51 Things Your Kids Need To Do Before They Turn 12

Nature Play – the highly successful program which engages kids in the outdoors – is expanding its reach across Australia, and indeed, the world. Nature Play, and its various forms, aims to get kids active in the outdoors because most of them suffer from a serious ‘nature deficit.’

The latest state to register its enthusiasm for this model is South Australia. You can read an article about the inception of Nature Play SA here (sorry, link is now broken.)

Embodied in the article is a list of 51 things your kids need to do (not surprisingly, in the outdoors) before they turn twelve. The top ten on the list are:

  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 beachcombing 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)


Click here to read the full list of 51 things your kids need to do (sorry, link is broken.)

If you’re reading this list and figure that you did most of these activities before you were 10, you are probably old enough to have kids of your own. However, sadly, most kids today struggle to tick half of the items off the list.

Why is this so? As I’ve shared in the past, I believe it’s because we live in an “as safe as possible” world rather than “as safe as necessary” world.

In my opinion, the pendulum has swung way too far to the safe end of the spectrum, and it’s causing more problems than it was aiming to solve. That is to say, as a community, we are creating more problems with kids eyes glued to their screens, than the little bumps and bruises caused by getting touch with the outdoors.

So, put down your screens, and encourage your kids to get outside and play!

And don’t just sit there. Get outside with them – they are more likely to enjoy their time in the outdoors if you model this behaviour.


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