Getting children outdoors and exploring

I am big on getting outdoors and exploring (beyond the backyard) — every child should be allowed to go on adventures and make discoveries. So I was pleased to see this list of 51 things a child should do before turning 12 (in an newspaper article).  It’s a great list and one that is more than achievable for most children — in fact, many of these things can be done well before a child reaches 12.  It’s all about getting outdoors, with the fresh air and sunshine and enjoying nature. Looking down the list I could tick off  many of these which I did as a child and have encouraged my sons to do likewise.  In fact I would argue that adults should be getting outdoors and doing some of these things themselves, they look like fun at any age.  And, this list isn't just aimed at boys, please allow girls to climb trees and get dirty, I did growing up on a farm and had a ball as a child - these are some of my fondest memories!

There is a few of my favourite things on this list such as playing in the creek and catching tadpoles, building a cubby house, going on a school camp, playing chasy in the rain, sleeping under the stars, playing in the wave, sliding down a grass hill on cardboard to name a few.  For those who homeschool, many of these can easily be incorporated into lessons, if I was a homeschooler I would be taking the classroom outdoors as for me this is the best way to learn.  Hands-on learning for most children is far most enjoyable than always reading books indoors. And they are getting their dose of Vitamin D at the same time. What's your favourite on this list?

1. Climb a tree
2. Sleep under the stars (even in your backyard)
3. Fall off a bike
4. Learn to swim
5. Build a cubby or tree house
6. Find a geocache in your neighbourhood
7. Go beach combing after a storm
8. Cook damper in a campfire
9. Go on a school camp in the bush
10. Catch a wave (start with a small one)
11. Play chasy in the rain
12. Catch a yabby in a dam (or least have fun trying)
13. Make a water slide with builders plastic and a hose (do it on your watering day)
14. Find a cave
15. Make something with things you find
16. Play in a creek
17. Do something you’re scared off
18. Watch kangaroos in the wild
19. Slide down a grass hill on cardboard
20. Yell “cooee” in a gorge or a valley
21. Camp on a beach
22. Build a sandcastle city
23. Skim a stone
24. Plant something and watch it grow
25. Play spotlight
26. Ride your bike on a bush trail
27. Visit an island
28. Go for a two-way hike
29. Snorkel at the beach or on a reef
30. Ride a flying fox
31. Play under a sprinkler
32. Climb a big rock
33. Play in the bush for a whole day
34. Visit a waterhole
35. Meet kids in a park and invent a game
36. Paddle a kayak
37. Dig for worms in your backyard
38. Catch a crab
39. Learn the Aboriginal names for five plants and five animals
40. Visit a national park
41. Catch a fish
42. Play on a rope swing
43. Eat bush tucker
44. Make a kite and fly it
45. Jump in a muddy puddle
46. Identify the birds in your backyard
47. Go abseiling
48. Catch a tadpole (and release it)
49. Make a mud pie
50. Find a lake, puddle, pond etc and use a magnifying glass to spot the creatures in it
51. Play beach cricket



  1. Yabby? damper? flying fox? These must be Aussie terms. LOL. We would love to watch kangaroos, if only there were any nearby! The kids just went swamping through a bog yesterday. They came home covered in mud. I was worried about the dangers, but they were very exuberant after the adventure. Hope you are well, and your men folk too.

    1. Yes they are!!

      * A yabby is a fresh water crustacean that often live in dams

      * Damper is a traditional Australian soda bread prepared by stockmen of the past over an open fire - it can be cooked in the oven and very yummy.

      * Flying fox is a fun piece of play equipment that look like this:

      I am well and my family are doing fine too:)

      PS the only other female in my house is the cat (!) and she is just perfect!!!

    2. Dan says a yabby is what the Americans call a Crayfish or Crawdad. :)

  2. I've done quite a few of these, and my children have done quite a few, too. Some of these don't seem the safest things to do in brown-snake (and other highly poisonous snake) regions like this...! Oh and abseiling is not something I would go near or encourage my children to do. Ever. I doubt Dolly would want to, anyway - she's somewhat scared of heights! :P

    1. Clara, I was wondering if you got my email? I got one from someone called Clara Jean...and I responded to it... is this you? Blessings, Glenys

  3. Yep, my boys have done most of is so important for them to have experiences that don't include technology!


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