Fewer Genius Toys and More Free Play Recommended

The American Academy of Pediatrics study (2006) found that American children need more creative free-play time, fewer ''genius'' toys and a sharp cut in hours spent watching TV and computer screens.

Increasingly, children are spending more time indoors. Their parents played baseball on a large grassy field during their youth most likely. Today's children are more likely to swing their bats on a $345 Nintendo Wii video game system which sitting indoors and viewing a game controller.

The national organization Common Good is so disturbed by vanishing playtime and the rise in child obesity that they have organized a national campaign (www.cgood.org) to raise awareness.

Philip K. Howard, founder of Common Good and author of The Death of Common Sense , recommends that parents create play-friendly lives and fight schools trying to cut back on recess.