Dairylea Simple Fun campaign and report launched

Today sees the launch of the Dairylea Campaign for Simple Fun and the Dairylea Simple Fun Report.  The report, written by me to support the campaign, highlights the value of taking a simpler approach to play, and the steps that parents, and society as a whole, can take to ensure that today’s children have a healthy diet of childhood experience.

My report shows that children today lead much more complicated lives than their parents did when they were young: lives that are increasingly dominated by technology and social, media and academic pressures. Yet what children and parents want is the chance for children to have some some simple fun: to be with their friends, play games, get out of doors and have the chance to choose for themselves what they want to do.

Some key findings:

  • 84% of parents think childhood today is more complicated than in previous generations.
  • 74% of parents think technology plays too big a part in play, and 58% say they are concerned about the amount of time children spend in front of a screen.
  • More than half (57%) of nine year olds are restricted to within sight of their home, with 29% unable to venture out of the grounds – yet almost half of parents (44%) admitted to playing in secret dens in wooded areas and local parks when they were young.
  • Nearly two-thirds of children (62%) say their favourite person to play with is a friend of a similar age, yet over a third (36%) only get to see their friends outside of school once every 2 weeks or less.
  • When children were given a choice of activities that they would like to do more often, the most popular choice (chosen by 54% of children) was to play on their bikes or wheeled toys.

(Based on a representative sample of 1000 children aged 5 – 11, and 1000 parents with children of that age range)

In response to these trends, the report offers ideas and insights for parents on how to take a simpler, more relaxed, more fun approach to play, while recognising the realities of life for parents in the 21st century.

The campaign, backed by Radio 1 DJ and celebrity mum Sara Cox, asks parents to revive their childhood memories and games on Facebook. There is also the chance to win one of three monthly £4,000 prizes to create more opportunities for simple fun, as part of the Dairylea Community Fund. To find out more, head for the Dairylea Facebook page.

Update 25 Feb 2014: broken links removed.

17 responses to “Dairylea Simple Fun campaign and report launched

  1. Great stuff. Fantastic report, really like the idea of Dairylea taking us back to basics!

  2. Thanks Susie – glad you like it!

  3. Very interesting research Tim. Would be great to put this up as a news item on the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom website.

  4. Gilly Robinson

    An excellent report! I’m only half way through it, but am so glad I came across it (via a SW Learning Outside the Classroom link). I hadn’t realised how much shorter some children have at lunchtimes now (seems my daughter – admittedly aged 12 and at secondary school, though that’s no valid excuse – gets only 35 minutes! How on earth are you supposed to give the mind a break, and nourish the body both physically and with sustenance in just over half an hour?).

    Fingers crossed the report gets read by those most in a position to be able to do something about it… oops, guess that’s us parents!

    • Thanks Gilly – I want the report to bring home to *everyone* how profound these changes have been. Not just to parents, but to politicians and decision-makers too. Who decided schools should have shorter break times? I don’t think it was parents!

  5. Pingback: No time to be bored? Wartime childhoods, the long summer holidays, gnomes, wartime children’s books and gardens: Boy’s Own Paper stuff! from the wartime garden update August 2011 « Worldwarzoogardener1939's Blog

  6. worldwarzoogardener1939

    Dear Tim
    Thanks for your Dairylea Simple Fun report – I was chatting about this to Sue ‘Toxic Childhood’ Palmer and I have mentioned / pingbacked (!?) it in my World War Zoo gardens project at Newquay Zoo wartime garden blog http://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com. Its bumper summer holiday August post is all about how 1940s children spent their long long summers. Good Boys Own Paper and Just William stuff with mud!
    Best wishes, Mark Norris World War Zoo gardens project at Newquay Zoo

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