Dana Hull of the Mercury News talks to people who are trying to bring back the era of unstructured play and get kids interested in outdoor adventures.

As summer approaches and Wii sales climb toward 10 million, a growing number of parents and children’s advocates worry that child-driven, unstructured play – time spent exploring creeks and climbing trees without computer screens or adults hovering like helicopters nearby – is vanishing from the lives of many children.

The shift is so worrisome that many Bay Area parents and advocates like Bird are pushing back. They’re forming a loosely organized “movement” to bring play back from the brink that some call “Leave No Child Inside.”

There are many reasons behind the erosion of play. Some parents fear horrible – but unlikely – accidents. The college admissions race fuels “résumé building” activities like violin lessons and science camps from an early age. And the electronic creep of television and video games affects younger and younger children.

“Everyone remembers their mother saying, ‘Just go outside and play, and don’t come home until supper.’ You never hear that anymore,” said Joan Almond of the Alliance for Childhood in Maryland. “Looking back, outdoor play away from adults was the norm. Today children aren’t given the freedom to do that.”

True enough. Previous posts on kids/outdoors: