The best things about being a child include building dens, jumping in puddles, climbing trees – and dressing up.
A study of 1,000 children under 11 found getting presents, feeling loved by parents and school holidays are also considered the greatest things.
Those of primary school age also named riding their bike, playing traditional party games and using playdough as their favourite things.
It also emerged that while more than seven in 10 children are looking forward to growing up, they are apprehensive about things being ‘less fun’.
And of the 1,000 parents who were also polled, 88 per cent miss their childhood years.
Deena Billings, head of quality for Busy Bees Childcare, which carried out the research to mark its nationwide Enrolment events on 18th January, said: “It was a joy to research the best things about being a child.
“We aim to give children the best start in life and we’re delighted to reveal the little things that make being a child so special.
“The nation’s children have spoken up about why being young is so brilliant, and it’s clear that the freedom to express yourself and imagine without restriction doesn’t come naturally in adulthood.
“As early as the age of two and three, children find their own voices and their own interests, and good nursery and school environments help them to grow and flourish through fun experiences and fantastic opportunities.”
The study also found the anticipation of Christmas, family holidays and days out with school or nursery all leave children feeling excited.
Others voted building sandcastles, feeding the ducks and making paper aeroplanes as some of the best activities.
Building towers, creating things out of empty boxes and getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy also feature in the top 40 list.
Of the parents polled, via OnePoll, 35 per cent miss not having to work, 41 per cent long for a time with no bills to pay and a four in 10 want to go back to a time when they had no financial worries.
Interestingly, parents miss playing traditional party games like ‘Simon Says’ (26 per cent), watching TV after school (25 per cent) and spending more time outdoors (24 per cent).
But reassuringly, more than eight in 10 children still believe their own parents are child-like in many ways, as they like to dance around and use silly voices when reading.
Six in 10 children say mum and dad enjoy playing games with them, 44 per cent get super excited about holidays and 21 per cent even let their hair down for a food fight every now and again.
And 81 per cent of youngsters polled claim their parents often tell them to make the most of every moment of being a child, because it won’t last forever.
Deena Billings for Busy Bees Childcare added: “The great thing about being a parent, is that you get to re-live being a child all over again.
“Suddenly you have a reason to do all those things you loved doing when little – like building sandcastles, jumping in puddles, and building dens.
“Nurseries can teach children how to use their imaginations, and can encourage their development through learn through play activities and experiences.
“To bring our findings to life and allow adults to re-live one of the best parts of being young, we’re inviting parents and their children to help us break the world record attempt for the most families building dens on 18 January at our Enrolment open days.
“We hope families will take this opportunity to re-live their youth and encourage their children to enjoy one of the best things about being a child.”
To find your nearest participating Busy Bees nursery and take part in the record attempt on Enrolment Day (18th January), visit: busybees.com/ed
BEST THINGS ABOUT BEING A CHILD
1. Getting presents at Christmas
2. Feeling loved by your parents
3. Being really excited about Christmas
4. School holidays
5. Being really excited about birthdays
6. Being outdoors
7. Having lots of friends
8. Making dens
9. Jumping in puddles
10. Everything is fun
11. Getting to explore
12. Riding your bike
13. Watching TV as soon as you got in from school
14. Trying new things
15. Getting a visit from the tooth fairy after losing a tooth
16. Getting treats whenever the grandparents came round
17. Having birthday parties with the whole class
18. Always having energy
19. Days out with school or nursery
20. Playing traditional party games – musical statues, musical bumps, Simon Says
21. Playing games whenever and for however long you wanted
22. Going to water parks on holiday
23. Not having to work
24. Building sandcastles
26. Having a great imagination
27. Making new friends easily
28. Making paper aeroplanes
29. Playing with playdough
30. Playing with your siblings
31. Feeding ducks in the park
32. Playing dress-up whenever you want (not only on Halloween)
33. Being free to climb trees
34. The excitement of hearing the ice-cream van
35. Going on roller coasters
36. Using an empty box to create countless games
37. Getting piggy backs
38. Asking any questions you like, to anyone you want
39. The excitement of riding public transport – trains, buses etc
40. Being carried to bed by your parents