Humble stick revealed as the 'Must-Have' toy for summer

Recent National Trust research has found that:

  • Children are spending half as much time playing outdoors than their parents’ generation

  • 88 per cent of parents across the North East believe that playing outdoors makes their children more imaginative and creative, with the simple stick voted the best toy for fuelling children’s imaginative play and creativity

  • Exclusive rap by Game of Thrones star Raleigh Ritchie celebrates the importance of getting outdoors and starting your story with nature.

For parents concerned their children aren’t getting enough time outdoors, help is at hand – in the form of the simple stick.

The National Trust has announced that it will be championing the stick as part of its ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ initiative, which aims to encourage families to get outdoors and start their nature fuelled adventure. The organisation has partnered with ‘Game of Thrones’ star ‘Grey Worm’ and musician Raleigh Ritchie to help celebrate the stick and encourage families to unleash their imagination this summer.

Raleigh Ritchie comments: “For some people, a stick is just a stick. However, I want to encourage young people to see that actually the possibilities are endless. It can be a pen, a sword, a witch’s broom, a dragon’s bone… anything! That’s what childhood should be about – getting outdoors and going on adventures, using your imagination to customise the world you see and feeding that appetite for fresh air and fun. That’s what this rap is all about.

“For me, I love nothing more than taking a walk and getting outdoors to provide some escapism and inspiration – and that’s why the National Trust’s ’50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾’ campaign really resonated with me. We’re all big kids at heart, and it’s never too late to have some fun and start your story with nature”.

Supporting the National Trust’s findings, Child Developmental Psychologist Dr Sam Wass adds: “Being outdoors, with space to run around, is something that benefits all children. One of the main benefits of being outdoors is that it encourages children to play in a very different way – they have to use their imagination, and their own creativity, much more they do when they are indoors, watching screen media.

“Imagination and creativity are vital life skills that will help children stay attuned to nature and to the environment throughout their adult lives. Children who learn to love nature at an early age will always enjoy being outdoors, throughout the rest of their lives”.

National Trust research also found that in the North East:

  • A whopping 98% of parents believe it is of great importance for their children to have a connection with nature and the great outdoors

  • Over 50% of parents worry that the rise of technology-based entertainment is negatively impacting the development of my child’s imagination

  • Nevertheless, 94% would welcome more technology designed to encourage their children to engage with nature and outdoor play.

For more information on the National Trust’s ’50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ campaign in the North East, head to:

To view the ‘Stick’ rap and video created in collaboration with Raleigh Ritchie, visit