Nearly half of pre-schoolers not playing outside
April 2nd, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Nearly half of pre-schoolers not playing outside

The early childhood years are crucial for learning and development. That should involve a great deal of outdoor physical activity and playtime, but that's not always the case.

Nearly half of 3 to 5 year olds are not taken outdoors by a parent or caregiver every day, according to research presented in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine this week.

"There's a big room for improvement in how parents prioritize their time and what they're doing in the time they're spending with their pre-school children," said lead study author Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children's Research Institute.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children play outside as much as possible, for at least 60 minutes a day. Physical activity is not only good for weight control and preventing childhood obesity; previous research also suggests playing outside improves motor development, vision and vitamin D levels.

"There is evidence that play - just sort of the act of playing - is important for children's development of their social skills and their peer interactions," Tandon said.  "Being outdoors affords children an opportunity to play in ways that they may not get to when they're indoors."

In the study, researchers studied almost 9,000 pre-schoolers nationwide and asked their parents how often they take their children outside to play.

Mothers took their children out to play more often than fathers did. Working outside of the home was often a barrier for children to play outdoors, but some parents who worked from home also did not take their kids out.

In addition, the researchers found that mothers who exercised often were more likely to take their kids outdoors, as opposed to those who did not report any exercise.

The study authors also noted that girls had fewer opportunities for outdoor recreation than boys did. A study released in January came to similar conclusions.

"As caregivers or parents of girls, [we should] rethink how we dress our girls, and what we encourage them to do as far as play so that they have the same opportunity for outdoor play as boys do," Tandon said.

For all parents, Tandon offers a couple of suggestions.

First, check in with your child's care provider or child care center to ensure there is adequate outdoor time. Make sure that your child is getting it; if not, advocate for it. By pre-school age, 80% of the children in the study were in child care; in the U.S., pre-schoolers spend an average of 32 hours per week in child care.

Second, Tandon suggests coming up with new and creative ways to work around barriers, perhaps through social and community networks.

"I think parents want to do what's best for their children and I hope that this study serves as a reminder that playing outside with your children is also an important part of what we do as parents," Tandon added.

soundoff (581 Responses)
  1. Tammy

    I don't believe this story. My kid doesn't play in the neighborhood much, but that's because we're at the park any nice day. She plays outside at school every day that isn't raining or under 32-degrees. Does she go out every day? No. Because sometimes it's raining and sometimes it's freezing. This story is bogus fear-mongering.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David M

      No one is suggesting that you send your child out regardless of the weather. Fear mongering??? You sound pretty defensive to me.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Lumney

      What exactly don't you believe about the story? That playing outside is good for kids? Do you similarily disbelieve in gravity?

      April 3, 2012 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • willandmax

      Why is this story "bogus fear mongering"? I don't think the article was specific to you. Did you do any research to oppose what was written in this article? You are one person. My twin boys play outside all the time as well. That doesn't mean the article isn't true for a majority of pre-school kids. We live in a lazy society that is mostly obese. So I can see how this research and article could be true.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Keesh


      Read before you reply!

      April 3, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Joan

      I agree. Rare are the days kids can safely play outside these days - sun is not what it used to be. I cover my kids with sunscreen each time we go out and it takes fun of any spontaneous fun. Going out to play is takes preparation. I feel sorry for them. I still try to take them out as much as I can, but it is wastly different from when I was a kid.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
    • MD

      Typical defensive parent repsonse. There is ALWAYS an excuse.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • momof3

      I think someone feels like their style of parenting is being attacked????? lol

      April 3, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • Momof2

      Well said, Tammy.
      You speak the truth.
      The key is to balance activity
      with healthy eating and plenty of rest.

      April 3, 2012 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • marsmotel

      Tammy, you are the reason that the pussification of America has taken place. Your kids must play outside instead of getting fat playing video games and eating. You live in fear that something bad might happen. If you live in a bad neighborhood, then move. I take time out of my day everyday to go outside and play with my daughter. Stop being lazy and get off your butt and learn who your kids are. how much do you weigh?

      April 3, 2012 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
    • cdonohoe

      I love how people can argue vehemently over any topic. I like vanilla ice cream.

      April 3, 2012 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
    • Futbol Czarina

      I agree with you. As preschoolers, my kids were outside for hours almost daily (unless it was too cold or above 105'F). Hours of exercise and sunshine. It was typically a minimum of 4 hours DAILY. During the summer it was closer to 8 hours of outside play. We definitely were on the high side of the curb, but I don't know anyone whose kids weren't outside playing daily. THis article is either bogus, or it selected a less-than-normal inactive demographic to question.

      April 3, 2012 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
  2. LiveFreeOrDieHarder

    How about fear of liability from the Kiddie Gestapo? Your kid gets one scratch- or God forbid an injury that they need to go to the doctor for- and all of a sudden these homewrecking nanny agents of Big Government are all up in your business. I think that they are the biggest predators of all, because they have a license to harass and even kidnap.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pete

      Of course that's the real reason. But if the real reason is succinctly stated, then they can't perpetually editorialize (read: sell articles to CNN). Selling articles for money to live on is the primary objective of people like Georgiann Caruso – CNN Medical Associate Producer, not solving problems faced by people.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:29 | Report abuse |
    • M.E.

      Thee that to all the kids who have died recently in Colorado at the hands of their parents and grandparents because social services refused to step in when there was clearly a problem.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • cobra6

      LiveFree, what on earth are you talking about? It may be that way in North Korea or wherever you live, but here in the US, my kids play outside, get hurt, fall off playground equipment, get sports injuries, crash their bikes and skateboards, and have even tussled with other kids resulting in a few bumps and bruises, and no government nannie or agents have ever even contacted us or anyone I've ever met, let alone swooped in and kidnapped kids. If that happened to you, it's because you were physically abusing your kids. But then based on your paranoid post, you probably think gross physical abuse is " jes' good dis'pline".

      April 3, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Whatever... police state paranoia I see. Your tag name says it all

      April 3, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  3. Pete

    I see a potential loophole for statisticians citing this study. The inside of your house is outside of my house 😉

    April 3, 2012 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. jenny k

    Society is different now, too. When I was a kid growing up in the '80s you could go outside for hours without your parents. Nowadays, I would not let my kids play outside without my parental supervision. Not that I don't trust my kids but I don't trust society given the increase in kidnapping, pedophiles, etc. Therefore, working parents only have so many hours of daylight to play with their children outside.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CWH

      There is no increase in kidnapping or pedophiles. Check your statistics. Crime rates are down significantly today from where they were when we were kids.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse |
    • VIKK

      There is no increase, we just didn't have 24 hr. news programs in the 80's.

      April 3, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • tina

      Yes, we work more and have less day lite!

      April 3, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Please re-read CWH comment. Pedophiles were not invented recently, they were around when we were kids too (I am 48) just people used common sense and the whole neighborhood watched the kids.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • momof3

      For me its the increase in traffic... Never without my supervision!

      April 3, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • davidmba1

      I understand your concern. If something does happen to your child, everyone will blame you citing these same supposed trends. Being a parent in this era is a damned if you do damned if you don't proposition. You have to just do what you feel is right and as the article states most people would rather not deal with it and have their kids play indoors.

      April 3, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • tbucch

      Adam Walsh would be my age right now... That kid was taken and murdered in 1981. Because of people being so darn scared after that, we've kept the kids in our sight too much. I'm just as guilty, but we don't have sidewalks to play on where we live. Also, living in a condo community sucks with kids, shared green areas and all.

      April 3, 2012 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
    • AnneSD

      I have to wonder if you actually read the article, or just threw out a comment about your personal experience. This article is specifically about preschoolers. I also remember a childhood running freely outside all day long, but certainly not at preschool age.

      April 3, 2012 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
  5. WRG001

    This is BS. No way nearly half of pre-schoolers are not going outside daily. I call shenanigans.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Babs

      I beg to differ. I worked for 20 years as a child care provider. You should have seen the looks I got from kids when I said "Let's go outside and play ". Most of them had no idea what to do once out there. I suggested a game of tag once and one child (about 7 years old) said "Tag? what's that?". they only seemed to understand organized team sports. Go outside and make up a game was like saying go outside and speak Marsian to the birds. They had no clue.
      Parents can't get off the laptop and away from the TV long enough to just simple go play.

      April 3, 2012 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
  6. Elvis C

    Thanks to the likes of CNN's very own Nancy Grace, most of my neighbors with kids won't let their kids out into the neighborhood for fear of them being taken by anyone and everyone. Here's a thought, stop scaring the crap out of parents for the sake of ratings, and you won't have to lecture us as we all cower in fear from your boogie-men. not that this post will ever see the light of day...

    April 3, 2012 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sybaris

    We're dealing with this now with a our sons 5 year old daughter. Her mother is anti-social and it suits her just fine that her daughter vegetates all day in front of her handheld game or spends hours with her mom playing some video game on the TV.
    Needless to say our granddaughter is extremely timid in public but she can beat the heck out of any video game! It's sad.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mary

      Why doesn't your son take her out?

      April 3, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • Sy2502

      The jokes about bitter, acidic mothers in law were invented because of people like you.

      April 3, 2012 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • M.E.

      Depending on the video game that's not all bad. If she's just shooting people in the face, yeah, that sucks. If she's playing Portal she's learning great problem solving skills. My fiancee and I intend to introduce our kids to that game early on to help them learn creative problem solving.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • Sybaris

      Well mary, someone has to work.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
    • Babs

      Gone are the days when you do what's best for your kids. You're right. Sad.

      April 3, 2012 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  8. CWH

    I find many responses to this story incredibly sad.

    "Times have changed! Predators! Abductions!"

    Yes, times have changed. They're safer today. Crime rates are down – not just crimes against kids, but all crimes. It doesn't feel that way because we're all watching sensationalized TV news and crime shows, but it's true. Statistically speaking, if you wanted your child to be abducted you'd have to leave them outdoors, unattended for 750,000 years. Seriously. It doesn't make sense to adjust our behavior based on something so unlikely, especially when doing so raises other, much more likely risks, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, not to mention the risk of raising a generation of kids who won't know how to function independently.

    "Weather! Cold! Rain!"

    Oh, puh-lease. Have them put on a jacket. Get them a rain poncho and some rubber boots and let them go make mud pies. I have a friend in Alaska, and from what she tells me, the kids there are probably getting more outdoor time than those in FL. As long as they're dressed for it, there's no reason kids need to hide the weather. If it's too hot, turn on the sprinkler and let them get wet.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mrsjs15

      ""Weather! Cold! Rain!" Oh, puh-lease. Have them put on a jacket."

      AGREE. A little cold weather wont kill them – if anything, they'll be stronger for it. Better immunity, better physical health, and better mental health are all benefits of spending time outdoors.

      "Statistically speaking, if you wanted your child to be abducted you'd have to leave them outdoors, unattended for 750,000 years."


      Tell that statistic to a mother who took her eyes off her child and that child disappeared. Statistics dont amount to a hill of beans when you cant find your kid; all that matters is they are gone.


      Mom or Dad puts a coat on the kid and goes outside WITH them. Two birds, one stone, we're all better for it.

      So simple...

      April 3, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • CWH

      You can disagree with the statistic all you want, but it is still true.

      The few abductions that do occur are horrible, and my heart goes out to those parents. However it still does not make sense to change behavior based on the fear of rare occurrences. Do you change your behavior in fear of getting hit by a meteor? Earthquakes? Your child is statistically more at risk of dying in a house fire than getting abducted – so by that argument they should be outdoors 100% of the time, right?

      If you force parents to be out with the kids all the time, they are going to be outdoors less. It makes no sense to require them to hover; there is no rational reason for it.

      April 3, 2012 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • mrsjs15

      CWH – I think missed the very BASIC information of the article.

      We're talking about PRESCHOOLERS here. Not 10 year olds. Not children who have developed LOGIC and the concept of CAUSE and EFFECT (though I'd be willing to argue that most people dont develop any of these things under mid twenties... if at all...) Preschoolers – ages 3 to 5.

      But you are right, why should YOU change YOUR behavior? Certainly its quite a kill joy to, you know, watch after your children. Those PESKY three year olds, what were they thinking not knowing how to take care of themselves!! Mommy and Daddy have better things to do than be responsible for them!!


      April 3, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • CWH

      Can we please avoid the personal attacks?

      There may be valid reasons why preschoolers need to be watched when outside (mine were constantly putting stones in their mouths), but that was not the point of my reply. I was addressing fears of predators, abductions and weather. My arguments apply regardless of the ages of the children.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • mrsjs15

      There are no personal attacks there at all. You asked "Do you change your behavior in fear of getting hit by a meteor?..." with the assumption of you being the collective you. And I am, in reply, stating that the collective YOU need not change YOUR behavior for anyone who thinks a three year old need not be watched. The article is about preschoolers; to even argue that they need not be watched for fear of "hovering" is just ridiculous in and of itself given what the article is about.

      But as for a change in behavior – meteor? No. That's a nonsensical comparison.
      Earthquake? I'd be willing to bet people in earthquake prone areas DO change their "behavior" (buildings built to withstand such occurrences, evacuation plans, etc).
      House fires? Do you not have a fire alarm in your home? 50 years ago that wasnt required by law; now it is. As such, a change in behavior has taken place.

      Ultimately, the point being that its not a BAD thing to watch your children. Somewhere along the line, the idea of actually taking care AND WATCHING your children became a negative rather than a positive – regardless of whether the threat or STATISTIC says that its needed.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
    • JenniferC

      It is possible that crime rates are down from 20 years ago precisely because we Gen X/Gen Y parents are keeping much closer watch over our kids than our own parents did over us. Yes, we know exactly what we are doing. And yes, we do this in part because CNN oversaturates the media with pedophilia crime stories. But that is no excuse for denying kids adequate amounts of fresh air, the onus is still on parents to make sure the kids are supervised.

      April 3, 2012 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
    • C0r3y

      Totally agree and almost all kidnappings are caused by a family member (ex-wife)

      April 3, 2012 at 15:35 | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      Maybe crime rates are down because nobody goes outside?

      April 3, 2012 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
  9. wileysunshine

    The article is focusing on preschoolers. I know that my daughter goes outside around an hour a day at her day care. By the time we get home, we're either fighting the fading light or Texas' lethal mosquitoes. There's a window of time that we can be outside, but it's limited until the weekend. I have often wondered if I'm doing a disservice to her by not going outside when we get home – so that she'll be more willing to do that when she's a little older.

    However, I hear/read a lot of people passing judgment on us less-than-perfect mothers, but rarely do I see those people organizing outside activities and community events in parks and areas like they had when I was growing up.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Noelle

      I totally agree – I saw this report on a few different sites and thought "gee, my preschooler is outside 2-3 hours every day...just not with me..." I work full time but she gets outside to play every day at school. This study is for "parent supervised time" which twists it to seem as if the kids are not outside with parents then they're not outside at all....

      April 3, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • Babs

      Why on earth does EVERYTHING need to be organized? can't we just go play?

      April 3, 2012 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
  10. luckyponytoo

    Ugh, yeah...my nephew rarely plays outside...it's like his parents are afraid he might touch a "germ". I think that this is reflective of our society. A kid going to school or daycare with a bruise or a scrape from playing outside would likely result in a call to CPS. People are afraid to let their kids explore and learn first-hand what they can...and can't...do.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Magaly N.

    I try to walk to the store as much as i can and take my kids with me.. I go on walks almost every spring and summer night when the weather permits. and my kids both a boy and a girl spent a lot of time outside.. =)

    April 3, 2012 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. David M

    Some parents need to shut off the TV or computer and go outside as well.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. pat

    I'm a single dad and when my kids come over I collect the Ipods, phones, DS etc. and hide them. They try the whole long pleading back and forth about how they don't want to go outside, there is nothing to do out there, etc. But some good old fashioned parenting puts that whole discussion to rest real quick.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David M

      I know exactly what you mean by "good old fashion" parenting! My parents were firm believers in that. And so am I.

      April 3, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
  14. nlj

    I work with preschool aged children as a speech therapist and this story is sadly, absolutely true. Many parents do not take their children outside to play and another sad point is that even when they're inside -they're not playing with them either. Kudos to those parents that do play with their children (and talk to them) but most of us reading this article are not the same type of people that would not play with our kids -so we are a little biased. It is sad.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. paradisehotdog

    Some have stated that it's too dangerous to let kids outside – the "psychopaths" will get them. It's a possibility but non family abductions are a rare occurrence. But yes, there are busy streets, loose dogs, ticks, etc but learning to avoid danger is a part of growing up. What kind of childhood is being locked indoors all the time? It will be looked back in later years as a vanilla existence compromised of four walls, carpet, and a led screen. It's sad to pass by baseball fields where we used to play sandlot ball and see them empty.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Beck

    My kids have just reached adult hood. in the spring and summer, I would purposefully cancel cable so that we would all go outside more. No reason to watch tv if the weather is beautiful. It is tough in the beginning to miss your favorite shows, but we survived. Another rule- no saturday morning television, no matter what the season. Just didn't want them to be zombies. We were outside everyday. Turn off your tv and go outside.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply

    Perhaps kids don't play as much outside as kids of earlier decades simply because tpday's kids are inside watching Sponge Bob or playing video games or on the internet! And don't tell me that 3 and 5 year olds don't have computers!

    April 3, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mommadukes

      Mine doesnt have a computer, I won't eve let him play on my iPhone. I limit time infront of the TV and also if he wants to play a game on the computer. My son is outside from the time we get home (4:30) until it's time for dinner (7:00). He also spends the majority of his day at preschool/daycare outside.

      My son definitely has advanced motor skills and I believe it is because he is outside for most of the day. We go hiking, bike riding, pass football, play basketball, anything to get him moving. He has been able to ride a bike without training wheels since he was 3.

      Computers are a great thing for your kid to know – as that's what's going to rule the world when they are adults, but where are they going to get their creativity from if they can't go outside with their dump truck/barbie jeep/hot wheels and just make something up?? That is what's wrong with the world, kids have no imagination because they don't have to. TV makes it up for them.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      I'm 37 & we played an awful lot of Nintendo, Atari & Intellivision when we were little. Plus, we had VCRs with lots of our favorite movies and record players, which kept us inside for hours. But we also got outside plenty because our parents didn't have to come with us. Even the little preschoolers were out without parents because the older kids were always out there keeping an eye on them.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
  18. Muldoon

    This study does not surprise me. I'm glad my kids are not unusual in that they don't play outside that much, but I'm not happy about what that says about our society. Obviously this is part and parcel with our wired world. Kids are quietly plugged in to some device and, as a result, parents are not forcing their kids outside because they are quietly behaving themselves. And the parents are also watching the news and face fear-mongering from widely-publicized (yet isolated) incidents of child abduction or kids falling down wells or getting hit by comets or whatever. As a result, we insist that our kids only participate in organized, supervised activities but we have limited bandwidth and resources to take them to all those activities and the X-box fills in the gaps.

    I would love to send my kids outside to play, but they'll be the only kids out there. Unfortunately, if the only way they are going to get outside is with my supervision, it just ain't gonna happen much due to my schedule.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Garrick Greathouse

    This is why more parents should get their children involved with Professional Wrestling at an early age. A good chair shot does wonders for character building!

    April 3, 2012 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. scott

    the trouble is these days, unless you are standing 2 feet from your child, some neighbor will call child services for neglect and you have the county at the house. or we have to worry about some moron taking your kid. Parents are to busy these days to hang out in the yard all day. Parents used to send kids out to play all day in the yard and not have to worry about anything. sign of the times!

    April 3, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • S. Winters

      You are so right! I spend 2-3 hours playing with my kids outside on weekends but my older boy (age 6) plays with 4 neighborhood kids in our various yards. Once one elderly neighbor called the police because the 7 year old neighbor girl was standing on her (the girl's) front porch railing and 'could have fallen' (like 3 feet!). Another time a different neighbor called the cops because she 'heard a child yelling for help'. It was my son and another boy pretending to play cops and robbers and one of them was yelling for backup. Police come about once a month due to neighbors reporting kids 'unsafe'.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      This is true. This has happened in our neighborhood. My child is no longer a preschooler & doesn't need me to stand there staring at him. In fact, it's better if I don't because he needs to work on conflict resolution & everything else without me. But there I stand, bored out of my skull, day after day. I'm happy abduction rates are on the decline, but it seems there has to be a better way.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
  21. stephenpe

    My child attends a PreK program in Fla. She goes half day (till 11am)
    They do not go outside to play at all. They have a "curriculum" they have to follow.
    Since I teach in the county I have to be careful what I say but this summer I am going
    to call them out in a letter to the editor of the local paper. Play is the way 4 year olds learn.
    Paper and pencil inside all morning? Stupid.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joshua

      Or...you could send them to a different program. That's what is great about pre-school. You get to pick what one to bring your kids to, so the preschools have to cater to you to get your business.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • becca

      Yuck! Sounds like a focus on academics and test scores is overriding the big picture–teaching kids! Outdoor play is valuable and encourages creativity, socializing, and physical fitness.

      April 3, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
  22. Jimbo

    Blame the overprotective parents and school insurance policies. Many do not understand that children need to adapt their bodies to the hostile microscopic world outside of pollen and bacteria, or else they'll raise a sickly adult with a weak immune system and asthmatic issues. They do no favors keeping their children indoors like the bubble boy. In most states, outside recess is a mandatory activity for schoolchildren.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. The Flamingo Kid

    I wish my neighbor's kids would stay inside. I cannot stand listening to them. Kids suck.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Futbol Czarina

      Certainly your neighbors would hope you choose to not propagate in order to spread further misery.

      April 3, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
  24. sunny

    My daughter is a self proclaimed princess with her dresses, make-up (lip gloss LOL!) and high heels (thanks dad!). Anyway...She rides her bike, plays with the neighborhood kids, rakes leaves and runs everywhere in her dresses. Buy clothes that are play clothes and let them be themselves. Get to know your neighbors. Whether they are reclusive or crazy, they are watching the neighborhood and looking out for strange behavior. One thing that I personally learned was to not worry about my hair or clothes when I go outside. We don't have to take 30 minutes to primp for our neighbors. Kudos to all you outdoorsy parents.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Joshua

    This article is either very poorly written or the research was very poorly done. If they ask a survey question like "Do you take the children to play outside every day?" Some will interpret this as every day and some as every day with decent weather. Also, it doesn't discuss indoor play. Some childcare centers have huge indoor play areas and only go outside if the weather is really nice. Some that have less sufficient indoor space will bundle the kids up more often. These sorts of considerations need ot be addressed.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. S. Winters

    Um...It's called childcare! How the heck is a working parent who needs to be in work by 8-9am but first rise, feed kids breakfast, drop them off at daycare, etc... supposed to get in 60 minutes outside/day! My toddler and I get up at 5:30am, I drop him at daycare at 6:30am, he eats breakfast there at 7am. I pick him up at 5:55 pm. My toddler falls asleep in the car on ride home and I put him straight to bed when get home, usually without him waking up. He never has dinner, ever, on a week day evening and never bathes either on week days. Now, I pay for one of those mobile maid services every 2 weeks so basically weekends are free and we spend at minimum 2-3 hours outside/ day (~6 hours per week) so overall he does get recommended ~7 per week. At least daycare has 3 x 30 minute gym time though. My school district has recess only in 2nd – 4th grade for some reason and gym 1 x per week for 45 minutes.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Debbie S.

      It sounds to me like you didn't really have the time to have a child. Daycare is raising that child and you, the "parent," are really just the babysitter. Sad – and to be honest, the root of the problem. Kids aren't pets. They needs to be actively parented by people who understand the commitment they are making at conception.

      April 3, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
    • KitKa10

      Are you seriously saying you do not bathe your child for five days straight and only twice a week (weekends) does that same child actually eat even a single meal with his parents? I understand fully about being busy and working long hours....I'm sorry to be rude but child care and parenting are two entirely different things and you're certianly not providing parenting here...

      April 3, 2012 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • S. Winters

      You are both right. I didn't choose to have kids though. They are my cousins kids who I adopted after he died in a car crash. Nobody else would take them in, including his ex-wife, their mother, who is re-married and living just one street away from me. I try to give them as much love as I can and they seem happy enough. That sounds terrible but that is how it is. But the 6 year old gets a bath at least 4 times a week. I eat 3 meals a day on the weekends with my children and that is it for meals. Plus we spend all weekend together, just hanging out around the house, doing chores together, running errands, etc...

      April 3, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      Wow. S.Winters sounds like you are doing the best you can esp as you adopted your cousin's children and we all know your situation is far from unique. It's a shame that our modern lifestyle means that this is now the norm for so many people. I don't know what the answer is but... I have to say that there are European countries at which some here would shout "socialist" where there is much more importance placed in public policy on parents' rights as far as maternity leave, financial support and working hours go... there's a lot of lip service to "family" in America but look at the lifestyles families have to keep up, in many cases just to get by – what's more important?

      April 3, 2012 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
  27. M.E.

    I wondered if they counted strapping the kid into those carbon fiber thunderdome battle strollers as "outside" time. Personally I don't see how parents can deal with kids not running around outside to burn off energy! God help you if you have a kid cooped up in the house constantly!

    April 3, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Flamingo Kid

      God help those of us who have to listen to your little crap heads run around screaming and invading OUR personal space. If you did not want to listen to YOUR Kids then you should not have had them.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
  28. Huginkyss

    The best thing that ever happend to us was getting robbed.
    We lost our entire entertainment system including gaming consules, computers, and of course the tv. This was before Christmas and since then with our insurance money we built and outdoor playground for our daughter. It was the best thing that every happened to us and to her as a toddler we were ignoring her outdoor time for tv time. Since then we have changed our lifestyle to a more active and satisfyiing one. While we occassionally watch shows with her on a portable dvd player we got for 40 dollars its nothing compared to the hours we used to waste in front of the tv.

    I urge you, turn off the tv. It will save your life. Now we have finally moved up to a computer but I am terrified of getting another tv.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Guest

    My family is blessed to live in San Diego in a neighborhood where kids play outside all afternoon like the old days. Getting outside is easy for us. However, we travel a lot to a less lively neighborhood in Michigan & I can 100% empathize with the parents who struggle to get their kids out. It is wholly dependent on weather & the area. What this article does not account for, though, is that there are a lot of healthy alternatives to outdoor play in areas like this. Skating rinks, Pump It Up, indoor playgrounds & gymnastics centers all provide great places for preschoolers to blow off steam.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. alcourts


    April 3, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Mom

    Daycare is a great option. Mine takes my oldest out to the park each day. He loves it!
    Even though I stay home, I pay for him to go part time and I'm taking care of my 5 little kids, so it's a blessing to have the daycare. As long as it's a good center. Home daycares often resort to TV, so that's out.
    The only concern I see outside is the road. For that, you have to be there or the kids have to be old enough. Worrying about pedophiles is stupid. You're wasting their time. Even with a convicted offender in the family from an internet sting, I'm not worried. The real danger is the cars that pass your house each day. Keep your kids safe and not in the road. Now that is life or death.

    April 3, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Burbank

    Of course they don't play outside enough. Have you noticed these new "mansions" everyone has to have that don't have yards? Just a narrow ring of grass around the outside to separate you from the neighbor. Taking kids to play outside everyday might cut into this current generation of obese,dead-beat, narcissitic parent's "me time:" in front of the TV.

    Instead they stick the baby in front of a TV in it's own separate bedroom/bathroom combo in their McMansion and expect it to entertain itself, and then wonder why autism is on the rise...

    April 3, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Drowlord

    Nutrition and parenting seem to be two areas where advice abounds and research is always a collection of personal anecdotes. My kids seem to enjoy playing outside (which is why my wife and I bought a 15-acre "hobby farm" in the country, where they would have plenty of space to play, safely), and I want to encourage an active lifestyle, but I doubt that it has all that much benefit. I can think of countless people who spent their days indoors and turned into fine, healthy adults. Most of my "outdoors all the time" childhood friends ended up doing a lot worse in their lives.

    April 3, 2012 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. mary

    bunch of sanctimonious holier-than-thou b.s, if you ask me, Yes everything used to be such an idyllic paradise for kids a couple of generations ago, and today's kids are gonna grow up totally screwed up. And everyone has thought that about every generation for the past 100+ years.
    A lot of this has to do with where these kids are growing up. I grew up in a very urban setting andI was always outside, rather than hanging out in our tiny apartment w no cable, etc. I was never ever "hovered over" by my parents. For fun my friends and I shoplifted, played ring-and-run, smoked cigarettes. I was once almost strangled by an old woman with dementia in my neighborhood, My brother's best friend was hit by a car while biking and seriously injured (he was 7). When I was in 5th grade a boy tried to stick his penis in m mouth. All very good for my motor control I'm sure. A lot of the kids this article is about are city kids without a tree in their yard or a safe street within biking distance. So, judge not lest ye be judged.

    April 3, 2012 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • soTrue

      Hahaha... that brought back some memories from my childhood. I grew up in the country and spent hours (particularly in summer) wandering around with other kids from neighboring farms. We would routinely break into people's homes, rifle through their stuff, read their mail, play with their dogs, eat food from their fridge, and go swimming in lakes naked. We never 'stole' anything big but stole food and cigarettes. this was between ages 8-10 and while nobody really messed with me or other younger kids to my knowledge, the older kids (14+) would often have sex in the houses or woods where we hung out, we younger ones would spy on them. If they caught us they beat us good and we didn't dare tell our parents what happened to us (often I'd say my sister/brothers did it), once they broke my brother's nose (he was 7 and went up and rubbed his penis on the girl while she was having sex). My dad tanned me good for that one as I had to take the blame.

      April 3, 2012 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
  35. BiteMe

    Honestly, there's virtually no reason to go outside anymore. Used to, people went outside for activities, to kill boredom, or pass time. Fast forward to today with all our advances in technology, there's way more engagement inside the home rather than outside. I can't blame kids for wanting to have fun and be engaged. It's more fun to play a video game, especially with friends, than go outside play in the dirt with a stick.

    April 3, 2012 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • becca

      Maybe a balance of indoor and outdoor activity can engage young kids and encourage creativity.

      April 3, 2012 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      Yeah really, why can't we all just be like those happy, "engaged" fat people in 'Wall-E'???

      April 3, 2012 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
  36. bspurloc

    outside is DANGEROUS! they may get posion ivy, hear naughty words, see muslims or any other of the various things u cant expose kids to as they may grow up with their own point of view

    April 3, 2012 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Kim

    Unfortunatly, I am a single mother who works full-time, and is working on my masters full time. Sometimes the areas we live in, sometimes life obligations are barriers to play time with a child. I've always felt gulity about not having an adequate amount of time to bring my son outside to play. He's an only child, doesn't have many friends and the City we live in is not really adequate with providing resources for single parents. I would always be willing to hear comments on how other single parents handle work, parenting, education...It's frustrating and many times the kids are the ones who suffer.

    April 3, 2012 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. meadowsdesign

    The outdoors causes cancer in rats.

    April 3, 2012 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. becca

    Yes, people need more physical activity and exercise. A minimum of 30 min each day is great. Society is really dependent on artificial things like movies, shows, games, when spending outdoor time is healthy, educational, and lowers stress. So glad I got rid of the tv and have more exercise time now. Priorities! ,

    April 3, 2012 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Justin

    HEY! I got an idea! Perhaps they're not playing outside all the time because of the WEATHER? Like, when it's raining. Or perhaps snowing. Or it could even be VERY COLD outside. There may even be a slight chance of a hurricane or a tornado. This article mentions nothing about weather, and thus it is yet another inane piece of "journalism" with a catchy headline to get people to read it. Bravo once again, CNN.

    April 3, 2012 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rosie

      Exactly! We've had about 3 non-rainy days here in Seattle in the past month. I had to abandon the "no balls in the house" rule months ago.

      April 3, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
  41. Kevin Roberts

    Blame the media for scaring parents into thinking everything is dangerous and pedophiles are lurking around every corner.

    April 3, 2012 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Todd

    The big issue, is the Stranger Danger that parents are giving to their kids. They are afraid to let their kids out like we use to be able to do. Yes the article talks about parents being outside with their kids... However that isn't always possible... Back when we were kids we played outside and the parents were inside within earshot or can be seen threw the windows. Today that would be bad parenting. We can't let our kids get a cut or scrape, while playing outside, and if they do your in trouble.

    April 3, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jack


    April 3, 2012 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Kevin

    Why would they bother with the hassle of actually going outside to play when they can just download the Playground App onto their smart phone?

    April 3, 2012 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. andrew hopkinson

    "Are Kids Getting Outside Enough?" Are CNN writers stupid enough? What kind of grammar is that? Are we all 5 year olds?

    April 3, 2012 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. MommyLuvsU2

    I would love for this writer to find me 60 mins every day to get outside with my kids. My kids are outside all the time, but maybe it's 2 hours one day and nothing the next. It's none of their damn business.

    April 3, 2012 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Patrick from DC

    My kid probably gets more than 60 minutes average, but there are some very hot, very cold and very wet days when we stroll a mall or figure something else out. I mean, he's little. Little kids don't do well in the very hot or very cold and get unbelievably filthy in the wet. I'm not a copter parent, but I like playing with my kid because he's not yet three and he's not much into playing games with other kids.

    This survey seems full of generalizations to me. Smells of BS. Still, go out and play with your kids as much as you can. It's fun.

    April 3, 2012 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. jj

    I grew up in the 1950s and remember well playing outdoors every day with neighborhood kids. We played hopscotch, jacks, had big jump rope tournaments and played big neighborhood games like tag, hide and seek, Red Rover, and Star Light Star Bright, Hope to See the Ghost Tonight. We didn't have play dates, adults didn't organize anything for us. We just ran around and had fun by ourselves. I was by no means an athletic kid. I read a lot, indoors and outdoors, and watched a lot of TV as well. But kids played outdoors then. It was just what we did. I feel very sorry for today's kids – with over-organization by parents, fear of criminals, fear of "germs," and too much computer and TV time – they don't know what they're missing. We also ate fresh food cooked at home around a dinner table with all the family. If only young parents could try to let their kids play, have fun by themselves, and eat fresh good food, their children would have a better life. I think families could do this better if they tried.

    April 3, 2012 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Julia

    It's sad that we even have to remind parents to have common sense. I'm no doctor, but I swear kids build immunities from playing in the dirt, other kids, etc.

    April 3, 2012 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. David

    When society collapses due to unlimited printing of "money" those of us who taught our children how to grow vegy's, and fish and hunt will still have a legacy. Not so likely for the rest of ya. Kids not outdoors I am amazed how far removed from reality some (most??) are

    April 3, 2012 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Leave a Reply to MikeyZ


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.