Last week the National Trust launched a nationwide campaign to encourage sofa-bound children to take to the outdoors and enjoy classic adventures. Its ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾’ campaign provides a checklist for under-12s (and those who are young at heart) with activities ranging from running around in the rain and bug hunting, to setting up a snail race and making a mud pie.
The ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾’ initiative has been developed to respond to a report the National Trust commissioned which highlighted research that fewer than one in ten children regularly play in wild places compared to almost half a generation ago. A quarter of all children never play outside, one third have never climbed a tree and amazingly one in 10 cannot ride a bike. Children are more likely to get bumps and bruises falling out of bed than from falling out of trees. Meanwhile, children spend an average of four-and-a-half hours a day sat in front of a TV or computer screen.
But the National Trust report suggests it may be parents who are stopping kids exploring the great outdoors. More than 80% of kids said that they want more freedom to play outside – to build dens, swing on ropes and go camping– but fewer than 10% get the opportunity because their parents won’t let them.
The National Trust have formed a group of five Elite Rangers who will share their expert tips on enjoying outdoor adventures and their enthusiasm for encouraging children to play outdoors.
The elite five will be showing their top tips over a free weekend (21st and 22nd April) when the National Trust will open up over 200 of its houses and gardens for free over the weekend.
Kids can pick up a free 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ scrapbook from participating properties – and start ticking off their ‘outdoor adventures to do’ list. The fun can continue at home by visiting nationaltrust.org.uk/50things where children can fill in their completed activities and earn points towards their very own explorer badge.