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A young boy and a girl hugging in a park.

Why Dirt is Good

Key findings from the Dirt Is Good report on child development

Here are some stats from the Dirt Is Good research, that we found particularly interesting:


Almost half of children aged 5 to 12 spend just over an hour on real play per day. This is one third less time that their parents spent at that age, a drop of 36 per cent in a single generation.


1 in 4 children today say that their favourite activity is climbing a tree, compared to 1 in 2 parents when they were the same age.


7 in 10 parents wish their children played more traditional games like they did when they were a child such as climbing trees, playing in/or building a cubby house and getting muddy.


8 in 10 parents wish their children had the freedom to enjoy real play like they did growing up.


1 in 3 parents admit to ‘cotton wooling’ their child for fear of them getting hurt or getting dirty, while enjoying outdoor, real play activities.


9 in 10 children participate in extra-curricular activities each week such as ballet, music and tennis.


A third (33 per cent) of parents feel pressured to be the ‘perfect parent’ by other parents.

Table of favourite ‘real play’ activities enjoyed by kids versus parents today.

Real Play Activity

Tree climbing

Kids: 26%

Parents: 48%

Playing with neighbourhood kids

Kids: 42%

Parents: 73%

Building and/or playing in a cubby house

Kids: 34%

Parents: 54%

Making mud pies

Kids: 11%

Parents: 24%

Exploring and/or treasure hunting

Kids: 33%

Parents: 51%

Acting/playing out imaginary stories

Kids: 11%

Parents: 51%


Kids: 57%

Parents: 45%

Playing with a stick

Kids: 13%

Parents: 24%