Getting outdoors to support the National Trust Nature Misses You campaign.
I’m all for a natural childhood. I wasn’t sure I would be so passionate about it, but as my children get older I’m increasingly keen to switch off the TV and our gadgets and head outside for some adventures.
Perhaps it’s growing up in the English countryside that’s instilled a love of the nature within me.
And it’s something that the National Trust is passionate about too.
The National Trust Nature Misses You campaign
The charity has a long-running campaign to encourage more children to enjoy what the outdoors has to offer. You might have heard of it – 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4.
Once upon a time I hated lists like this.
Back in 2012 when I had just returned to work after maternity leave and was finding it emotional and hard-going, I wrote about my annoyance with a similar list that appeared in The Sun newspaper – Things kids must try before they’re 3.
I hated that this ‘birthday bucket list‘ seemed to be telling me what I must do with my child; that if I didn’t complete the list before she was exactly 3-years-old then I had failed as a mother.
Nowadays I have settled into my role as a working mother and am feeling far less sensitive. I look on the National Trust campaign as a list of prompts and ideas, rather than a list of ‘must do’s’.
It looks like fun.
This year, the National Trust launched a new campaign alongside their 50 things list. Called Nature Misses You, it’s calling on more of us to get outside and enjoy nature’s playground.
It comes after new research by the charity revealed that more than half of today’s children aged between 7 and 12 spend less than an hour outside each day and one in four get less than 30 minutes a day in the outdoors.
In comparison, more than half of grandparents spent over 3 hours playing outside when they were that age. Only 6% of children spend that long outside today.
It’s a real shame because there’s so much joy to be had in heading outside. Whether it’s climbing a tree, a trip to the park, heading to the beach or splashing in muddy puddles like we did last week on the wet bank holiday Monday.
Even when it’s raining we refuse to let it stop play.
I’ve decided to get on board with the National Trust’s ’50 things’ campaign and we’re going to see how many of the activities we can get done before my children turn 12.
I’m not going to put any pressure on myself, or on Olivia and William to complete the full list. And even if we don’t do it all, if it encourages us to get off the sofa, have fun together as a family, and triggers an interest in nature and the environment then that can’t be a bad thing.
How about you – do you like the sound of a ‘natural childhood’?