Children's experiences in nature have been shown to create authentic learning experiences, promote healthy development, encourage conservation practices, and connect children and their teachers to their surrounding environment in ways other experiences fail to do. Today's children become more and more disconnected from their surroundings due to the appeal of video games, influx of digital media, and prevalence of online social lives. What Richard Louv calls a "Nature Deficit Disorder" has profound effects on our children and the future of the sustainability of our environment.
Children will always love toys, as they should. Toys R Us has no need to convince them of that. Their latest advertising campaign that portrays children as bored, passive learners on a bus to a forest who are then surprised with an implied far better alternative of more "stuff" sends a dangerous, irresponsible, and insulting message regarding our children and the importance of education and natural experiences.
Rather than communicate that children should be thrilled to trade in educational experiences and time in nature for more "stuff," Toys R Us should be celebrating education and showcasing their products that encourage learning, creativity, and natural exploration.