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Does this ad bother you or is it just harmless fun?

Posted by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 8:37 AM
  • 21 Replies
1 mom liked this

Toy Ad Tries to Make Kids Think Learning Isn't Fun -- How Sad Is That? (VIDEO)

by Adriana Velez

toysrusI know an entire toy store chain that's on Santa's naughty list, and I don't mean Toys in Babeland. Have you seen this Toys"R"Us field trip ad? Our story begins with a sad crew of unfortunate children being driven to a (SIGH!) nature preserve or whatever via the "Meet the Trees Foundation" bus. A super-boring teacher puts the kids to sleep with his lame "match the leaf with the tree" quiz. But then: Surprise! They're not going to have a rare, hands-on educational experience in the natural world after all. Instead, they're going to the TOY STORE! Wheee!!!

Oh the joy. The children run up and down the aisles, eyes bright with excitement. They play. They squeal. And what's that other sound? Oh yes, it's the sound of science and math test scores dropping with a thud. It's the sound of teenagers opening rejection letters from universities. Good job, Toys"R"Us. Thanks so much for that.

Let's just get the obvious out of the way first. I hate, HATE that they made environmental science the bad guy here. In this ad, science education is a boring chore to be suffered through, the very opposite of fun. I think that approach is simply lazy. And it makes parents' and teachers' jobs harder. Why would a toy retailer want to piss us off like this? Who do they think is watching the ad and paying for those toys? What the hell are they thinking?

And who says trees are so boring?

Supposedly this ad is part community service. I guess these are underprivileged kids who were told they could each take a toy of their choosing for free. I think we're supposed to get a warm fuzzy feeling because those poor kids, they never get new toys. Except that's probably not true.

The sad truth is, kids are likely to be more familiar with the inside of a toy store than they are with the natural world. It's easier to scrape and borrow to get your kid the toy they want for Christmas than it is to arrange a meaningful educational experience in the forest. Science education is mostly happening through textbooks and worksheets. The few field trips kids go on are usually rushed marches through overcrowded museums. I know, I've seen those marches dozens of times. Hell, kids these days are lucky if they get to step outdoors for recess or gym class.

Here's the thing, though. This isn't even an either/or situation. Science, nature, exploration -- toy stores are all over that! I've bought my son a portable hand-held microscope he can use to explore the natural world, and I bought it at Toys"R"Us. Fun and science are not enemies. Science education can be fun and engaging if you really care.

OMG, this commercial just taught me something -- the definition of a  FALSE DICHOTOMY.

But hey, making science education engaging is a lot of work. Grownups hate work! It's so much easier and more rewarding to just throw a bunch of toys at some underprivileged kids. Those childhood memories will keep them warm when they're adults who can't compete with the rest of the world for jobs in science or technology.

Does this ad bother you as much as it bothers me, or do you think it's just harmless fun?

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 8:37 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Anonymous 1 on Nov. 13, 2013 at 8:41 AM
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It doesn't bother me. Yes, learning is important, but for some, it's never fun. I think having imagination is important too.
by Anonymous 2 on Nov. 13, 2013 at 8:46 AM
I will say this.....The COMERICIAL//AD caught AVERAGE kids reactions to a "T" about learning vs. playing. I doesn't bother me. Both my kids LOVE nature and would rather be outside doing something then in a store with gobs of toys.
by Silver Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 8:50 AM
1 mom liked this
I see nothing wrong with the ad. Realistically kids will be more excited about a toy store. Plus there are great educational toys. Ds is getting a microscope (he asked for it) for Christmas. He'll be observing nature through his microscope.
by Anonymous 3 on Nov. 13, 2013 at 9:30 AM
The ad is ok.
by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Nope.... see nothing wrong with it.... I would imagine the people that would, are those that are so entrenched in the world of science and academia that they have forgotten what it is like to be a kid, and the joy that is experienced in both a "traditional" learning environment (like a field trip to the forest) and a "non-traditional" learning environment...

The line between learning and playing can be blurred at times in this day and age.  There are so many "toys" that help children learn, and there are some toys that are "just for fun" - but they also encourage kids to use their imagination, they encourage both gross and fine motor skills. 

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 11:37 AM
1 mom liked this

Most advertisng geared to marketing to children disgusts and nauseates me. One ad in particular,and as horrifying as this ad is, was last year's huggies ad with the toddler getting out of a chauffeur-driven limosine with Hollywood sunglasses and expensive shirt, but only a diaper. Let's approve of advertisements marketed to the 100,000 pedophiles on parole and missing in America. That figure was quoted by America's Most Wanted last year. 100,000 American pedophiles missing from the parole rolls....I think you have to be at least in your mid-30s to undersand indoctrination.

If this advertising doesn't bother you now, wait another 15 years and it will creep up on you.

by Colleen on Nov. 13, 2013 at 12:08 PM

I think its fine

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I don't really care.  I ignore advertising (aside from comparing prices) and it doesn't affect my purchases.   I don't think the message matters because I'm not going to pay attention to it and have taught my kids that ads don't matter either.   They already know that commercials are done to make things look awesome and the reality is very different.

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 4:17 PM
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I have never known a group of kids to be bummed out over going on a field trip no matter where they were going.

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 4:26 PM
I honestly hate ALL toy commercials equally. This doesn't irk me that much because there are no commercials for toys that promote education. Unless you count baby toys, or digital devices (which I consider to expensive too be considered a toy.)
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