Do your kids play outdoors as much as you did as a child? It seems the answer is going to be no as the National Trust has conducted research that has found that fewer than one in ten children regularly play in wild places compared to almost half a generation ago, a third have never climbed a tree and one in ten can't ride a bike.
It's true the children of today have a lot more options but that doesn't stop the fact that getting outside together can be great fun and good for all the family so I love the idea of this new campaign which includes plenty of simple ideas to get you enjoying the great outdoors again. The National Trust have launched www.50things.org.uk where kids can tick things off the list to gain rewards and get help from a virtual Outdoors Explorer. There's a parents area too so you can help your family stay safe while enjoying nature time together. Looking on the website is one thing but we want you to get out and about so the National Trust is having a Free Weekend on 21 and 22 April at over 200 locations. There will be experts on hand and kids can start working towards their first explorer badge immediately. Simply go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/freeweekend and download a voucher for free admission.
I live in London with my young daughter yet we still have plenty of places to play outdoors as London has more open green spaces than many major world cities. Without mentioning the Royal Parks which are spread across the city, Kew Gardens, Hampstead Heath, the London Wetland Centre and Epping Forest are fantastic, as is Abney Park in Stoke Newington and Camley Street Natural Park in King's Cross.
When did you last fly a kite? Skim a stone? Or make a mud pie? I love kite flying on Hampstead Heath and always skim stones at Brighton beach. Mud pies aren't really my thing but my daughter loves 'cooking' them in our local park most weeks. National Trust Elite Ranger Captain Skim, aka Mark Astley, says flat stones thrown hard and low produce the best skimming results. His personal best is 27 skims so we can't deny he knows what he's talking about.
There's no age limit to enjoying time outdoors so I reckon we should all check the list and see if there's something we've missed doing for a long time. What are you going to try first? I want to try 29 and 37 soon! 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 Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site which is an online travel guide for visitors. She fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen's. You can follow her at @AboutLondon. See more articles by Laura on the VisitBritain Super Blog. Images: © Anders_3, BauerPhotoMedia, Steve Greaves, The Old Brit via LoveUK Flickr Group.