January 5, 2013 posted by littlewhitecottage

50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾ part 1 – Climb a tree.

The National Trust has compiled a list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾  (see link here) and this really interested me, first to see what we should be doing with our children to be considered ‘average’ and ‘normal’ but also to see if we’d actually done any of them. I am smug to report that we have done some of the list but there’s still quite a lot for us to do…

Some of the list seems very sensible – make mud cakes, go camping and throw snow but some seem a little more adventurous than I’d really like-a good example of this is ‘wild swimming.’ Now I’m no killjoy but jumping in a canal, river or stream really isn’t going to be my bag as having lived on a boat for 3 years I didn’t once have the urge to jump in the dirty water ‘just for fun’. Some of it does sound great though and I particularly like ‘get behind a waterfall’ (does going under Niagara Falls count for that one? Our 8 year old did that with us but the other 2 haven’t yet) and also ‘play geocache’ which is something friends do with their children and tell us how much fun it is but we’ve never had a go ourselves.

I read the list and quite like it. I surprise myself in this feeling as I don’t usually like the ’50 things to read/see/experience/not do’ kind of articles and books that seem so popular. It’s as if you work your way through the list you’ll feel some sort of magic accomplishment but what do you do when you’ve come to the end of the list? Hope they discover a new Bronte text or just look out for the next ’50 things…’ list? I also think that sometimes whilst we’re sat with head down working through someone else’s lists of someone else’s opinions then surely life may be just passing us by. Doing someone else’s list we’re not thinking for ourselves and I certainly don’t want the boys to be ridged and need the next number on the National Trusts ‘must do’ list.


Stepping away from being a little bit like a grumpy old woman I do think the list is a good starting point so we’re going to have a go at it and see where it leads us though I am going to rearrange it so the activities are a bit more seasonally appropriate as I’m certainly not up for camping in the second week of January! As I’ve also said I’m not into some of the activities (remember ‘wild swimming?’) and I don’t want the boys to be jumping into rivers and streams I may take the activity as a starting point and see where it takes us. I don’t think that’s cheating as we’ll still be outside, having fun and I think that really is the main point of the list.

So. No 1 on the list is ‘Climb a tree’ now this is a good one for us all to start with as we are lucky to be surrounded by trees but as yet the boys have shown no inclination to even have a go at climbing them. This has always confused me as when I was their age –certainly my eldest anyway – I could climb trees as well as the next boy. In fact I would go so far as to say that even at the age of 37 I would still be better at climbing trees than my children!

tree blog 2

This picture I took a while ago after we all got home from school and I said ‘right, you’re not coming in until you’ve had a go at climbing a tree!!’ so, bless them, they did have a go but as you can see they weren’t really that great! This picture shows Henry not really getting to grips with the smallest tree in the garden…

tree blog

Here’s Ollie managing to get into the tree (less than 2 feet off the ground!) but not looking very comfortable!

We will have a go at climbing trees again this week because I think we’ll have a lot of fun trying. Hubbie will have a go, I’ll have a go and I’ll show them the biggest tree in the garden – the walnut tree – and say they’ll be they a special prize for the person who gets the furthest up the tree. I know my boys and that will get them excited as they are incredibly competitive with each other.

So if you’d like to join us in our yearlong (just about) quest to have a go at the National Trusts list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ then why not? It’s about getting our children outside more, noticing animals and nature more but above all, I think, having much more family time and that can only be a good thing.

Please feel free to comment letting me know how you’re getting on (I’m sure your children will be far more fabulous at climbing trees than mine!) and if you’d to share any photos of your escapades then pop over to my Facebook page

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