Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Embracing Messy Outdoor Play With Persil

As a home educating parent, one of my biggest challenges is finding ways to keep my 3 boys entertained from the moment they wake up in the morning until the moment they go to sleep at night. With no school to break up the day, this can often seem like a daunting and difficult task!

Whilst I'm a firm believer in allowing children to get "bored" occasionally, as I think it benefits them when they have to come up with creative games and ways to pass the time on their own – without expecting to always have fun and entertainment provided for them. Often I find that my 5 year old son has a tendency to reach straight for the electronics once he finds himself at a loose end.

And although I'm fine with him having some screen time (I believe it's important for children to understand technology and how to use it, and he also uses some great educational apps) I do like to keep an eye on how long he's spending with his tablet compared to how much creative or imaginative play he's doing.

According to recent research by Persil, I'm not alone in the desire to ensure that screen time isn't taking over - with 62 per cent of British parents expressing that they wish their children would spend more time outside playing than using electronic devices.

The study revealed that, by age 7, children will have spent 2 years and 3 months of their lives in front of a screen. More than half of that time is ‘mindless’ screen time – spent without family or friends, in solitary, screen-based activities.

Parents reported that their children spend more than twice as much time in front of screens than playing outside – equating to 456 days of alone screen time by age of 7 versus 182 days of outdoor free play.

Those statistics are pretty eye opening and it's certainly made me more conscious of how often I give the boys their tablets to keep them occupied while I do some housework or get a job done. Although I'm in no way going to stop doing this altogether (we all need to get things done sometimes and screens are not the enemy!) all of these 30 minutes here and there throughout the day can really add up without us noticing.

To help us with getting a bit more creative in getting the boys outside to play, Persil kindly sent us a gift to get us started...a mud kitchen!
Now I'll be totally honest here, the thought of a mud kitchen isn't really something that fills me with glee!

I'm not a big fan of mess, but the look of delight on the boys faces when they saw their new toy was priceless and they could not wait to go outside and get stuck in!

To my amazement, the mud kitchen kept them entertained for HOURS despite the cold weather out in the garden - it was also such a great learning opportunity as they weighed and
measured out the mud they played with, experimented with adding water and different textures to it, and broadened their vocabularies as they sought out new words to describe the sounds the mud made in their hands.

The afternoon was full of giggles as the boys played together and came up with different games to play with the kitchen, and there was none of the usual bickering over whose turn it was on the iPad or what to watch on the TV - it was fab!

We've used the mud kitchen a few times since, using different materials like Play doh and Slime for the boys to experiment and play with and it's been a hit every time.
Of course, as most parents would appreciate, messy play is all well and good until you're dealing with the aftermath - trying to tidy it away and get the stains out of their clothes!

Alongside the mud kitchen, we were gifted a bottle of Persil Non Bio Liquid Detergent and I was intrigued to see how we'd get on with it once the boys had been let loose on the mud kitchen in their white t shirts! (If I'm going to do a challenge, I like to do it properly!)

I have to be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about whether it would actually work given the mess the boys managed to make so I decided to use the Stain Eraser Dosing Ball which comes free with all Persil Non Bio Liquid Detergent to pre-treat the stains before popping them in the wash.

It worked a treat, and the t-shirts looked as good as new. In fact I've used it since on other items on clothing including my own (I'm a sloppy eater and had to tackle a particularly nasty looking grease stain on a pyjama top!) and have found the stain removal with Persil Non Bio to be so effective that even a quick wash is sufficient to get the marks out most of the time.

So I guess that means I have no excuse not to keep up the outdoor play!

Because Persil recognise the importance of children playing and embracing dirt, they have been promoting the benefits of outdoor play for over a decade with their Dirt Is Good campaign.

As part of their commitment to helping children and parents to embrace dirt and outdoor play, they have collaborated with a series of initiatives to provide practical solutions to address this play imbalance.

Here are some of the ways you can get involved:

* England Rugby – Persil is the Official laundry supplier of England Rugby and will be helping to keep the famous white shirt pristine throughout the upcoming season. In addition, Persil will be supporting grassroots rugby, working with England rugby to celebrate families spending time outdoors

* parkrun – it is easier than ever to get the whole family enjoying the great outdoors with parkrun. As an official sponsor, Persil is helping to ensure there are hundreds of free
events that take place every weekend across the UK, go online at to find your local one

* Real Play Coalition – Persil, alongside IKEA, National Geographic and The LEGO Foundation created the Real Play Coalition – a movement that prioritises the importance of ‘real play’. Join us in our mission to make the world a more playful place by visiting and signing up for more information

To get involved in the Dirt is Good campaign or find out more about the products, go to

*This is a paid post

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