I saw a video advertisement for a national toy store today that really has me bothered. The ad depicts a group of children taking a surprise field trip to the forest to look at trees and leaves. The children look bored until it is revealed to them they are not going to the forest, but instead are going to a toy store where they can have any toy they like. The message given was going to the toy store will make all their dreams come true. The underlying message I heard was nature and getting outside is boring.
Instead of portraying nature as boring, why not show many ways to play with toys including bringing them outside. Why not bring Barbie and superheroes to the creek for a swim; load trucks with rocks and pebbles along a shore; look up close at nature with a magnifying glass; read a book under a tree; drive a monster truck over rocks, sticks, and leaves; make leaf rubbings and bark rubbings with paper and crayons; or create a secret world using moss, leaves, rocks, twigs, toy animals and toy people.
Kids learn through play. Why not give them both nature and toys and let their imagination go. Or is that too boring?