OVER the summer holidays the National Trust is aiming to get thousands of children playing outside.

The trust has launched the initiative as part of its commitment to connect the ‘cotton wool generation’ with nature.

By September the charity is hoping to have helped one in 20 of Britain’s seven to12 year olds break their reliance on gadgets and computers for entertainment, and instead experience the simple pleasures of outdoor adventure.

To mark the official start of its annual 50 Things to do before you are 11¾ campaign, the trust is hosting more than 30 ranger-led activities and events in Cheshire and on the Wirral.

The 50 Things bucket list includes climbing a tree, build a den, hunting for bugs, skimming a stone, rolling down a hill, making a mud pie, going on a barefoot walk, bird watching, building a home for a wild animal or flying a kite.

Tom Brockington, National Trust 50 Things champion for Cheshire and Wirral said: “Not only does the loss of children’s outdoor play and contact with the natural world impact their growth and development, it also sets the stage for a continuing loss of the natural environment.

He said: “We want to encourage children to care about nature, so it becomes part of their life as they grow up and they protect Britain’s special places for years to come. If nature had a voice it would want us to do the same – we need the natural world as much as it needs us."

Across Cheshire and the Wirral there’s a huge selection of activities to do including 15 at Dunham Massey.

To download the trust's 50 Things planner, which sets out at a glance which activities you can do where over the school holidays. Go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/northwest or pick up a copy at your local Trust property.

The National Trust is offering a special prize to be awarded to any child who is able to complete all the 50 things activities between July 2014 and February 2105. For details go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50things