Friday, 20 April 2012

Bear Grylls, teams up with Persil to get kids back outside and learn forgotten childhood skills

Its a family story I was told often, when I about seven, I was bought a pram for my doll. It came already made up in a large cardboard box. I opened it up, was really pleased, then immediately asked if my Granny could make a Wendy house out of the box. It was duly made, then being one of those balmy summers that don't seem to happen now, I spent many weeks out in the garden with my friends.
We decorated it, made blankets over the washing lines so we could have more houses, ate Marmite fingers and passed the time away playing. The pram was not as popular as the cardboard box.  Its pretty sad to see the survey results below and read that today’s children are spending significantly less time than their parents did having adventures outside and, as a result, have missed out on learning the great outdoor skills that were once taken for granted. 

I played french skipping, two bally up a wall ( if I could ever remember how that went as I tried to teach it to Paige and failed), collected ladybirds and made dens for them, made my own dens.

Hill rolling was the best game ever, we had a local disused limestone quarry called the Hills and Holes (Hollows) that had grassed over, it was fabulous fun, going down at speed, to lay dizzy at the bottom, covered in muck and grass stains. I took Paige and Conor there but it is now a nature reserve and has rare plants growing. Still a marvellous place to run up and down, but alas hill rolling is bad for the plant life.

 The only days I remember being terribly bored were rainy Sundays as everything stopped and the best game was watching raindrops and guessing which of two drops would reach the bottom of the pane first.

How many kids miss out on these fun adventures because a lot of the play is ready made, often indoors where it is yes safer maybe less messy, but is just not as much of a childhood fun experience.

What do you remember playing as a child and how does it compare to your children's play now?

Persil has teamed up with the ultimate face of outdoor adventure and dad of three, Bear Grylls, to inspire families to shake off the constraints of modern life and remember some simple outdoor pleasures.

With that in mind, Persil and Bear have created a ‘Top Ten Things To Do Before You’re Ten’ handbook, designed to get kids playing, having fun and getting mucky!

Bear said: “It’s important to teach kids to enjoy some free and simple outdoor adventures. Soggy wellies, grassy knees and muddy hands should be part of growing up. Whether it’s using their imagination to play games outside or learning a new skill like building a den, I want more kids to enjoy outside activities and experience a bit of adventure!”
Persil are also giving 70 mud-loving kids (plus one friend each) the chance to win the ultimate day’s adventure with survival expert Bear Grylls. Building campfires, exploring nature trails, learning outdoor survival skills – the lucky winners will discover a range of action-packed activities throughout the day.
Simply buy any pack of Persil to be in with the chance of winning!

Find out more here
Bear Grylls’ Top Ten Things To Do Before You’re Ten

1. Perfect the perfect Hill Roll
2. Become a hide-and-seek champion
3. Go sledging- on sand
4. Build a den - indoors or out
5. Build a rope swing
6. Nurse that sting
7. Try and count the stars.
8. Make a mud pie
9. Make a compass
10. Pick your own pudding.

Over half of UK adults played outside everyday when they were young, compared to just 23% of kids today; a decline of almost half.
Activities such as hide and seek, hill-rolling and climbing trees should transcend the generation gap but, according to new research by Persil small and mighty, one in 10 under tens never play outside and a third stay indoors and rely on ready-made fun instead of making their own.

After school play has evolved from riding a bike (26% of parents) and playing sports (23% of parents), to playing computer games and watching TV - the most popular activities with children (31.5%). Only 14% play sports and just one in ten regularly ride a bike. Favourite characters to role-play during playtime have also changed, with almost a third of parents claiming they enjoyed acting out Cowboys and Indians, compared to a third of children who now prefer to role-play television characters such as Spiderman, Ben 10 and Dora the Explorer.


  1. This is a lovely idea :) Although 'make a compass' isn't necessarily something I'd have put in the top ten lol!

  2. I have fabulous memories of growing up "free". We'd be out from dawn until sadly dusk arrived. The whole street played skilly (hide & seek) with the lamp post outside our drive being the home base. I was lucky to have just fields around me & we would spent hours roaming them, think we must have cause some strange crop circles with our games though.
    Two /three ball was a favourite as well as elastic where we had a long piece of elastic that stretch between two end friends & then, starting at the ankles, we would work up until the top of the head jumping over scissor like singing something like "2,4,6,8 Mary at the garden gate......" Being an athletic girl I loved this & I'm proud to say I held the position of reaching the highest at junior school.
    I live in a street now with my five children always out & about, but with other kids that we see getting in to or out of the car from school & thats it, they are never out playing or joining in. So sad, but such is the pull of the games console I suppose.

  3. love the top 10 things - will need to work on them with my kids

  4. Looks like a really good initiative.

  5. My kids love getting out and about and dirty, so this is great for them. I have to say I wouldn't mind teaming up with Bear Grylls, lol