One day someone at The National Trust realised that nowadays children just aren’t quite as in touch as they used to be with all things nature and outdoors. I like to imagine that person looking out of the window at a lovely location such as Wicken Fen and imagining how wonderful it would be if children could recreate a Swallows and Amazon style school holiday. That person would have read Enid Blyton in childhood (as I did) and realised that there is much joy to be had in the free natural wonders of the world. That day they came up with 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4 a little booklet which I now consider a bible of my parenting days out. And so, should you!
Last week Yeo Valley hosted the most amazing day at their Organic Gardens with the National Trust. We went along to see how many of the 50 things we could tick off our list. I also wanted to show my children what a wonderful place their favourite yogurt and milk actually comes from. These days children are so far removed from food production its important to grab any opportunity! Suffice to say my little suburban children were awestruck, especially by the calves and they have been telling all their friends how lovely the place is.
Down in the garden in deepest Somerset we were given a number of challenges to help structure our day and make sure we had completed some of the 50 things tasks. I must admit, there were things I hadn’t done myself such as catching a falling leaf. I’m pleased to report that I have now. That’s the thing with these 50 things challenges, they are such infectious fun you won’t be able to help yourself but have a go with the kids.
Making a grass trumpet was another task which I personally couldn’t do, I’ve never managed to do it. Fortunately the children could and we have spent the last week unable to walk past any grass without making trumpets. Thank you National Trust, I think. Such a fun free activity I don’t know why we hadn’t done it before. But thats like a lot of things in life, surrounded by gadgets you forget the simple pleasures in life.
Fifi is petrified of spiders, to the point where she scans any room before entering. I thought the mini beast hunt would be a challenge. But no, thats where a bit of sibling competition is good because before I knew it they were steaming off across the paddock to see who could overturn the logs first. Good job Ned was more interested in the cows grazing or there may have been trouble!
One of the best activities we did was to make a mini den for mini beasts. This was a simple task using twigs and leaves and kept the kids occupied for ages whilst encouraging them to think about building construction and the properties of different things. Its a task we have since repeated at home, I hope we get some good mini beasts to look at.
I can’t emphasise how brilliant the National Trust 50 things campaign is, for us its become a bible for things to do when the children moan about being bored. It provides a reminder of all those things you did when you were little and more. The majority of the activities are free so there is no excuse not to have a go. Since we started doing our scrapbook we have looked at the stars, set up snail races, created wild art and discovered what is in a pond amongst loads of other things. Suffice to say we wouldn’t have done these activities otherwise and I think my children have really benefitted.
Until January Yeo Valley have a brilliant new on-pack offer which gives you the chance to win one of ten fantastic National Trust cottage holidays, if you don’t win one of these you’ll have the chance to win one of 250 family passes every day. All on top of the delicious yogurt which if your family is anything like ours you’ll buy anyway! So, frankly you have no excuse to get the kids out and about exploring a fabulous National Trust property and enjoying a memorable brilliant day out. Just don’t forget to come back and tell me what your favourite activity with the kids was…