2011 media release


8 July 2011
New research from Savlon and Play England reveals two thirds of parents always had adventures outdoors as a child but worry their children do not have the same opportunities today.

Many of parent’s fondest childhood memories are of playing outside, however, outdoor activities that for parents were part of growing up seem to be in danger of disappearing:

  • 42 per cent of children report they have never made a daisy chain
  • 32 per cent have never climbed a tree
  • A quarter of children today have never had the simple pleasure of rolling down a hill
  • 47 per cent of adults built dens every week as a child, yet 29 per cent of today’s children say they have never built a den at all
  • A third of children have never played hopscotch
  • One in ten children have never ridden a bike

The research confirms parents’ concerns that children are no longer spending their time playing outdoors. 72 per cent of adults played outside rather than indoors, compared to 40 per cent of children today, with children now at risk of losing out on essential childhood experiences that outdoor play brings.

The research marks the launch of Playday, supported by Savlon. To celebrate the national day for play on 3 August 2011, nationwide events are being held across the UK to encourage families to get outdoors and play.

Austin Healey, ex-England rugby star and father of four daughters under the age of ten, says: ‘Encouraging my daughters to behave like children – exploring, discovering and creating, reminds me of the joys of my childhood and are experiences I want them to enjoy. Hunting around the trees in our local park, learning to ride a bike or just leaving them to make up their own outdoor games is an important part of growing up.”

Catherine Prisk, Co-Director of Play England, said: “Playing outside, getting muddy, climbing trees and making daisy chains are simple pleasures that many of today’s children are missing out on. Play – outside and indoors – is essential for children’s health, well-being and happiness now, and is also important for their future development, to build vital life and social skills. It’s important that we overcome the barriers to outdoor play by addressing parents’ safety concerns, protecting and making the most of outdoor spaces in our communities and acknowledging the pressures on family time. For families, simply building a little time to play in the fresh air every day is a great start.”

7 out of 10 parents feel that taking their children to an outside space to play is a real treat and children feel the same, with a reported 59 per cent that wish they could play outside in natural places more.

Over a third of parents claim their fondest memories of play were making up their own games, proof that outdoor play doesn’t need to be costly or structured. To take the first step, get out and play on Playday. For ideas and to locate one of hundreds of outdoor community play events taking place across the UK, go to www.savlon.co.uk.

Playday is the national day for play in the UK, a celebration of children’s right to play and a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. The campaign is coordinated by Play England, part of the leading children’s charity the National Children’s Bureau, working in partnership with Play Wales, PlayBoard Northern Ireland and Play Scotland. Visit www.playday.org.uk for more information.


For more information or interviews, please contact:

3 Monkeys Communications

Charlotte Spencer: 020 7009 3127 / charlotte.spencer@3-monkeys.co.uk

Alexis Bicknell: 020 7009 3133 / alexis.bicknell@3-monkeys.co.uk


Notes to editors

Research was carried out by OnePoll in June 2011 for Savlon, amongst 2,000 parents with children under 16 years old in the UK and 2,000 children between the age of 6 and 15.

About Savlon

Savlon is the UK’s leading antiseptic first aid brand and has been providing parents with everything they need to treat their child’s minor injuries for over 50 years 1. Savlon continues to lead the way in developing a range of products that help to cleanse, treat and protect. For further information visit www.savlon.co.uk.

About Playday

Playday is the national day for play, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. As well as an annual celebration of children’s right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. Playday is coordinated by Play England, part of leading children’s charity the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), working in partnership with PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play Scotland and Play Wales. On Playday thousands of children and young people get out to play at hundreds of locally organised celebrations – from small-scale neighbourhood get-togethers to large-scale public events.

About Play England

Play Englandis part of the leading national children’s charity NCB, and campaigns for all children to have the freedom and space to play throughout childhood. As the national organisation for children’s play, Play England works with all those who have an impact on children’s lives to support and champion play as an essential part of childhood. For further information or to talk to a media spokesperson, call 020 7843 6045 or 07721 097033 or visit www.playengland.org.uk.

The National Children’s Bureau’s (NCB) mission is to advance the well-being of all children and young people across every aspect of their lives. As the leading national charity which supports children, young people and families, and those who work with them, across England and Northern Ireland, we focus on identifying and communicating high impact, community and family-centred solutions. We work with organisations from across the voluntary, statutory and private sectors through our membership scheme and through the sector-led specialist networks and partnership programmes that operate under our charitable status www.ncb.org.uk.

1. February MAT 2011.