50 things to do before you're 12

Today's youngsters may be a dab hand at video games, but how many can lay claim to being expert tree climbers or rope-swing acrobats?

According to research commissioned by the trust, fewer than 10 per cent of children regularly play in 'wild places' and 10 per cent cannot ride a bicycle.

Meanwhile, on average, children spend four-and-a-half hours a day sat in front of a TV or computer screen, according to recent research.

The National Trust today launches a nationwide campaign to encourage sofa-bound children to get outside, exploring and having adventures. 

The trust is challenging children to tick off every item on its list, including kite-flying, watching the sun rise and getting behind a waterfall

While damming streams and building dens may be basic rights of passage for their parents' and grandparents' generation, the National Trust is offering a helping hand for today's youngsters who have yet to experience such character-building activities.

How many children have poked at frogspawn or caught a fish in a net? Have they faced the fear of picking up their first crab or dyed their tongues purple from eating wild blackberries?

The charity's checklist also includes simple pleasures such as running around in the rain and bug hunting, setting up a snail race, flying a kite and making a (delicious) mud pie.

'We're hoping that the nation's children will embrace the 50 things and start having their very own outdoor adventures with their family, with our Free Weekend the perfect opportunity to get outside in the fresh air.'