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Before they're lost - Is it time to reintroduce traditional kids’ games? Top 20!

By Nigel Booth
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 12:35 pm

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Children flying a kite (photo: adobe)
Children flying a kite (photo: adobe)

Good old fashioned games that get kids involved

Researchers polled the nation’s parents and revealed a list of long-standing games and activities that modern kids are clueless about, with more than a third (36 per cent) having never played the classic game of tag.

Other traditional games that have fallen by the wayside include Grandmother’s Footsteps (91 per cent), Leapfrog (81 per cent), British Bulldogs (79 per cent), games of conkers (66 per cent) and Piggy in the Middle (56 per cent).

The poll, which was commissioned by Persil as part of it’s Dirt Is Good campaign, also found that three quarters (76 per cent) of modern kids have never made a rope swing and 72 per cent have never played stuck in the mud, while 72 per cent don’t know what pooh sticks is.

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    Meanwhile seven in ten kids (71 per cent) have never enjoyed a traditional summer game of rounders and 69 per cent have never been on a scavenger hunt.

    The research of 1,000 parents of five to 12 year-olds reveals that it’s been three months since the average UK child got muddy while playing outside.

    And almost four in ten (37 per cent) parents say their kids find gaming far more exciting than the outdoors.While over half (54 per cent) of parents say they find it hard to balance their children’s love of online gaming with time spent being outside.

    In fact 57 per cent of the parents polled confess their kids have no real connection to nature or the great outdoors.

    And a fifth of parents (22 per cent) admit they worry that their child’s lack of connection to nature means they will struggle to understand how important it is to protect the environment.

    In response to this Persil created an elaborate hoax with gaming influencers in a bid to harness the power of this virtual community and show kids that playing traditional games can be just as interesting as the virtual counterparts.

    A team of six influential gamers were led to believe they were getting an exclusive look at the latest game release, a sports simulation game called TAG.

    However, as they streamed the trailer to their millions of followers on Twitch and Instagram, faces dropped when they realised the trailer was for the real-life outdoor traditional game of tag – “only available in real life”. See https://youtu.be/w0wINrU1jkE for more.

    The fake game release from Persil comes in response to 47 per cent of parents feeling as though their kids don’t spend enough time outside.

    Unilever Dirt Is Good Marketing Vice President Tati Lindenberg said: “Getting dirty outdoors is so important for the development of children and their relationship with nature. We believe that a child has to build a connection with the natural world in order to care for it.

    “We were shocked to find some of these beloved games, that were such a staple of past generations, are practically on the verge of disappearing.

    “We wanted to engage with the gaming community and rally support behind encouraging children to head back outside and play. Nobody should be able to resist a game of muddy tag,”

    The study also found that nine in ten adults (93 per cent) say they got more fresh air when they were the same age as their kids and a further four in ten (42 per cent) that they were more in tune with nature than their children are.

    Traditional children’s games and activities that modern kids have never experienced ...

    1. Grandmother’s footsteps – 91 per cent

    2. Building a treehouse – 87 per cent

    Building a treehouse (photo: adobe)

    3. Leapfrog – 81 per cent

    Playing leapfrog (photo: adobe)

    4. Making a rope swing – 76 per cent

    Making a rope swing (photo: adobe)

    5. Stuck in the mud – 72 per cent

    6. Playing Pooh Sticks – 72 per cent

    The traditional game of Pooh Sticks (photo: adobe)

    7. Rounders – 71 per cent

    8. Making mud pies – 70 per cent

    9. Going rock pooling – 70 per cent

    10. Scavenger hunt – 69 per cent

    11. Playing conkers – 66 per cent

    Conkers disappearing as a children's game (photo: adobe)

    12. Camping – 66 per cent

    13. Building a den in the woods – 65 per cent

    14. Pick up sticks – 65 per cent

    15. Flying a kite – 60 per cent

    Children flying a kite is fast disappearing (photo: adobe)

    16. Looking for worms in the garden – 59 per cent

    17. Piggy in the middle – 56 per cent

    18. Climbing trees – 45 per cent

    19. Tag – 36 per cent

    20. Going on bike rides – 33 per cent.