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NEW RESEARCH: OUTDOOR PLAY IN DANGER OF DISAPPEARING

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.

Help us spread the word about the value of play

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

savlon@3-monkeys.co.uk

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