What we’re doing to reconnect children with nature

Boy wearing a '50 Things' baseball cap at Studland Beach, Dorset/ National Trust
Get out into the wild National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

We've been helping young people get out into nature for over a century. Whether it’s pond dipping on a school trip, taking the leap at a natural play area, making a campfire at a Wild Wednesday session, or making sandcastles on the beach.

Over the next hundred years we want to do even more, using technology to enable new outdoor experiences and inspiring the next generation of adventurers.

Natural Childhood report

Back in 2012 we published the Natural Childhood report. Written by broadcaster and naturalist Stephen Moss, the report brought together a mountain of evidence to show that children in the UK are becoming more and more disconnected from the outdoors.
'Ultimately,' Stephen wrote, 'it comes down to one question: should we ensure that every child has the opportunity to develop a personal connection with the natural world, with all the benefits that this will bring…or not?'

Getting off the sofa

So we launched 50 Things to do before you’re 11¾, a list of 50 outdoor mini-adventures to get children off the sofa and into the wild.
Three years on it’s still getting children and their families exploring the outdoors – whether at one of the places we care for or in their own back garden.
50 things works. We’ve found that children who get at least 25 of the 50 things under their belt are 15 per cent more connected to nature than when they hadn’t done any. Doing 50 things makes them more likely to spend time in nature and encourages them to care about other species and the environment.

This year 50 Things to do before you're 11¾ is getting a refit

We're getting hi-tech and hi-nature with a new smartphone app and a searchable 50 things map.
We’re proud of 50 Things to do before you're 11¾. But we realise that we can’t hope to reconnect all children in the UK with nature if we act alone. We've joined forces with over a thousand organisations and thousands of individuals to form the Wild Network, a collection of people and organisations campaigning to reconnect children in the UK with nature.
We’re big fans of the Network’s first initiative Project Wild Thing, a film and campaign to help address the problems that stop children from connecting with the outdoors. Find a screening of Project Wild Thing near you or get in touch with your local Trust property and ask them to screen the film.

Download the Natural Childhood report (PDF / 0.9MB) download