children stood by a blossom tree with their teacher
Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School

Pupils at a Cwmbran school are taking part in a list of fun challenges inspired by the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾‘ campaign.

The conservation charity created a list of challenges and experiences for children to do the age of ’11¾’. They involve doing things outdoors to enjoy nature and learn about the natural world.

Teachers at Pontneydd Primary School asked pupils for their ideas for things they would like to experience during their time at the school.

pupils on a hill hold hands in air
Pupils on a hill Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School

Jemma Angel-Farmer, year 2 teacher, told Cwmbran Life: “I loved the idea of giving children experiences they may not have necessarily had. This led to me developing an initiative within our school called FFAB11 (Fifty Fun Activities Before 11) which is inspired by the National Trust. It is an opportunity to develop wellbeing and equity for all.”

All the activities link to the four key areas of the national curriculum to help pupils to be:

  • Ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn through their lives.
  • Enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play full part in life and work.
  • Ethical informed citizens of Wales and the World.
  • Healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives.
three pics of young pupils outside by water and in a field
Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School

She added: “We often ask our children to imagine different experiences such as walking barefoot on a beach, describing the views from the top of a mountain or simply jumping in a muddy puddle. I thought why not provide them with these opportunities and give them the fun authentic experiences they deserve? The more we inspire these children, the more they are going to achieve.

“Initially I sent a questionnaire out to every child in the school to ask them what experiences they would like throughout their time at Pontnewydd Primary School.

a girl holds a scrapbook
A pupil holds her scrapbook of memories from taking part in Fifty Fun Activities Before 11 Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School

“Hundreds of suggestions came back. After this, I also asked parents for ideas on what they think their children would like and sent out a suggestions form to fill in.

“After whittling down the suggestions to 50 different choices, we held a staff meeting to decide which would be most appropriate to be done in each year group. It really was a case of everyone being involved.”

Pupils outside the Millennium Stadium
Pupils visited the Millennium Stadium Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School

Every year from nursery right through to year six takes part with each year group having their own list of activities and experiences to complete. There are also two activities that the whole school takes part in together, a water play day and raising money for charity.

“We fit in these activities or experiences throughout our school year, as each year group only has six to complete or take part in, many of them are done within a school day or as a school trip, usually for free. We try to keep the majority of these experiences local to our school community or fit them in as best we can.

“We sometimes combine school trips within the year groups and have enjoyed taking part in activities with the older and younger children.

“The effects of Covid 19 had been clear to see on our children’s social, emotional and mental health and this was a clear priority for us. FABB 11 strives to encourage children to love the outdoor environment and allow them to appreciate what the outside world and their locality has to offer.

two girls on a school trip
Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School

“Seeing the children experience pure enjoyment from the simplest of things is a true blessing.

“We all want the best for our children and simply seeing them smile and truly be happy is more than we could ask for. I’ve also loved how involved the children were in the process. Seeing them engage in the outdoor environment just allows them to thrive in other ways.

“It has also been lovely to see the children develop early approaches to problem-solving. It encourages a healthy, active lifestyle, boosts self-awareness, independence, confidence and develops communication skills through collaborative-working.

“Each child is given a scrapbook in nursery and photos are taken throughout each activity which is then documented in their book. This is passed on every year as the child moves through the school so that by the time they reach year six they will have a complete book full of their memories in Pontnewydd Primary School.

“The older the children are they begin to write about their experiences too. The books really are gorgeous and will be a lovely keepsake in years to come. It’s all about having fun, enjoying their learning and most importantly making amazing memories.

“We’ve had many responses [from parents) saying what a lovely idea. Many parents have commented on the fact that we are providing children with experiences that they may not necessarily have and of course giving their children memorable moments.

“I have also had conversations where parents are grateful that the majority of these trips are free.”

children stood by a blossom tree
Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School

Here is what some pupils have said about FFAB11

  • “I went to the zoo for the first time and I had the best day of my life.”
  • “I have never put my feet in the sand before.’’
  • “I never thought I would climb a mountain but my teachers helped me every moment and I felt so proud of myself.”
  • “Rock climbing was one of my biggest fears but I overcame it.’’

This is what each year group completes each year:


Explore on wheels, go on nature hunt, roll down a hill, go on an adventure in wellies, jump in muddy puddles, create something out of mud


Build a den, hunt for minibeasts, barefoot on a beach, visit a farm, pet an animal, make something out of sticks

Year 1

Bring up a butterfly, help a plant to grow, go paddling, make and wear a wild crown, go on an adventure in your wellies, canal walk

Year 2

Visit a stadium, dam a stream, float a boat, go on a winter adventure, climb a huge hill, prepare a meal for someone

Year 3

Visit a pond, climb a mountain, bake a treat, spot a fish, visit a zoo, become a nature photographer

Year 4

Feed an animal, fly a kite, learn a new sport, design an obstacle course, teach someone a new skill, eat a picnic in the wild

Year 5

Cloud watching, build a house for an animal, toast a marshmallow, build a campfire, find your way with a map, skim a stone

Year 6

Canoeing, rock climbing, build a raft, catch a crab, make a tree swing, explore a rock pool

a group of pupils and their teacher
Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School
A memory scrapbook
A memory scrapbook Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School
a scrapbook
A memory scrapbook Credit: Pontnewydd Primary School