I came across this project a couple of years ago and set it as a fun homework project for my year 5 class to complete over the summer holidays. It’s basically a checklist of 50 things ‘to do before you’re 11¾’ – very simple but also brilliant.
From my experience, this current generation of students ‘don’t get out much.’ The majority of them have very little knowledge of the outside world or first-hand experience of nature.
And that’s not to say that they’re not interested. When I’ve taken both primary and secondary kids out on trips and we’ve experienced ‘the great outdoors,’ they’ve loved it! I’ve seen children – particularly boys – who struggle to behave within the rigid structure of the classroom, completely transform into enthusiastic, attentive learners and often leaders too. This generation just have so many sources engaging distraction inside that they’re not really in the habit of going outside.
Children can sign up for an account and check off items as they go, allowing them to incorporate the biggest source of indoor entertainment, the internet, with their activities outside. Perfect! If they’re old school like me, they can just print out the checklist; nothing quite as satisfying as ticking off completed jobs on a list!
The National Trust have aimed this project at younger children who will most likely tackle this with more gusto than their mopey teenage counterparts. However, I can think of many sixteen year olds, eighteen year olds and even thirty year olds, who have never ‘held a scary beast,’ explored a cave’ or ‘found their way on a map with a compass.’ It’s never too late to start!
Explore the website here with your class, your children or just by yourself. Then… just explore!