Sunday, 29 April 2012

Before you are 11 and 3/4's

The National Trust is campaigning to encourage children to get out of doors and running around and they have put together a list of the 50 things children should do before they are 11 and 3/4. Even in the recent bad weather, I can't stand being inside for more than a few hours at a time - I love being on adventures out of doors!

The aim of the National Trust is to get children off the computer or away from the television and encourage them to enjoy the great outdoors and the joys of nature. A survey revealed a quarter of children never play outside, a third have never climbed a tree and 1 in 10 can't ride a bike. Meanwhile they spend an average of 4.5 hours each day in front of the TV or computer. ARG!

My form are 11 years old. I did a quick survey and the response was woeful! They really haven't PLAYED properly!! How disastrous it that?! The only thing to do is lead by example. Therefore, I have checked my score on the National Trust list, and intend to remedy the gaps, preferably with nieces and nephews in tow, before the Autumn Term begins in September. Meanwhile, in school, I am taking my pupils out every chance I get. You can't say you've lived unless you've done a good few of these things.

Check how you measure up! Remedy you inner child's need to play. You know you want to. Summer is, after all, the time to PLAY, especially when the weather is bad. :-)

1. Climb a tree - I lived up trees when I was a child. You had to work wonders to get me down.

2. Roll down a really big hill - Yes, Robin Hill, often. And memorably, as a teenager, after a quantity of Lambrini. Classy.

3. Camp out in the wild - Of course! And, I am going again in the next few weeks. I am learning how to be responsible enough to bring children wild camping. Wouldn't miss it for the world.

4. Build a den - Absolutely. Everyone needs a base camp in summer. Russell Park was our den.

5. Skim a stone - Our family had competitions! I was never the winner, but I loved to try!

6. Run around in the rain - Still do

7. Fly a kite - Often. And, in October 1987 it lifted me off my feet and I screamed!! I watched the same thing happen to Gemma and laughed!

8. Catch a fish with a net - Only once, at a Trout fishing farm in England somewhere. With Anto.

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree - All the time, every year.

10. Play conkers - Of course

11. Throw some snow - Whenever I get the chance

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach - What else do you do when the sea is FREEZING?

13. Make a mud pie - Naturally

14. Dam a stream - Not that I recall. I do remember trying to measure the depth of a very muddy stream with a stick though. I came out looking like a monster from the deep.

15. Go sledging - Yep.

16. Bury someone in the sand - I was normally the one who got buried.

17. Set up a snail race - I so have to do this. I saw a snails' nest this year and fell in love with it.

18. Balance on a fallen tree - Of course. And jumped up and down on it.

19. Swing on a rope swing - Over a river. Why do something only a little bit dangerous?

20. Make a mud slide - Not that I recall. We just used to wax the big old slide we had in the park and make it go VERY fast. We put cushions at the end to ensure a soft landing.

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild - Every year.

22. Take a look inside a tree - Of course, looking for squirrels.

23. Visit an island - I was born on one. I live on another one. I have been to many. Isle de Re, Inis Oirr, Inis Meain, Mont Saint Michel, Skellig Michael.

24. Feel like you're flying in the wind - In Ireland on a windy day the wind made you fly.

25. Make a grass trumpet - And a pollen bomb, of course

26. Hunt for fossils and bones - Gemma still does this when she goes to Lyme.

27. Watch the sun wake up - Once, memorably, with my brother Stephen, having climbed down the cliffs at Malin Head especially to see it.

28. Climb a huge hill - Any chance I get

29. Get behind a waterfall - And do 'Last of the Mohican' impressions - 'I will find you! no matter how long it takes! No matter how far!'

30. Feed a bird from your hand - The little yellow chicken I held at New Grange Farm pooped on me and I laughed. I held a baby lamb that day too. It was a very happy day in my childhood.

31. Hunt for bugs - and collected them

32. Find some frogspawn - Found it, watched it hatch, loved the baby frogs hopping about when they arrived!

33. Catch a butterfly in a net - Never! But I have chased them!

34. Track wild animals - Foxes, badgers, cats, rabbits.

35. Discover what's in a pond - You mean by falling in?

36. Call an owl - How? I wish I could. I can do good impressions.

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool - Of course!

38. Bring up a butterfly - How?

39. Catch a crab - Every year, with a rasher on a piece of string. Standard Hutton holiday activity.

40. Go on a nature walk at night - Yup.

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it - Of course. It's a life skill.

42. Go wild swimming - Under a waterfall, yes. And under Croagh Patrick in a thunder storm. More recently in the fjords of Oslo.

43. Go rafting - If this means floating down a river on a log, yes.

44. Light a fire without matches - Not sure. Not that I remember!

45. Find your way with a map and compass - Yes, but I prefer to get lost!

46. Try bouldering - Yes, and I love it.

47. Cook on a campfire - Chocolate bananas are my favourite.

48. Try abseiling - I love it very much, but have only done it a few times. When I was 11 I was never frightened. I wonder what I would be like now?

49. Find a geocache - I'm too old to have tried this, but I love the idea! I have been on plenty on non-technological treasure hunts!

50. Canoe down a river - Many times, and it is great fun!

Get out and complete your childhood adventures! Bring children with you. Enjoy!

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