IMG_7606When my friend and fellow dog walker (she trains hearing dog puppies) Stephi at Renovation Bay-Bee http://blog.bay-bee.co.uk/, suggested meeting up for me to learn a new countryside ramble, I didn’t hesitate.  It also happened that I’d just given the children a book each by the National Trust 50 Things To Do, so we had a few nature missions to accomplish (well 50!).  We have always done things from The National Trust’s list for children, “50 things to do before you are 11 3/4”.  But whilst away in Swanage the other day, we found lovely hard back books to record in more depth each task, complete with stickers to put by each task.  They also now have a big colour poster on each of their doors to tick off each task.

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Today we were going to go dipping in a stream with our nets and bug pots, and we were going to dam a stream.  However, the streams proved to be larger and faster than anticipated, so we changed our second mission to playing pooh sticks.  So that was 2 mini nature missions from the National Trust 50 things to do.

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All three loved their surprise National Trust 50 things to do books and set off on their ramble fully armed with books, pots, nets, and magnifying glasses.  They had a fantastic time wondering through the fields of sheep, leaning off bridges to stick their nets in, or wading into the streams.  We collected a few items from the stream, including a solitary tadpole.  They’ve never seen tadpoles so often as this spring.

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This was a good walk for us to do, starting from the village hall in Droxford.  It was away from roads, so I did not need to worry about the dog or the children, and could have the dog bimbling and sniffing away merrily while I concentrated on the children playing in and with the water.  There were the streams for both dogs and children to play in, which they can do for ages.  There were really good footpaths not making the going too difficult for the little men, and it was quite a short route.  This means that you can either choose it for a quick bit of fresh air on a day when you have other things planned (we had the mini men haircuts in the afternoon), but still not rush the children’s exploring, or you can take as long as you want as there is so much to see and do on the way round.  I do love a good long walk, and it is good to take the children out on a longer adventure, but it is also lovely knowing it isn’t far and no chivvying up or encouragement is required!!

I really recommend the National Trust 50 things to do list as a guide for encouraging people outdoors with their children, they are really varied and great fun to do.

National Trust 50 things to do before 11 3/4, outdoors adventure handbook, national trust handbook, www.mammasschool.co.uk