A Bucket List For Pre-Teens

5 min read
A Bucket List For Pre-Teens

Turning 12 means a lot to a kid. Before 12 you’re a child, a tween, a not quite tall enough version of a person. Twelve year olds are amongst the oldest at primary school or are the youngest in high school and it’s a time of working out who they are and what the world is about. There’s lots of changes, lots of independence to be gained or earned, apron strings cut, and lots of opportunities to learn about life.

But before the big 1-2 here’s a list 50 things that every kid should do. Like a bucket list before you die, or a big list of things to do before you’re 100, there are things that kids need to try – and perhaps fail at, then stand up and dust themselves off and try again – with their parents cheering them on, and because they want to and can!

It’s all about the belief, deep in your bones, that you can do it! You can complete a task under your own steam and take credit for getting that gold star or promotion or half-marathon. Even if it’s a half-baked idea, and doesn’t work the first time, and doesn’t turn out how you thought it might, in the end something is achieved. Persistence pays off, and if kids are having the experience in a fun learning way then what’s to lose? Without them even knowing that they’re having life lessons, and that they’ll thank you for it in the future, you can help them tick things off a list of their own.

1. Wear gumboots, splash in a rain storm and jump in muddy puddles.
2. Climb a very tall hill, a big tree or a rock.
3. Roller skate or ride scooter with friends.
4. Make prints of your feet with paint or ink.
5. Play tether tennis on the beach.
6. Sleep under the stars, even in your own backyard.
7. Get a magnifying glass and look in a rock pool.
8. Catch a tadpole in a creek, or worms in your backyard.
9. Fold a paper boat and float it down a stream.
10. Make a kite and fly it on a windy day.
11. Swing on a tire swing.
12. Sit for a while and watch the birds in your own backyard – identify them and write them down.
13. Catch a fish, or a crab, or a yabbie, or pippies or other cockles.
14. Play under a sprinkler.
15. Learn to tie 3 different knots.
16. Find a geocache in your local neighbourhood.
17. Build a teepee or a tent.
18. Swim in the ocean, or a lake, or a river – somewhere you can’t see the bottom.
19. Do one thing that you’re scared of – climb high on a ladder, jump from a diving board.
20. Send a local postcard to a friend.
21. Eat a food you’ve never tried.
22. Toast marshmallows on a fire.
23. Make something with things you find on the beach.
24. Teach someone else how to tie their shoes the way you do.
25. Make breakfast in bed for your family.
26. Learn how to skim a stone on water.
27. Write out a family recipe and make it yourself.
28. Go for a bush walk with a map.
29. Go fruit picking.
30. Visit a farm.
31. Send a postcard to a family member.
32. Blow some eggs out of their shells and dye them pretty colours.
33. Learn one constellation.
34. Learn aboriginal words for local places, food or animals.
35. Plant some seeds, watch them sprout and grow, then plant them into a pot or your garden.
36. Go paddle boating or kayaking.
37. Learn how to use a compass.
38. Collect some autumn leaves and press them between wax paper.
39. Do some tie dyeing.
40. Learn to body board or surf.
41. Make damper in a fire, or on a BBQ.
42. Snorkel on a beach or in a rock pool.
43. Play board games that your parents played when they were kids.
44. Pat a farm animal that’s bigger than you, such as a horse or cow.
45. Go to an island.
46. Run barefoot on the grass then roll down a hill!
47. Blow bubbles on a windy day.
48. Make mud pies.
49. Find your pulse and count it out how does it change when you run around?
50. Interview your parents, siblings, family and friends about yourself right now.

Being brave isn’t about being fearless. It’s about being scared and doing it anyway. – Emma Archer

Growing up, there are lots of things that are fun and interesting but some say that kids these days need to be taught how to do things in the real world. With the focus being online, electronic and interactive, natural play is left to the side. So print out this list and use the long salad days of Summer to give your nearly 12 year old some challenges. Some of them will need adult supervision or assistance, and this is not the time to free-range your kids but perhaps it is time to give them some amazing childhood memories.

What fun things do you do with your kids? When did it change from doing things for them and doing things with them? What on this list makes you wistfully think about your childhood?


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About Author

Saskia Brown

Saskia is mama wearing lots of different hats while parenting two small girls. She is a midwife, is married to a scientist and lives in the Adelaide H...Read Moreills in South Australia. When she's not juggling parenting and working, she likes to do a lot of walking, photography and crafting. She enjoys yoga when the childerbeasts are asleep, writing when the mood strikes, reading a good organisational blog or dreaming of far off places. Read Less

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