In the Netherlands, Nickelodeon Goes Off the Air for a Day to Encourage Outdoor Play

It’s the National Day of Play in the Netherlands – and we’ve got new stats on Dutch kids’ play habits.

June 14th is the Netherlands’ tenth annual National Day of Play, sponsored by Nickelodeon. To celebrate, the channel will go dark for the day to encourage children to go outdoors and have fun.

To learn more about local play habits in advance of the event, Nickelodeon commissioned an online survey of 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12 in the Netherlands. Here are key findings from this study:

Virtually all Dutch parents agree that playing outdoors is good for children. Almost unanimously, parents surveyed believe that outdoor play is important for kids’ health and development (98%), that it makes their kids happy (95%) and that it’s good for them socially (96%).

Kids’ after-school outdoor play companions are mostly neighbors and classmates. When children in the Netherlands play outside after school, it’s most often with kids in their neighborhood (60%) and classmates (60%). Just under half (45%) play with siblings.

Most Dutch parents feel their neighborhood is pretty safe, but they’re not optimistic about the future. For 61% of parents surveyed, their neighborhood feels “pretty safe” for their children to play outdoors. About 3 in 10 (29%) rate their neighborhood as “very safe” for outdoor play – a figure that drops to 22% among parents in big cities. They seem to think their safety is in decline, with 84% of parents saying their neighborhood was safer 10 years ago and 67% expecting it to be even less safe 10 years from now.

Close to a third of parents feel their local options for outdoor play are lacking. For 29% of parents in the Netherlands, the facilities for their children to play outside are seen as insufficient. And for 22%, the existing play locations in their neighborhood are perceived to be of poor quality.

There are rewards for parents when kids play outside. Nearly three-quarters of Dutch parents (72%) said they have a moment of calm and peace when their children play outdoors.