Hi, George. I feel the same about the importance of unstructured play for children, especially outdoors. I don't think either of us is an "old coot" for thinking so. I believe being out in the fresh air, as well as kids having to organize their own games without every-hovering grownups, are two very important experiences that all children should have a chance to experience.
With that said, the world has changed ,and technology has been the driving factor of the change. Technology is here to stay, for both good and evil. I think the onus now is on parents or other adults to encourage children to get outdoors and experience the natural world.--as well as to encourage them to play tag, jump rope, kick through piles of leaves, shoot baskets, play catch --anything that gets their young bodies moving, rather than slumped over computers. In our modern world such opportunities grow more and more rare, but a caring adult can help children to find them.