After my recent post about how we should be allowing our children to explore the outdoors more to help them to connect with nature I was delighted to hear on the radio news this morning about the National Trust's new Fifty things to do before you're 11 3/4 campaign.
If you're not seen this on today's news then let me tell you a little about the campaign. The idea is to encourage children to put down their computer games and step away from their TV sets and instead embrace the great outdoors. They have come up with a list of fifty activities for children to try with an accompanying website where children can tick off things as they do them and receive online rewards when they reach certain targets.
The idea of linking together outdoor activities with the online world which they also want to drag children away from is, I think, a clever one. The truth is that you will never totally take children away from today's modern technology and by doing the campaign this way I think that the National Trust are acknowledging that whilst also encouraging children to do as much as they can outside.
The list contains some lovely simple ideas like eating an apple straight from a tree, throwing snow, playing conkers and finding some frogspawn. For those slightly older children there are more adventurous things like abseiling and canoeing. Obviously the simpler activities are nice and easy for children to be able to do with their parents, and cheap as well, whereas some of the more difficult ones really do need to be done as organised activities, but I would hope that the National Trust might be looking to put on things like this at some of their properties. I have also seen a few people who volunteer with the Scouts and Guides suggesting that they already help their members to complete some of the activities on the list and I hope that the National Trust has and will work with them and other youth organisations to help children achieve things.
I think the campaign is an excellent one and I really hope that it will not only encourage children, but also their parents, to get outside and embrace nature. I'm certainly planning to use the list as a means of suggesting things that we can do outside with Little Miss C over the months and years ahead. Take a look at their website and see what you could get up to with your children this weekend, or think ahead and plan to visit a National Trust property for free on the 21st and 22nd April – all you need to do is print a voucher from their website!