We’ve had a National Trust family membership for years. It’s great fun going out for the day exploring, and with an annual family membership we can take up to 10 children. We only have 3 Grandchildren, I can’t imagine taking 10 for a day out!
The National Trust has updated its list of 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ and revealed the best places to do them.
50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ Categories
The 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 1 of our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾
We’ve started ticking off the things the Boys have don on the list and we’ve covered quite a few but we’ve still got a few to go.
Here’s part one with 5 of our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.
1. Adventurer – Climb a Tree (no 1)
Boys being boys they love to climb trees, and this is probably one of the 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ challenges that the boys have done the most.
As well as having a couple of trees in the garden that the boys often climb we’re also lucky that there are plenty of places to walk with plenty of trees to climb as we’re on the border of Oxfordshire and Berkshire where. A couple of their favourite places to climb trees are Wittenham Clumps and Blenheim Palace.
Wittenham Clumps is the common name for two chalk hills in Little Wittenham just down the road from us. The grassy slopes of The Clumps lead up to a wooded area which has the oldest beech tree plantings in England, dating to the 1740s.
The Earth Trust also run organised climbing sessions for kids age 6 and over on The Clumps.
2. Adventurer – Build a Den (no 4)
While we were on holiday in the Forest of Dean with Forest Holiday the boys spent a day doing a Bush Survival Course with the Forest Ranger. They learnt all about Den making so are quite proficient at building a den from a few sticks.
If you want to have a go at building a den, you’ll need:
- Your hands
The National trust has an informative video on den building and suggestions of the best national trust places to visit for Den Building
Building a den is definitely one of the boys’ favourite 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.
3. Discoverer – Go on a really long Bike Ride (no 11)
There are some wonderful places to ride a bike or scooter off road, so you don’t have to worry about the traffic. The boys love riding their bikes around Blenheim Palace as there is plenty of space.
Another great place to get off road with your bikes is Croft County Park near Swindon where there are marked trails for mountain bikes. The trails are free to use offer both a family/beginner off-road trail (Blue), and a more technical trail (Red) with features for the more experienced cyclist or those wishing to improve their skills.
4. Discoverer – Dam a Stream (no 14)
A wonderful place to build dams is at Shotover Park on the outskirts of Oxford. Shotover is a nationally important wildlife site, most of the Country Park is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is open to everyone to enjoy throughout the year free of charge.
There are 117 hectares to explore with Ancient woods, flowery meadows, marshes, heaths, ponds and bracken covered slopes.
The boys love the natural sandpit (click for downloadable Map of Shotover) where they can dam the stream to make a pond and then have fun breaking the dam and watching the water gush away.
It’s also fun to build a dam on the beach where the water is flowing into the sea. The boys love doing this at Croyde Bay.
5. Ranger – Pick Blackberries (no 21)
Grandson no 2 loves blackberry and apple crumble so is always keen to go out picking blackberries when they are in season.
Blackberries are in season during August, September and October. Although you see lots of blackberry bushes along the roadside we find the best blackberry picking spots are along old disused railway lines near us as they are away from traffic.
When you’re out on a walk keep your eyes peeled as blackberries can grow almost anywhere so it’s always a clever idea to have a container with you in case you come across any on your walks.
A top tip if you’re going out to pick blackberries is to wear long sleeves and trousers as they are very prickly and don’t pick them from the bottom of the bush just in case any doggies have had a wee there.
Once they’ve picked some blackberries they will be able to tick off no 21 on the list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.
That was 5 out of the 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ that the boys have ticked off so far. It’s great for kids to get out and about exploring nature but just make sure they do it safely. The National Trust has a useful safety information guide
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?