There’s something magical about being outdoors. The sense of escapism it brings and seeing a world of discovery through a child’s eyes. As a family of three we love to spend our spare time blowing away those cobwebs.
Over these past months we’ve visited (and re-visited!) Hatchlands Park, Polesden Lacey, Clandon Park, Frensham Little Pond, Claremont Landscape Garden, Headley Heath, Bookham Common, the Devil’s Punch Bowl, Hinton Ampner, Witley and Milford Commons, Box Hill, Winkworth Arboretum and Abinger Roughs.
We still have lots more exploring to do too, not just in the vicinity of the Surrey Hills but across nearby counties.
The National Trust’s 50 Things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4 is a great way to make the most of your time outside. Now POD has reached three and a half, we’re cracking through this list and having lots of fun doing it. If you’re looking for a inspiration, here’s a round-up of POD’s first challenges.
1. Climb a tree
POD has climbed ever since she could walk. Adopting a no fear attitude, she’s become an expert at climbing trees – the higher the better!
She’s not so keen on coming down. Daddy ended up climbing trees himself on a recent visit to Headley Heath!
2. Roll down a really big hill
This was POD’s first attempt at rolling down a really big hill – picking the grass amphitheatre at Claremont Landscape Garden. It was memorable for that and the goose poo she collected in her hair on the way down!
There’s still a bit of a sideways shuffle initially but she’s getting the hang of it now. Finishing at the bottom as you’d expect – in a fit of the giggles.
5. Skim a stone
We’ve not spent much time at the beach yet although the Hampshire coast is there for the taking. Grandad lives in Devon which is the perfect place to watch Daddy skim stones. He’s always been rather good at it.
However POD is an independent three and a half year old who likes to do things her way. You might be able to tell by the interesting outfit she chose. Gone are the perfect stones for skimming, replaced with boulders which are apparently better. She has a great bowling career ahead of her.
6. Run round in the rain
There’s been a fair amount of running round in the rain recently. This photograph was taken just after POD had been running in what can only be described as monsoon like conditions! The brolly provided a reprieve before she continued in her quest.
13. Make a mud pie
This is POD’s first mud pie which was carefully made with mud and water. A little too much water as it happens.
Having slopped half of it across the grass (and herself), POD was busy creating mud pie number two. This is her concentration face.
18. Create some wild art
POD loves to get creative outdoors – it usually means she’ll end up with green legs. Here she is with a clover she painted blue – other flowers and plants got the same treatment. Some while still attached to bushes.
Her wild art sheet featured a sunny scene with animals and a selection of patterns crafted by painting leaves.
19. Play Pooh Sticks
We like to play Pooh Sticks whenever we see a bridge with a free flowing stream or river. She loved this one at Bookhams Common as she was able to get so close to it. A little too close at times!
21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild
We’re lucky we have a huge blackberry bush growing in the garden. POD loves that we can pick blackberries which she can have with yoghurt once they’ve been washed.
This is POD being especially helpful while Mummy reached for the higher blackberries. We ended up collecting enough blackberries to make a delicious blackberry, apple and raspberry crumble. POD also collected a few dandelions (we abandoned outside) and a bowl of rather tart damsons.
22. Explore inside a tree
We’ve come across many ancient trees while exploring woodland managed by The National Trust. Although we found what looked like a rabbit in a tree at the Devil’s Punch Bowl (it wasn’t), the knobby trees at Claremont are perfect for nosing in.
23. Visit a farm
Bocketts Farm Park is nearest to us and we love visiting as it’s one of the few working farms. When we were last there POD fed the animals for the first time. We knew once she tried there would be no stopping her and we were right. Just look at that face, she looks as happy as she did when she visited Peppa Pig World.
24. Go on a walk barefoot
There is nothing better than feeling the sand in-between your toes, it makes me smile even to this day. POD experienced it for the first time at Frensham Little Pond in Surrey. This month she was able to walk barefoot on a Suffolk beach and venture into the sea for the very first time.
28. Climb a huge hill
There are many hills in Surrey, some of which feel huge to POD’s little legs. She’s looking quite weary in this photograph at Headley Heath. She had already run down the hill and walked back up it twice though.
30. Hold a scary beast
POD was so nervous about holding this newborn lamb, she’d only held a chick up to this point. She was so worried about dropping him but she did brilliantly. POD loves stroking animals with a rabbit, a chicken and a goat among the favoured recently. The same can’t be said for the mouse one of the handlers put in her hand…now that was a scary beast! Thankfully it survived being launched into the air.
31. Hunt for bugs
We have a great garden for bug hunting and we’re often looking for bees
or ladybirds. We also love counting the pretty humbug like snails that grace our red hot poker stems after the rain.
33. Catch a falling leaf
POD was just the right age to experience the wonder of Autumn last year. We had the best time throwing and catching leaves in the Ha-Ha at Claremont while admiring the daffodils. POD grabbed many a falling leaf but she’s yet to catch one directly from a tree – we have high hopes for this year!
35. Discover what’s in a pond
We visited the fabulous Frensham Little Pond recently and immediately fell in love with it. We’d not been before and it was the perfect place to explore after a particularly busy week. POD and Daddy went in the Little Pond together to look for fish. They even ventured in for a swim.
We also saw this little fella swim past while we were having a sandwich. Not something you see every day in Surrey, amazing!
42. Go swimming in the sea
Finally, POD got the opportunity to swim in the sea for the first time this month. We spent a few days in Suffolk and headed over to Felixstowe beach where she went in right up to her chest. She can’t swim by herself yet but it was a great start especially as it was cold!
It was the first time (that she’ll remember) being by the sea and she loved it. She was mesmerised by those waves.
We love 50 Things from the National Trust. Not only have they been really cool and great fun, they’ve resulted in great memories and some firsts too. The free app is perfect for keeping a record of all the wonderful things we’ve done outdoors.
Linking up with #whatsthestory here on PODcast and #CountryKids at Coombe Mill.