Kevin Coyle, vice president of education and training with NWF, makes the case for schools to reinstate regular recesses, as well as adding school gardens and outside adventures.
"If the kids get a little more time outdoors, they get some play time, they're going to do a lot better in science, math, reading, and in those statewide tests."
Coyle says a sharper focus on boosting those test scores has led to scaled-back recess periods in most schools, which he claims teachers also know is counterproductive. An NWF survey of educators found that 78 percent believe children who spend regular time in unstructured outdoor play are better able to concentrate in the classroom.
But it's not just a school issue, according to Coyle. He says that, even during the summer months, children spend more than 50 hours a week indoors and in front of electronics.
"We're making the point here that schools and parents need to be paying attention to how much outdoor time kids are getting, not only at home, but during the school hours, as well."
The report, "Back to School: Back Outside," is at www.nwf.org