The National Trust is aiming to get 200,000 kids playing outside this summer as part of its commitment to connect the ‘cotton wool generation’ with nature.
By September we hope to have helped one in twenty of Britain’s 7-12 year olds (5 per cent) break their reliance on gadgets and computers for entertainment, and experience the simple pleasures of outdoor adventure.
As part of this year’s 50 Things to do before you’re 11¾ campaign the National Trust in the South West is putting on 500 events and drop-in activities over the school holidays, with many things available daily to encourage families to experience nature. Not everything on the 50 things list needs expert help; in fact, the top ten 50 things that children in the South West enjoy doing are ones that our rangers see families doing every day at many of our places.
Top 50 Thing activities in the South West
- Climb a tree
- Roll down a big hill
- Jump over waves
- Run around in the rain
- Pick wild blackberries
- Build a den
- Go swimming in the sea
- Hunt for bugs
- Play pooh sticks
- 10. Skim a stone
The National Trust’s South West web pages (nationaltrust.org.uk/southwest) and blog (ntsouthwest.co.uk) are full of tips and ideas for activities to help families make the most of the school holidays in their local area.
Rob Greenhalgh, Outdoor Experience Ranger at Kingston Lacy in Dorset commented: ‘Not only does the loss of children’s outdoor play and contact with the natural world impact their growth and development, it also sets the stage for a continuing loss of the natural environment.
‘We want to encourage children to care about nature, so it becomes part of their life as they grow up and they protect Britain’s special places for years to come. If nature had a voice it would want us to do the same – we need the natural world as much as it needs us.’
The 50 Things to do before you’re 11¾ campaign was first launched in 2012. To date over 90,000 of the nation’s youngsters have signed up to tackle the bucket list and in the South West, almost 14,000 have got involved – the highest outside London and the South East. To find out more about the 50 Things visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50things
 Office for National Statistics, mid 2012 population estimates