09 May A BUCKET LIST FOR CHILDREN
The National Trust, a charity that preserves historic buildings, forests and gardens in the UK has compiled a ‘Bucket List’ of things to do for Kids.
Increasingly, children are glued to their computers, their mobiles or watching TV. They are not spending enough time playing outdoors, learning about nature and appreciating it. All things that are good for their mental health, general well-being and education so they can grow up a well-rounded human being and pass this knowledge on to future generations.
I was lucky as I had a happy childhood growing up in the countryside. We were fortunate enough to have a large garden, so would play outside for hours and went walking in nearby woods with a parent in tow where we would build hide outs and fish for fresh water shrimps and minnows using a stick, some string and a jam jar as makeshift fishing tackle. The ‘spoils’ always got thrown back in the water. Very ‘Swallows and Amazon’.
We were taught the names of the birds that were around, as well as butterflies. I still remember them all today.
So, for parents that don’t have a garden, you could take the children to a nearby nature sanctuary at the weekend or a large park where hopefully there are birds and butterflies in the Summer which you can point out. Although sadly, I have read that many native British birds are in decline. You can borrow books from your local library to ‘swot up’ on the birds’ names.
I think many children today are taking more of an interest in nature and their environment as there are many wonderful documentaries on television. They are concerned about the dumping of rubbish in the countryside, contaminating rivers and killing off wildlife. More children are speaking out against the use of plastic and are getting involved with wonderful campaigns whereby people go out and clean up the rubbish dumped in green areas.
The National Trust’s Bucket List is simple and costs little or nothing at all to do.
Children should be encouraged to be adventurous (without risking their health!) by playing outside and getting plenty of fresh air. Parents should set an example by encouraging them to be active. Going for walks with them and encouraging outdoor activity. Apart from anything – a walk always helps with reducing stress levels. It gives you time to enjoy the surroundings and forget all your troubles…however brief. To look around and appreciate the small things in life and notice the nature on your doorstep.
So, some of the list is as follows with the odd addition from me! Obviously not all things can be done by all ages.
1. Build a den.
2. Skim a stone on the water.
3. Climb a tree.
4. Roll down a big hill.
5. Camp out in the wild (with parents).
6. Run around in the rain, splashing in puddles.
7. Play conkers.
8. Throw snowballs.
9. Make a mud pie.
10. Bury someone in the sand (with parents nearby to get them out!).
11. Fly a kite.
12. Catch a fish in a net.
13. Hunt for ‘treasure’ on a beach and go crabbing.
14. Eat an apple straight from a tree.
15. Swing on a rope swing
16. Go sledging
17. Eat wild, ripe blackberries (shown by parent). Pick some and make jam.
18. Make a mud slide.
19. Balance on a fallen tree stump.
20. Feel like you are flying in the wind on a windy day.
21. Visit an island.
22. Watch the sunrise. See a full moon and look at the stars.
23. Feed a bird from your hand.
24. Take a look inside a hollowed-out tree.
25. Climb a huge hill and enjoy the view from the top.
26. Go on a nature walk at night (with parents) and listen out for owls. Call an owl.
27. Make a grass trumpet.
28. Make a daisy chain.
29. Find frogspawn and look out for tadpoles.
30. Plant it, grow it, eat it. I suggest a tomato plant as even if you live in the flat you can have it on the windowsill and watch the tomatoes ripen.
31. Track wild animals in the snow.
32. Catch a crab.
33. In the Summer go wild swimming in rivers or paddle in streams with parents in safe places. Look for signs in case it is not safe and there are undercurrents etc.
34. Canoe down a river.
35. Ride a bike down country lanes (with parents).
36. Cook on a camp fire (with parents).
37. Find your way with a map and compass.
38. Get lost in a maze (with parents).
39. Go to Agricultural Shows in the countryside and learn about different farming animal breeds. Always a great day out with plenty of food stalls, entertainment and things to do and see for all the family! Google for ones near you.
40. Search for 4 leaf clovers.
41. Let the children make a picnic for parents and then go somewhere nice to eat it……even if its just in your back garden.
42. Spend a night in the Natural History Museum. Parents can take their kids to spend a night in the museum in London. You need to book in advance. A fabulous birthday treat! Find out about other venues that do it too. There are a number of Zoos that do ‘sleepovers’.
I am sure that adults who do these things with their children or grandchildren will get a lot of joy from it. It will remind them of their childhood.
So, go out, have fun and feel young again!