Today's kids indeed engage in active play during leisure time, says a new UK study.
It said that encouraging children to engage in active play, tailored according to specific gender, could increase their physical activity.
Rowan Brockman from the University of Bristol Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences and colleagues found children's perceptions of what constituted play were broad and included both physically active and sedentary behaviours.
Children aged 10 to 11-year-old reported that they frequently engaged in active play consistent with that of previous generations, and valued both the physical and social benefits it provided.
However, whereas boys prefer 'having a kick about' or riding bikes, girls are less likely to have an equivalent specific physical activity.
Additionally, boys appear to have greater freedom to roam in their active play than girls.
The researchers also found that boys were more likely to play with neighbourhood friends but girls were more often restricted to playing with family members.
"Contemporary children do engage in active play and value both the physical and social benefits it provides. This suggests that some children, at least, do not prefer to spend all their time watching TV or on computer," said Brockman.
"However, further research is needed to build a more informed picture of children's play before we consider strategies to increase it," he added.
The study is published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.