DO you remember the first time you went to fly a kite or build a den?

These are just two activities which every girl should do before she is five, according to the independent school Burgess Hill Girls.

The junior school has created a “bucket list” of 50 activities for pre-school-age girls to encourage them to be “bold and curious from a young age and to challenge themselves to try new things”.

Heather Cavanagh, head of Burgess Hill Girls Junior School, said she hopes the list will catch on. She said: “At Burgess Hill Girls, getting ‘stuck-in’ is our mantra.

“The willingness to try new things gives young girls a fantastic platform for when they start school.

“We hope our list will inspire girls and their families to get out and explore the world around them.”

The list was put together by teachers in the junior school and includes typical childhood activities such as playing hopscotch and hide and seek, jumping on the bed and telling jokes, as well as more complex activities such as baking a cake, going fishing and toasting marshmallows.

Heather said the school was always looking at ways to broaden a child’s experience.

She said: “When we put the list together we were thinking, what would help?

“We were looking at it from the point of what parents could do to help their child before they come into school.

“These are the sort of things where if children have had these experiences before they start, they can build on these experiences at school.”

Heather said sensory experiences such as building a sandcastle or dancing in the rain are particularly crucial in helping children’s brains to develop.

She said: “The brain is the most malleable before the age of five. The more a child has done using all the senses, the more the brain is making these important connections.

“You can find that a child has never been to a beach before to go rock pooling, or built a bonfire.

“We have lost the awareness that these sort of things can really help with stimulating these pathways and connections in the brain.

“These things are actually very important.

“You can look at animals on an iPad but it’s not the same as stroking a dog.”

Heather said the list of activities will also help children with their literacy skills, as they will learn new ways to articulate their experiences.

She said: “The greatest amount of language acquisition happens before a child reaches the age of five.

“The greater their range of experiences, the greater their grasp of language will be.

“If a child can talk about what they did they will eventually be able to write about what they did.

“If a child has made a scrap book for example, which is on our list, it can help them understand their place in history.

“It gives them a mechanism to draw upon, as well as early writing experiences.

“Riding the top deck of a bus literally gives a child a different perspective of life.

“It’s about stimulating these pathways in the brain and making them connect.”

Heather said certain items in the list also help children to learn to follow instructions, which is an important skill for when they arrive at school.

Practical activities like making a smoothie and growing a plant are designed to allow children to see what they can achieve, while outdoor activities like feeding the ducks, rolling down a hill and making mud pies are intended to broaden sensory experiences.

Heather said: “A child of this age will not be doing a lot of these things on their own, so engaging in talking with a parent or carer is also key.

“It’s the sensory nature in a lot of these experiences which are important, like the feeling of a sponge when washing a car, or learning to skim a stone.

“These are the sort of things that parents can do which are worth their weight in gold, as good habits will carry on through life.”

To see the school’s full list of 50 things every girl should do before the age of five, go to