National Trust

This is Part 4 of our 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ and we’re up to 20 out of the 50 challenges.

Having a National Trust membership is perfect for families as the properties they look after are so varied and diverse that there’s always something for everyone to enjoy.

The National Trust look after the coastline, forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves, villages, historic houses, gardens, mills and pubs and one of the world’s largest art collections. They restore them, protect them and open them up to everyone.  They look after:

• 775 miles of coastline

• Over 248,000 hectares of land

• Over 500 historic houses, castles, ancient monuments gardens and parks and nature reserves.

• Close to one million objects and works of art

The diversity of National Trust properties are amazing, and we have lots to choose from in and around Oxfordshire.  The boys especially enjoy it when there are Easter Egg Hunts as a chocolate egg or bunny at the end of a Treasure Hunt is always a good incentive to go exploring.  

The 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ challenge is also a fantastic way of getting kids outdoors more.

50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾ Categories

The list of 50 activities are split into 5 categories which are:

  • Adventurer – If you’re a brave adventurer then these challenges should be right up your street. From tree climbing to den building via stone skimming and kite flying there are heaps of activities to keep you busy outdoors.
  • Discoverer – these include going on a long bike ride, making a trail with sticks and making a mud pie.
  • Ranger – ranger style activities will keep you outside having fun. They include visiting a farm, making a grass trumpet and going stargazing
  • Tracker – If you can’t wait to get outside, then these are some of the best activities to find and meet creatures.  Make sure if you meet any creatures you’re kind to them and carefully put them back where you found them. 
  • Explorer – for all those explorers there are some brilliant activities that will keep you discovering loads of new things. From growing your own fruit or veg to rock climbing or cooking on a campfire.

Part 4 Of Our 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾

This is Part 4 of our 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ and we’re up to 20 out of the 50 challenges.

Adventurer – Skim a Stone (N0. 5)

The boys love going for walks by the river or lakes and of course they love skimming stones.  There’s a bit of a knack to it but with plenty of practice you can make the stones bounce along the water.  It’s best to try it on water that has a calm surface and use a flat stone.


Adventurer – Eat an Apple straight from a Tree (N0. 9)

Our garden has two apple trees, one with cooking apples and one with eating apples.  The eating apple tree has low branches, so the boys help themselves to apples when they are ripe and ready to eat.

The middle grandson also loves apple crumble and is always happy to help me make one for pudding on a Sunday.


Discoverer – Play Poohsticks (No. 19)

The boys know all about Poohsticks as they have taken part in the Poohsticks World Championships which are held near us each year.  

It used to be held at Days Lock in Little Wittenham, but it has now become so popular that the organisers have had to move it to a bigger location.  

The event is now held on the River Windrush bridge, which links Witney with Cogges Manor Farm and is a filming location for ITV drama Downton Abbey.

Of course, you can play Poohsticks from any bridge which is still great fun but if you want a chance to become a World Champion you could enter the competition.


Tracker – Catch a Crab (No. 39)

When the boys go Rock Pooling in Croyde Bay, North Devon they quite often catch tiny crabs in their nets.

However, one of the best ways to catch crabs is with a crabbing line.  Gone Crabbing has some Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t …. put too many crabs in one bucket. Stick to 10 per pail
  • Do …. add rocks and seaweed to the bucket to help replicate the crab’s natural environment and reduce stress
  • Don’t …. keep them all day long – return them to sea
  • Do …. change the water every 10 minutes to avoid asphyxiation. Only keep the crabs in sea water.
  • Don’t …. store your bucket in the sun
  • Don’t …. use a line with a hook on. Either tie your bacon on or use an old pair of tights/bit of net to hold your bacon in.
  • Do …. hold your crab correctly – gently hold it either side of its shell or pick it up with one finger on top of the shell and one finger underneath – avoiding the claws though!
  • Do …. remove any crabs which are fighting – male crabs tend to be more aggressive than the ladies.
  • Do …. remember to take all your equipment and rubbish home with you.
  • Do … go crabbing. When done responsibly, crabbing is an excellent way to introduce children to the marine ecology.

Tracker – Go on a Nature Walk at Night (No. 40)

We stayed in the Forest of Dean on a Forest Holiday.  One of the highlights of the weekend was when we went out on a night walk with the Ranger.

Our Ranger was Gerry who has a pet Barn Owl called the Professor who came on the walk with us.  Before we started our walk, Gerry gave us a quick talk and let the boys put a wild boar pelt on. We then spent an hour and half walking around the forest in the dusk looking for animals.  We heard something in the distance which Gerry said was probably Wild Boar but didn’t actually see them.  

The boys got to walk with the Professor and play with the Bat locator, we did see a lot of Bats, which they really enjoyed.


It’s great fun to use the list to come up with new ideas of things to do.  I’d love to know how many you’ve ticked off the list and if you have any helpful tips of where to go to do them?

Written by 

Hi, I’m Frankie. This is my blog (Thoroughly Modern Grandma) about blending old fashioned values with modern technology, whilst trying to reduce our waste and be a little kinder to our Planet.

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