Bluebell Wood

Cotton Wool Parenting means Outdoor Play is in Decline

We are huge fans of outdoor play, in fact we always joke that we have outdoor children as they don’t cope well with being cooped up indoors.

Shocking new research by Sudocrem, which surveyed 2,000 UK parents, found that 62% think that parents today are more over- protective of their children than previous generations.

Studies have shown that the number of children who participate in outdoor play has been dramatically decreasing over the last four decades. Children of this generation spend less than 5 hours playing outside per week, in comparison with 11 hours per week for their parents’ generation.

I was born in the 70’s and remember playing outside for hours. My Mum let us out the house in the morning and our only stipulation was that we were home by 5pm for dinner. I remember playing on building sites, at the park, on the beach etc and all on our own steam. I am lucky that we live somewhere where the kids can play outside safely, although I won’t let them wander the distance that we used to and they have to stay in sight of the house.

Children now are spending at least 6.5 hours a day in front of a screen which equates to nearly two days’ worth of screen watching every week. It also comes as no surprise, therefore, that levels of childhood obesity have tripled in the last 25 years, with one in three children classified as overweight.

Wii U

Now we are not perfect, we have screen time and Isaac especially loves to play on the Wii U or on Mathletics on the computer, but we do make sure we have outdoor time too and have a rule where the kids get an hour of screentime in return for an hour outside, although they often spend a lot more time outside.

Farmer Palmers

Child psychologist Dr. Lindsay Ip explains, “Children today are more used to immediate gratification from technology and digital games than active, creative play in the outdoors and connection to humans and nature. That’s why we have a responsibility as a society to encourage our children to get outside and play. It’s important for their health and educational development.”

Farmer Palmers

The research from Sudocrem explores reasons to which parents attribute their children not playing outdoors. Over half (57%) of parents believe it was safer to play outside when they were younger and over a third (35%) believe it was less of an issue for a child to be injured after playing outdoors when they were young than there is now.

Stepping Stones

The worry that a child may bump their head or scrape their knee whilst outside playing seems to be driving parents to abandon the great outdoors and instead wrap their children up in cotton wool. Friends often make a joke that I carry a first aid kit around with me everywhere, but it has come in very handy on numerous occasions. I learned my lesson in not carrying one when Kian broke his arm and I had to fashion a sling out of a baby blanket.


Play More, supported by an educational grant by Sudocrem, is set to reverse this trend. The national campaign is reiterating the importance of outdoor play in pre-school children. And encouraging them to do just that: play more.

Sudocrem’s Brand Manager, Nick Lang said, “Children love outdoor play but they’re bound to get stung by stinging nettles and scrape their knees. This is all part of the learning process for parents as well as children. A cuddle and a tub of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream can make a lot of things better. We’ve been healing skin for generations and we’re proud to promote the spirit of adventure with Play More.”

Play More are offering the chance for 10 nurseries across the country to win either £500 to renovate their outdoor play area or £500 worth of Play More toy equipment.

One nursery that has supported outdoor play since the early 20th century times is Rachel McMillan Nursery School in Greenwich, London. Established over 100 years ago, it was the country’s first ‘open air’ nursery. This ethos continues today, no matter the weather.

“We’ve known for more than a century that letting children learn through playing outdoors feeds their imaginations and stimulates mental and physical development”, says Theresa Lane, Headteacher of Rachel McMillan Nursery School, consistently rated Outstanding by Ofted, “I’m happy to support any campaign that encourages children to spend more time outside exploring and understanding their environment, whether that’s a city centre or a muddy field.”

If you think your child’s nursery could do with improving their outdoor facilities, go to and nominate.Playmore

Ringstead Bay

A Winters Day at Ringstead Bay

As a family we have challenged ourselves to visit every beach in Dorset and we made a good start in 2015 by ticking off Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, Swanage, Portland, Charmouth, West Bay, Lyme Regis, Kimmeridge Bay and Burton Bradstock as well as the 7 miles of beach we have in our home town of Bournemouth.

Yesterday we headed to the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth and had planned to go up in the Sea Life Tower too but sadly it was closed. I was going to take the kids onto the beach in Weymouth but as we drove in I remembered seeing a sign for Ringstead Bay, somewhere which had been recommended to me but we hadn’t yet visited, so we headed back out-of-town in search of somewhere new to visit.

Ringstead Bay lies on the Jurassic Coast and is known for its natural beauty and fossils. The car park is a short walk from the beach and as we rounded the corner of the path to get a view of the beach it was a real “WOW” moment.

Ringstead Bay

Ringstead Bay has a pebble and shingle beach with some sand and Sebby wasn’t sure at first as the shingle was quite tricky to walk on, however he soon found his balance and headed down towards the water where they all threw pebbles into the water to make different sounds.

Ringstead Bay

There was lots of seaweed and other debris washed up on the beach thanks to the recent storms and we found a couple of mermaids purses, but Eliza was far more interested in spinning around and using the seaweed like a gymnasts ribbon.

We then headed around the corner and down the wooden steps to another section of the beach. This was framed by clay cliffs and the kids were fascinated by the soft texture of the clay which was dotted along the beach. We didn’t find any fossils as I didn’t want the kids too close to the cliffs as they are unstable because of the amount of rain we have had recently.

Ringstead Bay

We spent a good two hours exploring the bay and playing on the beach. We even spotted a couple of Cormorants on top of a pole who appeared to be having an in-depth conversation with each other.

Ringstead Bay

It was a lovely afternoon by the sea and we certainly be back when it is warmer as there is a small outcrop of rock which appears when the tide is low which we want to explore. We could just make it out as waves were breaking over it.

Ringstead Bay

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Bournemouth Air Festival

Saturday is Caption Day – 22nd August 2015

Good Morning and welcome to this weeks #satcap.

If you have not taken part before please come and join in. Simply find a funny / cheeky / captionable photo and upload it to your blog with a sentence or three about it. Then link it up with me below and visit the other people who link up and have a giggle as you come up with some humourous captions!

There is a badge in my sidebar too if you would like to use it and please share your posts using the hashtag #satcap

This week is one of my favourite times to live in Bournemouth as it’s our annual air festival. We adore seeing the aircraft put through their paces but being able to play in the sea and the sand adds to the fun.

Yesterday was a complete wash-out but today we made the most of the sunshine and met up with family to enjoy the show.

Can you caption this?

Bournemouth Air Festival

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