50 Things a child should do before turning 12

So many of us have bucket lists, but did you know your children should have a bucket list as well??  Well it’s true!  I was listening to the radio this morning and they were talking about it.  Many of the things they mentioned I had not done prior to 12 and many I have still not done at 31!  My life was clearly underprivileged!  Or maybe my family was just really boring…either way!  Here is this “very scientific” list:

1. Climb a tree – I was a chunky monkey kid and when I wasn’t chunky I was very girly – there was no tree climbing in my youth, and I doubt I would climb a tree now.

2. Roll down a really big hill – this I have done!  YAY!  We rolled down hills all the time – we lived near Tabor Hill on Bellamy Rd!

3. Camp out in the wild – I was a girl guide so yes I have camped…but it was at a girl guide park – does this count as the wild?  It was in tents and it rained and we got soaked and squirrels and skunks were our wildlife!

4. Build a den – really?  I don’t even know what this means.  I think of a den as a bsmt.  My dad had a den built for the family when I was like 5 or 6 does this count??

5. Skim a stone – YAY  I have done this – not successfully but I have tried!

6. Run around in the rain – yep here is another one I did!!!  Don’t all little kids like jumping in rain puddles??

7. Fly a kite – While I can’t remember specifically flying a kite, I am SURE I did.  If not, then I did last June with my mentee so I am counting this as a yes!

8. Catch a fish with a net – ewww…I’m not the fishing kinda girl…nope!

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree – I watched way to much tv where worms came out of apples, so no, I never did this and still wouldn’t.

10. Play conkers – I had to look this up…never heard of it – and nope I didn’t play it!

11. Throw some snow – oh ya, growing up in Scarborough we had great snow ball fights all the time!  Snow forts, angels, balls and snowmen were a plenty!

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach – my grade 6 science project was a metal detector.  My brainy friend and partner made it  and then we went out and searched for treasures!  We found some coins, a key, but nothing special. 

13. Make a mud pie – maybe I have hidden this memory.  I don’t recall.  Remember I was girly for a time, so I never would have thought to make this.  But I had guy friends so maybe they did and I watched??

14. Dam a stream – uhhh…no

15. Go sledging – Sledging is a term used in cricket to describe the practice whereby some players seek to gain an advantage by insulting or verbally intimidating the opposing player (thx Wikipedia).  No I have never done this, I have never even played cricket!!!

16. Bury someone in the sand – I am sure we did.  I spent a lot of time in the summers at Green Acres Trailer Park and we were on the beach all the time

17. Set up a snail race – really?  No, this list is getting sadder and sadder. It looks like fun, maybe I will do this in my thirties!

18. Balance on a fallen tree – yes!  YA I found one I did!!!  We would walk/run across fallen tree limbs all the time! 🙂

19. Swing on a rope swing – I wanna say no cause I don’t remember it at all – but something tells me in my gut I have done this – so I’ll say it’s a probably!

20. Make a mud slide – why do all children have to play with mud??  No  I did not do this!

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild – We had a raspberry bush and I ate them wild so even though they aren’t blackberries, I did eat something growing in the wild so I am taking this one!

22. Take a look inside a tree –There used to be a lot of rotten caterpillar trees on my street *can’t think of the name of the actual type of tree, but caterpillars loved them* so since I collected them, I always looked into the holes in this tree and pulled out the little creatures!

23. Visit an island – At 16 years of age I visited Centre Island in Toronto, but not before the age of 12.

24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind – I would stick my head out the car window – back when seatbelts weren’t as enforced as they are now.  Does this count??

25. Make a grass trumpet – yes, wootwoot I did this – I still do this!  I am a true rock star!!!!

26. Hunt for fossils and bones – again another one I have done!  And I actually found little tiny bones that were probably a birds…my friends and I were pretty proud of ourselves.

27. Watch the sun wake up – ya know what, I am saying yes, but I can’t remember.  I have seen many sunIt doesn't look steep but it is! rises since so I am scratching this doozy off my bucket list!

28. Climb a huge hill – see number 2!  Tabor Hill is a big hill and we climbed it all the time!

29. Get behind a waterfall – sadly no and I still haven’t.  That’s on my bucket list still!

30. Feed a bird from your hand – when I was 8 a bird fell out of a nest and its mama flew away.  I took the bird and fed it bread and pineapple juice from my hand.  I believe the bird probably died, but one morning about three mornings after I began looking after it, it had escaped my shed and disappeared. 

31. Hunt for bugs – yep – constantly.  Considering I am so scared of bugs now, I was really brave in my youth!

32. Find some frogspawn – seriously I had to google this.  No I have not. 

33. Catch a butterfly in a net  –  yay, I did this one too!!!  I loved and still do love butterflies!

34. Track wild animals – for girl guides and brownies we had to look for animal tracks all the time so yay another check!

35. Discover what’s in a pond – my Aunt Shirley lived in a cottage and when we would visit my Aunt Gayle at her trailer we would visit Aunt Shirley at the cottage and she lived right on the lake – we would go in the lake around the rocks and dock and discover all sorts of things there – frogs, moss, bugs, minnows etc etc.

36. Call an owl – I still do this whenever I hear one – I “hoot” back!

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool – I’ve never heard of a rock pool but what I am imagining, no I have not.

38. Bring up a butterfly – I collected caterpillars all throughout my youth and yes I kept them until they would cocoon and hatch into a beautiful butterfly!

39. Catch a crab – nope 😦

40. Go on a nature walk at night – again thank you to the Girl Guides of Canada or else this list would make my youth seem awfully pathetic!

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it – Raspberries!  No technically I didn’t plant it – my neighbour did and it over grew onto my property!  However I watered them on my side and picked them when ripe and ate them!  Yumm!

42. Go wild swimming – what is this wild swimming we talk about??  In a lake – yes.  In an ocean – no.  In the nude – after I was 16!? YIKES!

43. Go rafting – uhhh nope

44. Light a fire without matches – even as a Girl Guide I needed matches or a lighter!

45. Find your way with a map and a compass – again Girl Guides of Canada you rock!

46. Try bouldering like rock climbing??  No…it wasn’t a cool thing to do back when I was growing up – no one I knew or hung out with had done that.

47. Cook on a campfire – every lunch and dinner at Guide camp! 🙂

48. Try abseiling – supposedly this means rappelling – like down a mountain.  I was not a safe enough child to have even considered this – my parents would NEVER have allowed it – I would have died.

49. Find a geocache – again thank you Wikipedia – it’s a treasure hunt type of game using a GPS.  No I did not do this.  In fact, was this technology even around in the late 80’s when I was a child??  We played hot and cold, Simon says, tag, hide and seek.  Why aren’t these on the list!  Heck put running bases on the list!  What about clapping games like Ms. Mary Mack??  Sigh, todays kids are way to techno savvy!  Booooo

50. Canoe down a river –  I grew up in Scarborough people and the trailer was a place to relax and play in the sand – not to canoe or raft…we did tubing every once in awhile!


So clearly this list proves that I was not an exciting child.  I didn’t even do half the things on this list and if it wasn’t for my bff at the time Shannon I would have done even less because I was only a Girl Guide because of her!  I think this list is great for those kids who love the outdoors, whose parents are fans of camping and such.  But my parents weren’t.  We played indoor games and outdoor games – but grew up in the city so we played sports and built forts and rode our bikes and skateboards.  I loved my youth – I wouldn’t change it to include any of the above *except MAYBE the snail races*, so I am going to count myself lucky and when/if I am blessed enough to have children, then I pray they appreciate the life I allow them to live when they are young.  I hope they get to do some things on this list, and heck I will join them so I can cross them off my list too – but if they don’t complete this list, and they still come out of their youth smiling, happy and able to love, then I will consider myself the world’s best parent! 

XOXO Nikilee


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