1976 was No1 year for kids, 2011 voted the worst

The best year to be a child was 1976 - and last year was the worst, a study says.

The long, hot summer of '76 saw kids out on Raleigh Chopper bikes, with parents working less and a family outing most months.

By comparison, 2011 had poor weather, half of kids spent time with their parents only at weekends and a third were banned from playing outside unsupervised.

Researchers asked 4,000 Brits aged 8 to 60 what made a perfect childhood year. High ranking factors included sunshine, outdoor play, feeling safe, family hols and time with parents and grandparents.

Kids in 1976 - the driest summer since 1772 - spent an average 810 hours outside, had ten weekend family trips, and saw grandparents 29 times. Ninety per cent felt safe.

Drought, inflation and strikes hit adults, but youngsters happily watched the first Muppet shows and sang along to Abba's Dancing Queen. In 2011, one in seven spent just 26 hours playing outside during the ENTIRE year. One in eight had no family trips and a third saw grandparents twice or less.

A spokesman for Rocky biscuits, which did the research, said: "We found 1976 was a simpler time. Conditions have never come together in the same way since".