses to “50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 and Three Quarters and 35 and One Quarter, Respectively

  1. Sarah

    I love the list! Have you read their Natural Childhood report. Some scary statistics but really interesting…


  2. Witchmountain

    That picture is so lovely I got a bit of a lump in my throat. I just got back from a few days doing some of those things ( only not falling in mud) it was my 45th birthday and skipping through the forest I felt just like your son looks; I mean, inside myself I felt about 6, while to others I probably looked a bit peculiar. Beautiful nest too ( I found a nest with blue eggs, there is a picture on Twitter)

    • Emily

      thanks for commenting – that sounds like an ace way to spend a birthday! The picture was actually taken last year, around this time, when the weather was a hundred times better!

  3. Emily

    Here’s the list in full:

    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

  4. HonestMum.com

    Wonderful list. Will make my way through and happy to say can tick off some of them! Thanks for this x

  5. Tempted to print this list off!

  6. I love the list too! and even though me and my children are well past 11, we shall be trying to complete it! Thanks for itemising the whole list 🙂

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