As conservationists and educators encourage American children to go outdoors, a new commercial by retailer Toys R Us is portraying a trip outdoors as boring. Shopping is much more fun, the commercial says.
In the ad, a group of kids are put on a bus for a fictional “Meet the Trees Foundation” field trip. The bus ride seems purposely boring, until the leader announces that they are actually going on a shopping spree in a Toys R Us store.
Jeanine Silversmith (pictured with her family at right), founder of RI Families In Nature, has launched an online petition asking Toys R Us to pull the ad. “Just like healthy food and a good night’s sleep, spending time in nature is essential to our health and well being,” Jeanine says. “There is a growing body of research showing the connection between interaction with the natural world and the physical, mental, academic, and emotional health of both children and adults. Research studies show that children who regularly play and learn outside are healthier, happier, and smarter than those who do not.” She cites evidence posted on http://www.childrenandnature.org/research/.”
To Toys R Us, Jeanine says, “Stop attacking environmental education. Take down your TV commercial that portrays spending time outdoors as a boring activity that children do not enjoy.”