50 Things Challenge, Activities
Comments 2

Building a Den

The National Trust has a fabulous initiative called “50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 3/4“, to encourage children to get out and about and explore the great outdoors.  We’ve been wanting to have a go at completing the list and so, with a spare few hours on a sunny Monday, we headed off into the woods and parkland of our local National Trust property – Hughenden Manor – to make a start on ticking off some of the 50 activities.

climbing a hillFirst up on the list for us was No. 28 – Climb a huge hill.  And since Hughenden is in the Chilterns, it didn’t take us too long to find a suitable candidate.

Once we had made it to the top, and had a brief snack break, it wasn’t exactly difficult to decide what to attempt next. Yes, it was time for No. 22 – Roll down a really big hill!  After contemplating the descent for a while, Chief Stick Collector decided he was game, and hurtled down with shrieks of delight.

Rolling down a hill.jpg

Bird Girl, on the other hand, still recovering from her fractured wrist, didn’t need much persuading to sit this one out!

Feeling a bit like the Grand old Duke of York, with our hill upping and downing duly accomplished, we headed off to the woods, Chief Stick Collector’s natural habitat, for some stick-related action. It was time to tackle No. 4 – Build a den; and maybe No. 1 – Climb a tree.

Climbing a treeA small tree presented the perfect beginner-sized challenge, and Chief Stick Collector scaled it without too much difficulty. Tree duly checked-off, it was Den Time. Lying all around the clearing were some perfect den-building materials, left by the park rangers, with a large branch helpfully spanning the gap between two trees to serve as the apex for our den and start us off.


And wow, Chief Stick Collector really lived up to his name, although he might now have to be promoted to Chief Branch Collector. We spent a happy half hour collecting and stacking sticks and branches to make a den, and then another happy spell playing ‘hiding from the scary bear’, taking turns to play the bear.

The ’50 Things’ challenge is  such a fantastic idea.  It can be tackled by children of all ages; you just tailor the activities to suit their abilities.  I’m sure we’ll be attempting bigger trees in future! If you want to give it a go, why not check out the full list of the 50 challenges here and leave a comment to let us know how you get on.  We’ll report back on our progress with the remaining 46 challenges!


I have shared this post at the Outdoor Play Party, here:

Mud Mud Marvellous Mud - Outdoor Play Party


  1. Hi Emily. Just downloaded the pdf. Strange how we adults seem easy to overlook those easy to do activities for kids. Thanks for the 50 things. Quite some ‘hit-list’ indeed. 🙂


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