Since the 1970s, kids have lost 12 hours a week in playtime, including a 50% drop in unstructured outdoor activities and less recess time in 40% of schools, according to Unilever’s “Wisk Active Play” study in 2003. Most mothers (97%) said reducing children’s stress is the No. 1 benefit of outdoor play and 82% said it enhances self-esteem. Moms blamed their children’s dependence on TV (more than four hours a day), computer games (10 hours a week) and lack of safe areas to play outside as reasons their children play outdoors less than previous generations. As children, 70% of moms played outside every day, compared to 31% of their children today, the study revealed.
Wisk also teamed up with baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. to launch the “America Needs Dirt” national public outreach campaign with tips, programs and information about the benefits of playing outdoors on www.AmericaNeedsDirt.com.