Forestry Commission logo
NEWS RELEASE No: 1658517 MAY 2016

It’s not game over for kids today, as gadgets lose out to the great outdoors

Stickman Games

Playing pooh sticks, building dens and exploring the forest are still more popular with kids than TV, gaming and tablets, according to a new survey – proving the digital revolution is still no match for the lure of the great outdoors.

A survey by Forestry Commission England – to coincide with the launch of the Stick Man Games – has challenged any fears about the gadget loving generation being permanently attached to their electronic devices, as 84 per cent of 1,300 parents said their children (under 10s) prefer to play outdoors than use their computers, games consoles or watch TV.

The Stick Man Games take place throughout June, alongside the popular activity trails organised by Forestry Commission England in conjunction with Magic Light Pictures. Based on the much-loved book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the Stick Man Games give families the chance to take part in a range of fun forest sporting activities with their favourite book character.

Between June and September guests will have the chance to meet Stick Man at selected sites and will have the opportunity to take part in an action packed sports day. Visitors will enjoy everything from a twig baton relay race, to a fantaSTICK obstacle course!

Alongside the Stick Man Games there is also lots of stick-themed excitement to be had in our self-led activity arenas at thirteen sites. Players’ skills will be tested in a variety of exciting games; with everything from giant pick-up sticks, to noughts and crosses and a ring toss!

A free Stick Man Games activity pack can be downloaded from the Forestry Commission website, which gives families everything they need to host their own Stick Man Games this summer. The pack is full of fun stick-themed games and activities, plus warm up exercises, bib template, scoresheet, and cut-out medals and certificates for the champions.

Contrary to popular belief, an overwhelming 92 per cent of children shun their gadgets while exploring the forest and prefer to play with the natural items they come across on their woodland walk.

Fans of the Stick Man book won’t be surprised to learn that a stick was voted as the most popular ‘woodland toy’ with two-thirds (68 per cent) of parents naming the twiggy companion as the item their children mostly play with in the forest. This mirrors the Stick Man story, which follows the journey of the title character, as he goes on an epic adventure across the seasons and is taken further from home after being picked up by children, parents and animals.

Traditional outdoor past-times still play a major part in childhood experiences, according to three-quarters (76 per cent) of parents. Despite modern children getting lots of fresh air while exploring their local forest or woodland – with 88 per cent playing outdoors for more than five hours per week – more than half (54 per cent) of parents believe their children aren’t playing outside as much as they did themselves when they were younger.
Katy David, Stick Man Games Champion at Forestry Commission England, commented:

“Kids get a hard time sometimes because they’re often accused of not spending enough time outdoors and being glued to their gadgets. This survey however reminds that the under 10s love playing outside and getting close to nature. We shouldn’t be too concerned about how much time they’re spending on their electronic devices and be pleased they’re enjoying the same traditional outdoor experiences that we loved as children, which fuels their imaginations and gives them lots of exercise.

“We’re not surprised by these results, as we see thousands of families exploring our forests each year. Almost a third (31 per cent) of parents in our survey said they visit local forests every month, with 73 per cent spending between 2-4 hours there, demonstrating the appeal that the great outdoors has for people of all ages.

“Following the success of the Stick Man trails at 24 Forestry Commission sites, we’re now launching the Stick Man Games to encourage even more families to have fun with nature and enjoy exercising. Fans of this classic children’s book will love joining Stick Man on this exciting sporting adventure through the woods. The sports events can be hosted at home or in your nearest woodland by using our free Stick Man Games activity pack – you might even find a special event at your local forest and win a medal!”

For further details of the six Stick Man Games, seven activity arenas, trails and free downloadable activity sheets, please visit


Notes to Editor
For more information and to request images, please contact:
Rebecca Ulewicz at the Forestry Commission on 0300 0674170 or email

1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at

2. About Magic Light Pictures
Magic Light Pictures makes imaginative entertainment for audiences, families and children worldwide.

They create high quality films and products and have built the wonderful Gruffalo brand over many years. Their film-making includes feature films such as animation Chico & Rita, comedy thriller Wild Target and natural history documentary One Life.

The company directly manages production, licensing, global distribution and marketing.  Magic Light has sold its Oscar and BAFTA-nominated half-hour animated films, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, to over 80 broadcasters worldwide.  It runs an international merchandising programme with over 40 licensees and 250 products.  In 2012, the company launched Room on the Broom – based on the best-selling book by Donaldson and Scheffler – with a Bafta and International Emmy-winning half-hour animation and a growing range of merchandise.

For further information about the new Stick Man film produced by Magic Light Pictures, please contact Faber & Bishopp PR -  Steph Faber –  Tamara Bishopp –

3. About Stick Man
Stick Man tells the story of the eponymous character who lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three. The story follows Stick Man as he goes on an epic adventure across the seasons and is taken further and further from home, as he runs from a playful dog, gets thrown in a river, escapes from a swan’s nest and even ends up on top of a fire. Will he get back to his family in time for Christmas?

Stick Man was first published in 2008 by Alison Green Books, an imprint of Scholastic Children’s Books.

Stick Man was made into an award winning animation by Magic Light Pictures, which premiered on BBC One on Christmas Day 2015.

About Scholastic
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of print and digital instructional materials for pre-K to grade 12, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. The Company creates quality books and ebooks, print and technology-based learning materials and programs, classroom magazines and other products that, in combination, offer schools customized and comprehensive solutions to support children’s learning both at school and at home. The Company also makes quality, affordable books available to all children through school-based book clubs and book fairs. With a 95 year history of service to schools and families, Scholastic continues to carry out its commitment to "Open a World of Possible" for all children. Learn more at Folow on Twitter @scholasticuk

4. Stick Man Trails

Stick Man trails across England

Stick Man Games Events

Stick Man Games Activity Arenas (Throughout June unless stated otherwise)

Alice Holt

Dalby Forest – 4 June

Cannock Chase

Bedgebury Pinetum / Forest

Haldon Forest – 16 June


Cannock Chase

Wyre Forest – 17 June

Wendover Woods

Dalby Forest

Grizedale Forest – 26 June

Whinlatter Forest Park

Delamere Forest

Gisburn Forest – 29 June-31 July

Fineshade Woods

Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean

High Lodge – 22 September

New Forest show – 26-28 July



Sherwood Forests – July event

Haldon Forest Park



Hicks Lodge



High Lodge, Thetford Forest






Whinlatter Forest Park



Cardinham Woods






Haughmond Hill



Kielder Forest



Moors Valley Country Park



Salcey Forest



Top Lodge, Fineshade



Wendover Woods



Wyre Forest



Guisborough Forest






Thames Chase