The kiddie “bucket list” – 50 things kids should do before age 12, with an Ottawa-centric twist

Okay, this? Best parenting advice I’ve read in a long time, and very in line with my ever-strengthening philosophy of giving kids room to be kids. Thank you to my friend and longtime reader Kim for sharing this article in the weekend Globe and Mail: Bucket list for kids: 50 things to do before they’re 12

I love this, because I think each and every one of these is an excellent activity — and yet it makes me sad and kind of tired. Do we as parents really need to make an itemized checklist of experiences our kids must achieve? Meh, maybe the grey Ottawa skies and cold, damp temperatures are making me cantankerous. It actually sounds like a road map to a pretty great summer, if spring ever decides to return.

Here’s the official list, editorialized with my own local spin:

1. Climb a tree

2. Roll down a really big hill (Mooney’s Bay has a great one for this!)

3. Camp out in the wild (did you know there’s a campground on Prince of Wales just north of Hunt Club? Practically downtown!)

4. Build a den

5. Skim a stone (I recommend Britannia Beach for this one!)

6. Run around in the rain (or puddles, maybe?)

7. Fly a kite

8. Catch a fish with a net

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree (we love Kilmarnock and Cannamore orchards)

10. Play conkers

11. Throw some snow (can we wait until December for this one, please?)

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach

13. Make a mud pie

14. Dam a stream

15. Go sledging

16. Bury someone in the sand

17. Set up a snail race

18. Balance on a fallen tree

19. Swing on a rope swing (the rope swing is hands down the kid-favourite feature in our backyard)

20. Make a mud slide

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild (there are – or were – wild raspberries growing along the boardwalk at the Chapman Mills Conservation Area)

22. Take a look inside a tree

23. Visit an island

24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

25. Make a grass trumpet

26. Hunt for fossils and bones

27. Watch the sun wake up

28. Climb a huge hill

29. Get behind a waterfall (or maybe go caving?)

30. Feed a bird from your hand (bring some seed to the Lime Kiln Trail or Hogsback Falls for this one!)

31. Hunt for bugs

32. Find some frogspawn

33. Catch a butterfly in a net

34. Track wild animals

35. Discover what’s in a pond (Mud Lake is great for this!)

36. Call an owl

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 wild swimming

43. Go rafting

44. Light a fire without matches (um, no thanks)

45. Find your way with a map and a compass

46. Try bouldering

47. Cook on a campfire

48. Try abseiling

49. Find a geocache

50. Canoe down a river (although you might want to wait until they’re older than 3 and 5 yrs old!)

I figure the boys have a good half of the items crossed off, and I can tell you for sure I won’t be taking them abseiling any time soon – although the zip-line at a local aerial park is not out of question. What do you think? Is there anything on here a child of 12 can or cannot live without doing? Something you’d add to the list?

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

6 thoughts on “The kiddie “bucket list” – 50 things kids should do before age 12, with an Ottawa-centric twist”

  1. An Ottawa twist is changing “build a den” to “build a snowfort”, something my kids do every winter! Saw this on Andrea’s FB page and made a few comments. 🙂

  2. Absolutely love your list, especially the Ottawa twist. I’d add “make a taffy with real maple syrup at home” to the list as it was so much fun! Not that the kids need more sugar.

  3. I like a more general one that happens a lot around here:

    “Be so dirty that you mom forces you to undress in your undies before getting in the house and sends you staight in the bath as a team.”

  4. Lil’ Man has done almost half of these. It’s a good thing too he is already 6. I better get a move on for the rest of them.

    There is one thing on that list that I have always wanted to do and maybe I will one day and that is bury someone in the sand. I have yet to build a sand castle. That is on my “To Do List” for this summer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *