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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ditch the screen(s)... go outdoors!

Rang-a-tangs running their legs off in a rose garden, Zurich

The Globe and Mail recently published a bucket list for children under the age of 12. It mostly involves outdoors activities because, as research seems to show, being active and spending time outdoors has many significant benefits for kids, some of which we might not instinctively guess. For example, not only is it good for physical health, it would also help kids do good in school. And in these times of environment consciousness, I say that one of the best ways to come to cherish nature is to be surrounded by it on a regular basis.

The list

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

Apple picking in the Annapolis Valley

10. Play conkers
11. Throw some snow (or build a snowman)

One of the innumerable snowmen

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach

Beach combing in Cape Breton

13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Go sledging
16. Bury someone in the sand

BEING buried in sand is even better! Bayswater Beach

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

Picking berries in Quebec

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 (or take a hike in the woods)

Walking in the woods in Quebec

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

What's in there? Quebec

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

Late afternoon swim in the neighborhood

43. Go rafting
44. Light a fire without matches
45. Find your way with a map and a compass
46. Try bouldering
47. Cook on a campfire

Roasted marshmallows in the backyard. Notice the 3-at-a-time homemade roaster!

48. Try abseiling
49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river

Now some personal additions to that list!

51. Sail a sailboat

Sailing around Halifax

52. Play golf

Being silly on a golf course, Quebec

53. Last but not least... have a nap on the beach!

Catching some ZZZZZZZZZZZZZs in Gaspesie

There would be sooooooooo many more ideas! Any good ones to share?


  1. Wonderful! But this is not only for children under 12: I hope to be able to do most of those things well into my eighties (except for the abseiling, of course, brrr...)


  2. Hopscotch!! Tracing shadows on the pavement. Chasing bubbles! Plain ol' going to the park on a bike.

    The girls have been LOVING it since the snow has FINALLY melted this week. I've been taking the middle schoolers outside to play soccer and grounders a lot, too... over 6 months of winter is tough on everyone, and kids need to PLAY!

  3. Climbing rocks (at Peggy's Cove for example)... they love it!