The best 50 things activities to meet creatures

Love animals? Crazy about creatures? Interested in insects? There are lots of challenges in the 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ activity list that involve creatures of some sort – from farm animals to things that live in water, or trees, or simply your own back garden. If you want to tick them all off your list, and have the best chance of meeting lots of living things, you’ll need to learn about looking after them to make sure that they enjoy your 50 things challenge as much as you. Here are our top activities for meeting living things, and the best ways to look after them when you do encounter them.

Boy holding a net up in the air with a starfish in it

No.8 catch a fish with a net 

Go on an adventure to the sea and find an underwater world that’s teeming with wildlife. You might find pollock hiding amongst the rocks and shallow waters or gobies, fivebeard rocklings and blennies lurking in a rock pool. Remember to put any fish back quickly once you’ve had a look, and don't ever leave them in a bucket in the sun. Some fish like weaver fish and spiny fish can be poisonous too.

A close up of a snail race at Ickworth

No.17 set up a snail race 

You'll have to find some snails for this, then just mark out a short track in chalk - don't make it too long though, snails move super slowly. Your racing snails will be happier if the track is somewhere shady, as they don't like being out in the sun! It's best to pop them back where you found them after their race, and wash your own hands too.

Two young boys looking up, stood inside a tree

No.22 explore inside a tree 

Trees with huge trunks sometime have huge holes, making them great for exploring. We even have hollow trees at a few of our places, perfect for adventurers. Watch out for insects and wildlife though - lots of things like to live in the holes of trees, so you might end up sharing.

Girl looking through gate with parents towards a cow

No.23 visit a farm 

A farm is one of the best places to make new animal friends and see them up close. You can usually find out more about the animals, learn about what they like to eat and drink and find out how to look after them. On some farms you might be able to stroke them too. It's usually best to wear your wellies, listen to any instructions from the farmer and wash your hands afterwards.

Girl with a frog in her hand

No.30 hold a scary beast 

Are you brave enough to hold a scary (mini) beast? Perhaps a spider, worm, woodlice or a beetle? If you are, then you'll have ticked off another challenge off your list. Remember that you're a giant compared to the creature, so be gentle, and put it back in its home once you've held it!

Visitors pond-dipping in the burn at Cragside, Northumberland

No.35 discover what's in a pond 

Pond water is full of life. If you scoop some out into a container with the same temperature water (that's important!) then you can find all sorts of weird creatures, plants and things. Don't forget to put everything back in the pond afterwards though. The pond creatures will also be happier if you can keep them out of the sun while you're investigating!

Man holding a crab in front of boy over pockpool

No.39 catch a crab 

To become a champion crabber you’ll need a net, some bait and a bucket of water. See if you can catch the most commonly found variety known as the shore crab, or try and spot the more elusive spider crab. Just remember to put anything you catch back where you found it afterwards. Crabs have busy lives too, you know.

See the village in a new light on our lantern walk

No.40 go on a nature walk at night 

If you can stay awake when it's dark then it's the perfect time to spot (and listen to) creatures that only come out at night. Take a torch but only use it if you really need to as animals can see much better than you in the dark. Soon you'll be spotting and hearing hedgehogs and all sorts of things that like the night time better than the day.

A young family bird watching

No.44 go bird watching 

If you can find somewhere quiet to sit, watch and wait for birds then you'll be spotting them before you know it. Make sure you don't frighten them off, birds get spooked pretty easily.

Girl sitting on a horse on the beach with family by her side

No.48 learn to ride a horse 

Going anywhere on horseback turns an ordinary day into an adventure. Why not have a go at learning to ride at an activity centre or stables near you?