Why Dirt Is Good

The freedom to play, explore and get dirty isn’t just fun for your kids today – it’s essential for their future.

Our research

Leading experts have noted that the time that children have for exploratory, hands-on play – the kind where they go out and get dirty – is worryingly on the decline, and that as a result today’s children risk losing out on learning essential skills that will set them up for the future.

To understand the issue Persil has conducted a new piece of global research – a survey of more than 12,000 parents of 5-12 year olds in 10 countries around the world* - to understand how parents feel about play and what their own children’s lives are like.

Here’s what we found in the UK:

·         Outdoor play isn’t happening: Almost a third of children play outside for 30 minutes or less a day and one in five don’t play outside at all on an average day. Children spend twice as much time on screens inside as they do playing outside

·         Parents can see there is an issue: Nearly two thirds of parents believe that their children play outside less than children did in their generation. Parents agree that we must rebalance children’s lives as they are losing access to the types of play that have great benefit for their wellbeing – and 97 per cent believe that without play, their children’s learning would suffer.

This is why we’re launching our dirt is good movement. We want parents to join us here and, as the ultimate experts, in child development, tell us what you think.

* Research was conducted by Edelman Berland, an independent market research firm. Fieldwork was conducted in February and March 2016 in US, Brazil, UK, Turkey, Portugal, South Africa, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and India.


Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson’s award-winning work on creativity in education makes him a natural advocate for our movement. His belief that outdoor play and its benefits are “vital for education” and “vital for our families” resonates with our belief that playful children grow into great people.

Dr Stuart Brown

Dr Stuart Brown

Dr Stuart Brown is a world-renowned expert on the importance of physical play in child development who believes children’s “immersion in the outdoors” and “in dirt” is “important for their long-term health and wellbeing”.


Play News

Learning by doing and outdoor play are hot topics when it comes to a child’s development. Here’s where you can see the conversation in action.