Inspired by the National Trust’s excellent ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’, I take a look at which of the fifty activities Tilly has already completed as she approaches 3¾. It’s rather more than I thought…
We were given a National Trust membership for Christmas and on our latest visit to one of their properties I picked up the guide to the 50 activities for children to get some ideas.
Tilly is child who gets cabin fever easily so I try to get her outside nearly every day. Although I make no claim on being the most practical or outdoorsy dad, looking through the ’50 things to do’ list I realise that tiny Tilly has already ticked off a fair number of the activities. At 3¾ years of age I thought it was a good time for a progress check to see if we’re on track to having done all 50 by 11¾.
1. Climb a tree
Fittingly, Tilly recently discovered a tree full of children at the National Trust’s Hughenden Manor property and scaled into the lower branches. I’m sure she would have gone higher if I’d not been there to ensure restraint. (NT1)
2. Roll down a really big hill
Tilly has visited Ashton Memorial a few times now, which sits high over Lancaster. The view is great but Tilly has enjoyed rolling down the rather steep hill even more. (NT2)
3. Play in the snow
We don’t have much snow but on each snow day for the past couple of winters, Tilly has been out in the garden and loving it. (NT15)
4. Create some wild art
Tilly’s recent visit to the local field centre involved making an owl and bracelet using leaves flowers from around the centre’s grounds. (NT 18)
5. Play pooh sticks
The modest chalk stream that runs through our town is ideal for pooh sticks and Tilly has had a few games on the small bridges with friends. (NT 19)
6. Pick blackberries growing in the wild
We have some excellent berry-laden hedgerows within walking distance of home and the past two autumns have seen us picking plenty, although Tilly ends up eating the majority with little making it home (NT21)
7. Visit a farm
Living in a rural area, farms make up a fair proportion of activities and events throughout the year. Tilly has visited loads of farms including current working farms, play farms and historic farms. (NT23)
8. Climb a huge hill
Although her stamina is limited at the age of three, Tilly has been to the top of Coombe Hill with me, one of the highest points in the Chilterns and a brilliant viewpoint (NT28)
9. Hunt for bugs
Tilly is an experienced minibeast hunter with favourite stones for discovering the best of the bugs that live in our garden. (NT31)
10. Find some frogspawn
Thanks to the grandparents’ pond, Tilly has helped find some frogspawn not to mention some frogs and toads too. (NT32)
11. Discover what’s in a pond
A recent open day at the local field centre enabled Tilly to check this one off the list. A variety of bugs and even a newt were the pond haul. (NT35)
12. Check out the crazy creatures in a rockpool
We had a cold and windswept visit to Morecambe Bay on an early spring day. We didn’t find much but it marked Tilly’s first exploration of rock pools. (NT37)
13. Bring up a butterfly
Full marks to her preschool, Tilly has seen caterpillars make their fascinating journey through to becoming butterflies. (NT38)
14. Plant it, grow it, eat it
Another nod to preschool, Tilly has grown and eaten cress. (NT41)
15. Go bird watching
We’re often on the look out for birds in the garden and recently tried out the hide at the Chiltern Open Air Museum. (NT43)
16. Cook on a campfire
The enchanted museum event at the Chiltern Open Air Museum was Tilly’s first experience of toasting marshmallows on a campfire. (NT47)
17. Find a geocache
We recently tracked down a geocache near to home. (NT49)
Impressively, at just three and three quarter years old, Tilly has already completed a third of the activities. True, one or two are in a scaled down form suitable for her age but there’s no doubt that the first few years of her life have been full of experiences.
The great thing about the National Trust’s activities list is that you can do the majority of them at no cost if you’re in the right place. The woods, the seaside or just your own garden can make the ideal setting for adventures in nature.
You can find out more about the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ challenge and see the full list of the activities on their ’50 Things’ website.
Perhaps you’re working through the list with your children. Share your progress in the comments section.
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