Actually Take Your Kids Camping, America

This afternoon, I had to make a run into town. On the way home, I decided to stop by Toys-R-Us (you're never too old right?) and check out the new toys. Somewhere between the racecars and action-figures, there was a "Camping" section. There was even a placard indicating that it was indeed The "Camping" Section. The items on the shelves included: a faux coon skin cap, a fake campfire log and roasting kit, an indoor tent, a wood chopping set, a fish fry pan, and a canteen... all made of plastic.

Wait a minute. You're trying to get your kids excited about the great outdoors with a cool-to-the-touch campfire log that does nothing interesting, a wood chopping set that in no way encourages the proper use of a splitting tool, and a plastic drinking bottle that isn't BPA free... what the Muir, America!

This biggest question that I had in all of this was, "Who's this actually targeted at?" Overly protective parents?
By the time a kid is actually old enough to get any form of real entertainment value out of these toys, they would be old enough to ACTUALLY US THE REAL THING.
Even if you don't have a backyard to actually make a campfire and have a cookout, you still have a kitchen stove. Roast your hot dogs and marsh mellows over an eye. Go buy an actual cast iron skillet, and fry a real damn fish. It costs the same price, $14.99, as the stupid toy, but that pan will last your son or daughter a lifetime if you actually take the time to teach them how to take care of it.

Which is where I think the issues really lies, in taking the time. Most of these toys are rated for ages 3 and up. Parents can just throw plastic toys at their kids, and think that's a valid substitute for actually teaching their offspring how to use the real thing. IT'S NOT!

Yes, if you buy a four year old a dead fish and piece of cookware for whatever Holiday you do or don't celebrate, they probably won't be too elated when they unwrap it. But instead of burning cash on these useless toys during this Winter Season, maybe you should hold back a bit, save that money, and put it towards gas and a real tent, so you can actually take your kid camping, for real this time.

Source: Toys-R-Us YouTube

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