Marginal Revolution: Why are we organizing our kids so much?: "Since 1995, the portion of children ages 7 to 11 who swim, fish or play touch football has declined by about a third. Canoeing and water skiing are down by similar amounts.
The relationship between kids and their bikes is especially telling. In 1995, 68% of children ages 7 to 11 rode a bike at least six times a year. Last year, only 47% did. The sales of children's bikes fell from 12.4 million in 2000 to 9.8 million in 2004, a 21% decline, according to Bicycle Industry and Retailer News,an industry magazine...
Children today tend to get outdoor exercise by appointment. "
This quote and analysis comes from USA Today , but they don't look closely enough at what I think is the bigger issue: kids today spend 6-8 hours a day watching TV during the school year. The most popular show among kids isn't on one of the 14 TV networks devoted to kids: it's American Idol. If you take away that TV watching (which we do), they have plenty of time for both organized activity and free playtime.