Research shows we are 'too afraid of getting dirty'
As parents it's common for us to worry about our kids, especially when it comes to letting them run loose and play outdoors. However, a recent study by the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH) has found that by over-protecting our children, we could be causing them to lose touch with friendly bacteria that help to build a strong immune system and stimulate their development in later life. That's why we think that Dirt Is Good!
Here at Persil we believe it's important for us to stop being afraid of getting dirty. As hygiene expert and author of the IFH report, Professor Bloomfield, explains, "one important thing we can do is to stop talking about 'being too clean' and get people thinking about how we can safely reconnect with the right kind of dirt."
For children, playing outside is important for healthy development. In our Persil "Children and Nature" research, we discovered that despite most parents admitting that experiencing nature is good for their child, 58% of parents are not enabling their kids to do it.
With this in mind, here are a few activity suggestions that will get the family outdoors and having fun together.
When you go to the beach, collect some shells, feathers, dried starfish, small pebbles, etc. Identify each if you can, and then display them in a wide necked jar or small bowl filled with water to keep them shiny.
Choose a day when there are some clouds in the sky. Lie on your back and as the clouds drift by make up a picture. It can be an animal, an object, a person, or anything you can think of. When you come back inside, try and draw what you saw. Find out what causes a cloud to form and share this with your child.
Touch and Tell
Fill a large bag with different objects that you and your child find on a walk. Tell your child to close their eyes and reach into the bag, feel the object, and name it. Can your child tell you more about it, where it comes from and what you can use it for?
The IFC study is called The Hygiene Hypothesis and its Implications For Home Hygiene, Lifestyle and Public Health. Download our 'Be a mum you can mess with' poster here.