We love being outdoors, in fact, try and keep my boys inside for a day and we all go a little stir crazy, they're just happier with dirt under their fingernails and muddy puddles beneath their feet. For me if we didn't get out and explore at some point over a weekend, I'd feel like I'd done not only them but myself a disservice, because everything just feels a little less stressful when we're outside. They can run, jump, scream, stomp and it doesn't feel half as alarming as it does when we're stuck inside the confines of four walls with the theme tune of peppa pig in the background. Outdoor play for us isn't an option, it's essential.

Persil recently conducted a survey in which it revealed that children by the age of seven have clocked up almost two years and three months of their lives facing a screen, half of which that time is spent completely alone without a family or friend, engaged in mindless screen time. Both me and John half gasped when we heard the figures, don't get me wrong I'm a huge lover of family movie night on a Sunday but those statistics definitely shocked me. I can see the benefits of screen time in small doses, there are educational apps and games, they are incredibly convenient too but I don't think there's anything that can be learnt in front of a screen that you can't learn in the big outdoors. My childhood was spent playing kirby, man hunt and riding around pretending to be taxis on our bikes with my older brother and sister. We couldn't wait to 'let our tea go down' so we could be off outside till it was bedtime, begging for just ten more minutes play. That seems worlds away from how so many children spend their evenings now.

I was a nursery nurse for almost six years, I even specialised in training on outdoor play so I know the benefits first hand. There is virtually no indoor games, that you can't turn into fun outside. Whilst it's pretty obvious that outdoor play is hugely beneficial to children's physical health and well-being, the benefits really just begin there. I only have to spend five minutes at the mud kitchen with my boys before they're telling me about the mud pies and snail soup they're dishing up for me, the imagination is endless - whilst their sense of a good meal might be a little off I know.

Outdoor play doesn't have to be all running races and swings at the park, simple things like a nature trail around the garden with a treasure map or good old fashioned hide and seek provide just as much fun too. I know how easy it is to place a little one in front of a screen, when you just want a minutes peace and especially during half terms when the days can feel endless sometimes. But I can promise you my two never sleep better than when they've got lungs full of fresh hair and rosy red cheeks from being outside.

Persil are really keen to help parents see the importance of children embracing dirt, and that's why they've been promoting outdoor play for over ten years now. They've got a long list of commitments to try and address the imbalance between outdoor play and screen time, as one part of their commitments they're sponsoring parkrun, so you can get the whole family active together, just simply hit their website to find out where to head.

*This is a post in collaboration with Persil, all opinions are my own.

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