climb a tree

photo 3

We were in England on holiday one year ago, and I stumbled upon a free booklet at National Trust sites, called 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 3/4. Apparently, it’s an initiative to get kids out and moving and exploring their surroundings. It’s like a little journal or scrapbook that helps them to keep track of the details of the cool things they do – from “find your way with a compass and a map” or “discover what’s in a pond,” to “walk through the grass barefoot” or “roll down a really big hill.”

What kind of kid needs to be told to walk barefoot or roll down a hill, I thought, snatching up two of the booklets to use for my own kids. While they don’t need encouragement to do this stuff, I loved the idea of keeping a record of it.

We haven’t succeeded in completing all 50 things yet (still on the to-do list is “camp out in the wild,” “catch a fish with a net” and “dam a stream,” among others). But one they have completed over and over (and over and over) again is the very first activity in the book: “climb a tree.”

Maple trees, pine trees, apple trees… you name it.

I’ve heard stories of people disparaging parents who let their kids scale the heights of even a smallish tree. I don’t know if it’s about the child’s safety or the tree’s, but I am certain of one thing: trees have been a natural go-to playground for children long before the sterilized jungle gym was invented, and they will continue to hold their interest long after their enjoyment in the playground wanes.

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You just can’t beat the beautiful roughness of the bark, the jaunty angles of the branches and the daring precariousness of swinging from a limb. Adventure beckons!

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There’s nothing like it.

So, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make an effort to get out and climb a tree this weekend. With a child, or on your own. It will keep you young. It will make life interesting. Let me know how it goes…

Mrs. Pear Tree xxxxx

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One Comment

  1. One of my earliest memories is of climbing a tree in our backyard (and accidentally eating an ant – it was really salty) and Genevieve loved climbing ANYTHING when she was little. Good for you for encouraging your mites to explore their world.

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