Bright Ideas

Little School Takes on Toys R Us in New Video

Natural Start

Do you remember last year’s Toys R Us commercial that so frustrated the environmental education community? In it, children are on a bus to visit a natural area, but instead are surprised with the news that, in fact, they’re going to Toys R Us. The commercial was widely derided for its suggestion that trips to natural areas are boring—the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) weighed in with an open letter to the toy giant, and the commercial was even skewered by Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report.

Anne Stires, director of the nature-based Juniper Hill School in Maine, hasn’t forgotten about it. Her little school pieced together funding to create a video to answer the Toys R Us commercial. They’re hoping that their video—“Trees R Us”— will raise awareness that nature play and place-based learning are every bit as fun and important for children as corporate consumer goods. “Even though we’re a tiny little school in a tiny little town in a tiny little state . . . “ she says, “I do feel like it’s world stage, in that this is going to start to happen. It has to.”

Check out their video below and see what you think!





Nature Preschools