Family trades television for 100 adventures

Eight-year-old Ella and her sister 10-year-old Amy Meeks ticking off activities from their list.
Eight-year-old Ella and her sister 10-year-old Amy Meeks ticking off activities from their list. 

A self-proclaimed ordinary family gives their daughters 100 extraordinary challenges to entice them away from the television and into the great outdoors.

Primary school teachers Tim and Kerry Meek from England, were hoping they could encourage independence, resilience and a sense of inquisitive, creative freedom in their two daughters, 10-year-old Amy and eight-year-old Ella, by setting them 100 tasks that would literally take them out of their comfort zone in front of the television and on a year-long adventure of a lifetime.

The outdoor challenges included everything from adrenalin-fuelled activities such as coasteering (jumping into water from rocks) and climbing a winter summit, to survival skills that included foraging for food, tracking and mapping, and going without electricity. The girls were also set character building tasks such as make a stand and support a cause, in which they stood up in front of their school to talk about a charity they chose to support.

44-year-old Mr Meeks says he and his wife are far from adventure junkies but simply saw an opportunity to give their girls memorable and worthwhile experiences.

“We’re just normal, everyday people and not adventurous ourselves, but as we saw our kids growing up, we became more reflective as parents and wanted them to grow up with balance in their lives,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

But what would inspire two parents to come up with such an extensive list of experiences?

“I think kids these days spend more time indoors than we did. They may do a lot of activities, but they don’t necessarily have freedom to express themselves or explore freely,” said Mr Meek.

“They are protected from risks which makes them very safe, but it makes them unable to take or to manage risks themselves.

“Of course, we always want Ella and Amy to do things safely, but in most of the challenges there’s an element of something could happen, they could graze themselves or trap a finger, say.

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“Now, if they fall over they tend to shrug it off. Our girls have taken on a role as ambassadors for adventure.”

But what do the girls think about their year-long list?

“Our friends spend a lot of their free time watching telly or playing on computer games in their bedrooms, luckily we’ve had the chance to do something different,” said Ella.

While some of their activities were able to be completed on weekends in their local area of Arnold, Nottinghamshire, others required further trips around the UK, including Northumberland, Scotland, Pembrokeshire, South West of England and even a trip to Paris.

The Meeks have officially ticked off their final task after spending the night in a hammock-like tent suspended between two trees called a tentsile, but they are showing no signs of giving up their new found love for adventure. Both girls are already at work compiling their own list of challenges for the coming year.

Amy and Ella now only watch about three hours of television a week – they are too busy finding new adventures in the great outdoors.

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Here is the list of 100 activities:

Slacklining (walking on a rope between two trees)

Scooter Safari

Caving

Spend night in a hammock

Canoe down a river

Kids: Plan and lead an adventure

Sleep in the woods

Watch rutting deer

Learn survival skills

Sleep on a beach

Forage for a meal

Make a stand and support a cause

Snorkelling

Go for a reptile ramble

Find a private beach

Trip to Paris

Kayak Safari

Camp in a city

Swim in a natural pool

Sleep in a cahutte (small wooden cabin)

Coasteering (jumping into water from rocks)

Orienteering race

Outdoor birthday party

Walk on high ropes

Make a rope swing

Sleep in a Bivvi (outdoor sleeping bag)

See a henge (stone age earthworks) from sunset to sunrise

Sleep in a family bag

Kayaking

Community work

Climb and abseil

Sailing

Walk a peninsula

Adore a puffin

Watch wild seals

Conkers (a children's game using Hirse Cheastnut seeds)

(Don't) Follow a path (go off-road hiking)

Sleep in a shelter

Plan an epic summit

Camper-vanning

Cook and eat in the wild

Wake and run

Bivvi by a river

Tag team cycle trail

Learn a constellation

Whittle (carve) while you walk

Sub-zero camping

Snow walking

Floodlit swan feed

Discover local history

Find a summit

Go without electricity

Weaseling (climbing between gaps in rocks)

Night-time descent

Eat nettle soup

Enter a race

Explore rockpools

Cook on a beach

Dam a stream

Explore a cave

Explore a wreck

Find a waterfall

Take on the elements

Ride a wave bodyboarding

Wild river swim

Mountain biking

Have a 'wild wee'

Go behind a waterfall

Coastal walk

Music festival

Visit a landmark

Walk to a tidal island

Sleep in an eco-tent

Spot red squirrels

Climb a 'matterhorn'

Walk down a river

Geocaching (GPS treasure hunting)

Clean a beach

Scramble

Walk around a city

Orienteering

Night-time wood walk

Snow hiking

Cook with snow

Visit a suspension bridge

Three peaks in three days

Climb a winter summit

Ghyll scrambling (walking through gorges)

Mother's Day meal

Play in snowdrifts

Sample backpacking

Tracking and mapping

Visit London

Build a bridge

Crabbing

Night walk in a forest

Off-peak camping

Skiing

Climb indoors

Tentsile (hammock-like tent)

Source: Daily Mail

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