"51 Things To Do Before You Turn 10" vs "50 Things To Do Before You Turn 11 3/4"

So today I came across a posting online titled “51 Things To Do Before You Turn 10”.  It is along the lines of the list put out by the National Trust – which is “50 Things To Do Before You Turn 11 3/4”

The National Trust list is, of course, about getting outside and in touch with nature.  Anyway, I like the idea of both the lists.  The nature one is great as it gets our now city/suburban kids outdoors and back into a natural environment – especially as they spent two years living in North Norfolk, UK – where they had their Forest School, countless beaches and the National Trust – including Sheringham Park with [Little Acorns], Felbrigg Hall & Blickling Estate.  There are several basic things which I’d like to “teach” the kids – some, of course, won’t be able to be done now but as Soren is approaching 8, there are tons he has already learned but many to come.

We’ll start with the LAUNDRY!  Just today I asked Soren to pick up his jeans from his floor and put them in the third drawer or in the laundry basket.  His reply and I quote “ah grrrrr, I’m so not the laundry man!”  LOL – oh yeah, I’m the laundry lady – he’ll also now go on the two-week cycle 🙂

  1. Learn to knit
  2. Learn to cook – the basics like boiling an egg
  3. Make your own bed…..properly
  4. Have a penpal in a few random countries
  5. Learn to code
  6. Make a stop motion movie
  7. Do a random act of kindness
  8. Learn to crochet
  9. Dye or cut your hair for charity
  10. Grow something edible from seeds
  11. Build a treehouse
  12. Run around in the rain
  13. Fly a kite
  14. Roll down a big hill
  15. Make a daisy chain
  16. Find a geocache
  17. Read a classic book
  18. Write and post a letter
  19. Go on a walk at night with a torch
  20. Catch a falling autumn leaf
  21. Taste a snowflake on your tongue
  22. Make snow angels
  23. Play conkers
  24. Learn numbers 1-10 in a few languages
  25. Learn to play a musical instrument
  26. Make perfume in the garden with flowers and herbs
  27. Go pond dipping
  28. Make a bow and arrow
  29. Learn how to work the washing machine
  30. Go camping in your back garden
  31. Try a new food you’ve never tried before
  32. Watch bats flying at dusk
  33. Bake a cake
  34. Hold an animal
  35. Visit an old person
  36. Learn to ride a bike
  37. See the sun come up
  38. Lie on your back and watch clouds
  39. Take a photograph with a proper camera (not a phone)
  40. Learn a magic trick
  41. Learn which birds are which by looking at them
  42. Toast marshmallows
  43. Go to the theatre
  44. Learn how to dance (Irish/Ballet/Waltz)
  45. Have an adventure
  46. Interview a grandparent about what it was like being a kid in the olden days
  47. Write a story or poem
  48. Make Ice Cream
  49. Save up for something big
  50. Know where milk comes from really
  51. See a calf/lamb/foal being born

    “50 Things To Do Before You Are 11 3/4”

  • 11.Go on a really long bike ride
  • 12.Make a trail with sticks
  • 13.Make a mud pie
  • 14.Dam a stream
  • 15.Play in the snow
  • 16.Make a daisy chain
  • 17.Set up a snail race
  • 18.Create some wild art
  • 19.Play pooh sticks
  • 20.Jump over waves
  • 21.Pick blackberries growing in the wild
  • 22.Explore inside a tree
  • 23.Visit a farm
  • 24.Go on a walk barefoot
  • 25.Make a grass trumpet
  • 26.Hunt for fossils and bones
  • 27.Go star gazing
  • 28.Climb a huge hill
  • 29.Explore a cave
  • 30.Hold a scary beast
  • 31.Hunt for bugs
  • 32.Find some frogspawn
  • 33.Catch a falling leaf
  • 34.Track wild animals
  • 35.Discover what’s in a pond
  • 36.Make a home for a wild animal
  • 37.Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
  • 38.Bring up a butterfly
  • 39.Catch a crab
  • 40.Go on a nature walk at night
  • 41.Plant it, grow it, eat it
  • 42.Go swimming in the sea
  • 43.Build a raft
  • 44.Go bird watching
  • 45.Find your way with a map and compass
  • 46.Try rock climbing
  • 47.Cook on a campfire
  • 48.Learn to ride a horse
  • 49.Find a geocache
  • 50.Canoe down a river

National Trust: Geocaching at Sheringham Park

As the weather was a bit warmer we set out to Sheringham Park to try geocaching.  I had already done it before, so I knew where each of the four listed on the sheet were, but let Soren & Maebh (with N’s help) find them by using the machines which we checked out for FREE at the Visitor Center.


the outdoor sport or game of searching for hidden objects by using Global Positioning System
(GPS) coordinates posted on the Internet.

Once the device lead us to the area, there were a few “clues” to help us locate the exacts spot where we had to find the hidden item.  When found, they opened it and signed the log book and left a penny from the USA.

While you are supposed to stick to the trails, we did venture off one where we found a few huge dens which clearly took someone a long time to build.
We walked and walked and walked…

While Nils searched the logs near the Temple for the last one (which was missing), the kids played “Temple Ice Hockey”.
Soren had a great time doing it, and we’ll definitely try doing it again soon as there are a lot around North Norfolk.  We’re going to try Orienteering at the park next.

Seals at Horsey Mere & Horsey Wind Pump

Today we visited yet another National Trust property, but it is a little different than the normal stately house with amazing gardens and full of history.  But this time, it was Horsey Wind Pump!

It’s a five story, Grade II listed building built in 1912 to pump out water from the surrounding land so that it can be used for agriculture, until it was struck by lightning in 1943.  That is when the National Trust purchased it and renovated it.  What is cool is that you can go inside and climb the super steep steps to the top.  As it was a really windy day, I didn’t go out on the ledge, but I can imagine it is lovely on a warmer day.  As you’ll see in the first photo, the little boat pulled up and they came for a cup of tea.  He was struggling to turn the corner and get out.

The dyke leads to Horsey Mere, which is a broad only open to the public Spring to Autumn.  The guy was telling me on a busy day, they could have a dozen boats, which originated in the broads docking along the edge. I’ve included a photo from the web which shows all the boats.  Many people park at the lot and go bird watching and/or walk to see the seals.

The beach at Horsey is where the grey seals make home to give birth to their pups.  The first baby seal was born on the 31st of October, so we knew that we were not going to see too many, if any.  We did see a couple and loads of pregnant ones.  As a bonus, there was a rainbow over the water.  As we did last year, we parked at the Nelson Pub and walked down the pathway to the beach.

Unlike last year when we visited the baby seals in late December, we were so lucky to see so many cute babies so close.  I recently met a Seal Warden who old me that 40,000 people came to see the seals last Boxing Day!  We spent that day watching The Boxing Day Dip – aka – a bunch of crazies, jump into the freezing cold ocean.  Unless we go away after Christmas, we’ll probably go watch again.

On the way back, it looked like a storm was brewing in the distance, so we walked as quick as we could.

The cows which were out in the fields earlier were now by the fence, so I could resist getting closer.

National Trust: Owl Prowl @ Sheringham Park

Last night, the kids & I headed over to Sheringham Park for the Owl Prowl from 4-6 pm.  There were about 25 people in total, but mainly families with kids average aged 7.  Maebh did a toddler-friendly session called It’ll Be A Hoot with Acorns Toddler Group, so she was one step ahead.

Before we got to Sheringham Park, we stopped in the town center to pick up Nils’ suit and there was a great rainbow over the town.  Only having my iPhone with me, this was the best photo we could get. If we hadn’t been going to the event, I’d have gone over to the Beeston Bump, as I’m sure you could get a great shot from there.

As we walked by the Break, we popped in to see if they had anything good in stock and we spotted a radio/flashlight for €1.50 so we grabbed it.  The kids each had flashlights (aka torches), so this was very handy to have for me.   Not only did it have a radio and light, but it also has a siren – clearly a handy emergency tool and the kids played with it a lot and even now, first thing in the morning, Soren has it on his lap. 

We started off in the Learning Center where Ranger Rob, explained the five owls you can find here in Norfolk, UK and a little about each one and where they can be found.

Barn Owl,  Tawny, Little Owl, Short Ear Owl &  Long Ear Owl

Each chair had a couple owl pellets in front of them along with some tools to dissect them, along with a telescope to look at each piece much closer.   Soren and Maebh both did a great job taking their pellets apart… which was really tricky not to break them into more bits.  Each had a few skulls of shrews and a small bird with loads of bones and fur.

The bones and bits were cleaned off a bit more, they put them in glue and put them on these black card paper.  Since the kids are young, they did it more of a glob of glue with the bones vs. like some of the much older kids, separated them out.

The entire group headed out for a walk to see if we could hear any.  We were out for about an hour. Started out down the main path, to the orange trail which was very slippery with leaves and steps – thankfully just as we were about to set off on the walk, Nils met up with us and could hold onto Maebh’s hand.  As we walked along the main parkland in the dark with mooing cows on both sides, climbing fences and doing our best to avoid cow poo.  We stopped to watch some bats flying around us, but we could not find any owls this night.

Glad we did it as the kids had fun & it was pretty educational.  As our family really loves owls, especially Barn Owls, I knew I had to book into this session once it was posted on the website.  There are several UK-based Barn Owl webcams online and I hope Sheringham Park will get one set up soon – they are great to watch.

Finally, speaking of Web Cams, there are SOOO many in UK – you can spend so much time viewing the various sites around the UK.


National Trust: Oxburgh Hall

As a perk for working for the National Trust, I get FREE family admission to all NT properties [and some English Heritage sites – like Stonehenge – so going there in the Spring], so we are on a roll! Having just visited Blicking Estate for a long walk, late Saturday and will be at the Owl Prowl tomorrow at Sheringham Park, we thought we should check out one that is a little further away. So after looking at our options, we set out for Oxburgh Hall, just south of Swaffham.  When looking at the map, it looked so much further than it really was.

Having never been there before, we didn’t know what to expect other than it is a castle-like manor house surrounded by a moat.  They have various garden areas, as well as, a very large home, along with several nature walks and different trails for the kids.

A little history of the property was that it was built by the Bedingfeld family in the 15th century and they lived ever since. Their family’s loyalty to the Catholic church is revealed, complete with a secret priest’s hole, which Soren went inside, but not me!

When Soren saw this tiger, he was stunned and kept asking if it was real (meaning once alive)!

We climbed to the top to see the panoramic views from the gatehouse rooftop, but I was so stressed up there.  The wind and the kids going down the very step, angled spiral brick steps, I didn’t enjoy it much!

I’m glad we were able to check out Oxburgh Hall – not sure we’d return any time soon though.  I would have liked to explore the grounds more with a nice walk in the woodland areas, but as a major storm was brewing with loads of wind, they closed all nature walks.
On the way back to Gresham, we popped over to the English Heritage site – Castle Acre to see what that was all about… having seen a few signs on the way over.

National Trust: Mausoleum Walk Blicking Estate

As we were driving, we had an idea to walk around the National Trust’s Blickling Estate. Often times you hear that the region of Norfolk is very “open” and has “big skies”.  These two photos represent just that… space, light and nature.

Last time we were at Blickling Estate, we visited the Hall, Gardens & Second-Hand Bookshop, we read that there is a nice 3 or so mile Mausoleum Walk and it is very likely that you see Barn Owls as they are very common on the estate.   Of course, that was a huge interest for this barn-owl loving family.

When we checked in at the Visitor Service Center, they gave the kids a crayon, and each a large booklet with 21 or so photos along with descriptions with blank circles and a map.

As we walked along the trails, Soren & Maebh would spot the signs with brass rubbings and details. This really helped give the kids some adventure in our walk.   We didn’t get to do every single one, so we’ll keep those books and head back to finish them up soon. Very typical of National Trust trying to get kids outside and in the wild – hence the 50 Things To Do Before Your 11 3/4 challenge, which the kids have already done a lot of the activities and keep track in their little scrapbooks!

As we started out, Soren was our leader and showed us which color path we were on and which direction was the Mausoleum.  When we arrived, the kids thought the pyramid structure was quite cool – as they have never seen a pyramid-styled building before in person.

The Mausoleum, built in 1797, is the tomb of the Second Earl of Buckinghamshire and his two wives, Mary Anne & Caroline.

As the area was so vast, many times it was just our family and not a single person around.  But one time, a guy passed us and I couldn’t resist the photo opportunity.  He looked like a guy who lived in a restricted residential home and removed his pants and went on a walk. His stark white shorts were pulled very high, along with this white legs and white socks.

There are some really amazing trees on the estate.  The only trouble was that I didn’t switch my lenses so I only had my 55 mm to 200 mm zoom lens with me.

The Grandstand Tower was built in 1773 to watch horse racing in the Park, and is now available to rent for holidays.

We walked and walked in search of barn owls before it became too dark.  In fact, we saw something flying around near the lake so I ran ahead to see what it was, but it was not a barn owl.  We did see plenty of cute sheep!

Maebh was tired, so she got to ride a lot on Nils’ shoulders with some fun on the way.

As we completed the walk, we had just minutes of daylight left and when we got to our car it was pitch black – clearly we need some flash lights in the car and on us next time.

As we exited the gates by the car park, we popped into the Buck Arms for a pint, before heading home for the night.  The pub is quite cute and has a great menu.  I’d love to come back in the Winter for a meal after a nice long walk.  I bet it will look great with Christmas decorations too.

So it was a lovely family walk even though we didn’t spot any barn owls! 😦