January 11, 2013 posted by littlewhitecottage

50 Things to do before you’re 11 and ¾ Part 1 ‘Climbing Trees’ – So How Did We Do?

This week we as part of the challenge we had a go at climbing trees. Now my boys love to run around, ride their bikes and make a lot of noise but the one the one thing they’re not known for is their ability to climb trees. Still, having said that they were very keen to give it a go and all set off enthusiastically to hunt for their tree…

We are very lucky living where we do as there is no shortage of trees for the boys to have a go at. There are pine trees –with branches like ladders – a pear tree that’s leaning so great to start on, a greengage tree that is too old  and spindly (and bendy) for anyone to climb, a massive (‘ma-hoosive’ as a friend of mine would say) walnut tree which really is for the more advanced tree climbers amongst us and wizened old apple trees that were a good starting point. We chose a small little tree that had a split trunk as I felt this would make things easier for them and they’d also had a go at this tree before.

 trees 2

Henry started –as you can see in the picture- and didn’t really fair very well. He scraped his brown shoes up the bark as his legs furiously tried to get a bit of grip to walk up the tree. This was a technique I’d not even considered but as Henry does have a different way of thinking about life and its problems it wasn’t really too much of a surprise. He wasn’t that successful and got a little frustrated. He had a stamping of the foot, a waving of the arms and body and even whined like he was about to go into a full on proper tantrum but something in him stopped him and he began to think instead…

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Henry had noticed Ollie swinging on the branches and so he went round the back of the tree and tried this approach. This worked so much better as he used his tummy muscles to get his legs into the tree and then grab onto the trunk using his hands.

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Once in the tree there was a huge sense of satisfaction for Henry and he insisted I take a photo to show Hubbie and his Grandparents so here it is…

I really liked the way the boys tried to help Tobes too. He struggled with all of the trees which I found interesting as once when we were talking to the lovely people who look after the garden for us Isobel (the wife of the husband and wife team) looked above my head in alarm and as we both turned we saw Tobes walk across the top of the swings after climbing up the ladder and getting on the top –some 6 foot in the air – which wasn’t bad for a diddy 2 year old. He seemed a bit in awe of the trees like he just didn’t know where to start so he made a fuss and his brothers helped him…

trees 1

Here they are ‘stuffing’ him in the tree!

trees 01

Here he is in the tree not looking overly confident but refusing to have help or come down. This is typical of Tobes as he’s very much the ‘whatever they (his big brothers) are doing, I can do it too’ and to be fair he normally does. I can relate to this being the youngest too of 3.

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There was lots of arguing (‘you’re on my fingers!!’) there was a lot of negotiating (‘can you move a bit and then I can put my hand there?’) there was a lot of picking off bark and getting the green lichen on their coats (which at first they were horrified at!) but they also noticed the grooves and patterns in the bark, questioned why certain trees grew the way they did and came up with interesting answers to their questions.

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They also noticed things that I haven’t like this branch that had had a rope tied round it years ago and it grew despite the rope cutting into it.  Being in the trees made them look at the trees and they really enjoyed that.

So that was our 1st part of the ’50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾ ‘s’ and I think the boys enjoyed it. They liked swinging on the branches and learning the names of the tree –which is something I never did as a child despite living in a village full of them. They found a bit of determination and used their brains to work out how and where to put their feet but, to be honest, they haven’t rushed out since to be alone with the trees and certainly haven’t tried climbing them. I think I have to face the fact that my lovely boys are beautiful, noisy, amazing and everything else a parent feels but if I’m being honest, and I am, they aren’t really tree climbers!



  • hope this works so i can still follow 🙂

    • The more the merrier 🙂 x

  • Love your blogs. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you! It’s so great to have feedback -especially when it’s lovely feedback 🙂 Emma x

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