Bucket list for Kids: Fifty things to do before you’re 11 ¾

I really liked this list published by the National Trust, except for the addition of the health and safety bits which annoyed me and contradicted the entire article.   However, the article made me rather nostalgic, thinking back to when I was growing up in Canada in the great outdoors.  We were chucked out the door first thing in the morning and wouldn’t return until dinnertime.  The majority of time was spent roaming the neighbourhood and playing in the woods with very little parental interference or direction.

However, I was saddened to read that fewer than one in ten children play in wild places regularly, a third have not climbed trees, and one tenth cannot ride a bicycle.  I have to admit that as a family we don’t spend as much time ‘doing’ nature as we should.

I had a long discussion on the phone with a researcher from the Globe and Mail, discussing why this might be the case and honestly, I can’t pinpoint one exact reason.  Is it over protective parenting?  Is this the fault of the media for putting the fear of god in us about stranger danger and cyber stalking?  Is it overcrowding/busy streets? Unrealistic expectations on parents? Could it be lack of time due to work commitments?  Or knowing what to do with our kids when we do have time?  Can we blame the weather?  Seriously, what is it?

I’m taking this as a ‘gentle’ reminder to get my daughter out more as there are so many benefits from ‘green’ play; I think a lot of us should really.  I can’t wait to have a go at geo-caching now that I’ve worked out what it is.  However, I’m not too keen on my daughter catching crabs!?!?!

I think we haven’t made too bad of a start so far.  The plan is to keep updating it as time goes on.

1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Camp out in the wild

4. Build a den

5. Skim a stone
6. Run around in the rain

7. Fly a kite

8. Catch a fish with a net

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
10. Play conkers
11. Throw some snow

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach
13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Go sledging

16. Bury someone in the sand
17. Set up a snail race

18. Balance on a fallen tree
19. Swing on a rope swing

20. Make a mud slide
21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild
22. Take a look inside a tree
23. Visit an island
24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

25. Make a grass trumpet
26. Hunt for fossils and bones
27. Watch the sun wake up
28. Climb a huge hill

29.  Get behind a waterfall
30. Feed a bird from your hand
31. Hunt for bugs
32. Find some frogspawn
33. Catch a butterfly in a net
34. Track wild animals
35. Discover what’s in a pond
36. Call an owl
37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

38. Bring up a butterfly
39. Catch a crab
40. Go on a nature walk at night
41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
42. Go wild swimming
43. Go rafting
44. Light a fire without matches
45. Find your way with a map and compass
46. Try bouldering
47. Cook on a campfire

48. Try abseiling
49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river

I’d love to hear your thoughts on why kids aren’t spending enough time outside.  Please do leave a comment below.


What is Wellie Wanging?

We just returned from a spot of Tree planting and Wellie Wanging in Heartwood Forest, Sandridge, Herts.  It was a great day albeit freezing cold.  It was a bit of a trek to the wood but we managed it.  We only planted a handful of trees and wish we did a bit more but if thousands of people plant only a handful that still means thousands of trees planted.  Many hands make small work and all that.

The goal for the day was 11,000 trees.  To date they’ve planted 80, 000 with a final goal of 600,000.  It’s a really exciting project by the Woodland Trust you can read more about it here.

In addition, to planting trees they were attempting to break a Guinness World Record for Welly Wanging.  The current world record for men is 63.98m and woman is 40.87

For those of you unfamiliar with Wellie Wanging, it’s a sport that originated in the UK, where participants hurl a Wellington Boot as far as they can.  The record they were trying to set today wasn’t for distance thrown but the number of people who participated.  I truly sucked, wellies are so unpredictable.  I thought it was going to be easy.  I lined up, gave it a good hurl but unfortunately, it went straight up and came straight back down…only a measly 1.4m for me.  I think Madame beat me as well.

Here’s Madame’s Attempt


And the president of the Woodland Trust.  Do you recognize him?  Yes, it’s Clive Anderson from ‘Who’s line is it anyway’ and ‘Have I got News for you’.  I hope he doesn’t mind that I took the video as I honestly had no idea who it was till later.

We look forward to the next planting session but hopefully in the spring when it’s a bit warmer.

Welly Wanging in Heartwood Forest, Sandridge

We are very lucky where we live.  We live in a lovely market town which is steeped in Roman History, it’s only 20 minutes from London by train and we have access to loads of green space; within minutes you can go from being in the city to being in the country.

We recently discovered Heartwood Forest, which is going to be England’s largest new native woodland.  It’s only 3 miles north of St Albans in Sandridge.  The Woodland Trust has acquired the 850 acre site and hopes to turn it from open fields to a wood in just 12 years by planting an additional 600,000 trees and they’re going to need some help.

I just wanted to let you know about the tree planting party tomorrow the 23 of Jan 2011 from 10-3pm.  Full details can be found here.

They’ll also be trying to set a New Guinness Record for Welly Wanging.  I really don’t know what that entails but sounds very interesting.

Our family will definitely be going, rain or shine as the thought of planting a tree for a new forest is truly special.

Note: There is no parking at the site on Sunday but there is a park and ride service being offered from Townsend School.

Pictures will follow.