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Joined: 02/22/2011
Posts: 1
Feedback Wanted - Educational Toys for Outdoor Learning

Hello outdoor community,


I would like to briefly introduce myself.  My name is Eric Jackson and I am a fellow avid outdoorsman and father.  Throughout my life, some of my greatest memories have been forged in the wild, experiencing the adventure and beauty of landscapes and wildlife from the Rocky Mountains to the fields of central Illinois with friends and family alike.  One of the greatest joys in becoming a father was the anticipation that came with planning how we might be able to share the joy of the outdoors with our children.  How could I pass down all the valuable life lessons and memories that I had received while spending time fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping with those closest to me?  How could I use the outdoors as a tool to help shape their character?


But first came the simple question of how can I best develop in them an appreciation for and an interest in all that the outdoors has to offer them at an early age?  I treasure those first hikes, the first fish they caught, and teaching them to glass the fields for deer.   Those adventures provided abundant opportunities to teach them about the wildlife we pursue, the environments they live in, the techniques and skills we work hard to develop in the field, and most importantly that the richest experiences in the wild are deepened when shared with others. 


But what about when we were not able to get into the field or onto the water?  Like many of you, the burdens of life steal more field time than we would like.  So my next question was how can I bring educational opportunities into our home that will provide my wife and I a chance to extend our kids’ outdoor learning?  As with most young families, there are a variety of toys, puzzles, and games scattered across our home.  Some of them encourage creative play individually or in a group setting, while others provide great opportunities to teach children functionally or about specific objects.  So what does the outdoor industry currently offer parents to help them teach their kids about the outdoor environments and wildlife they are so passionate about?  I made a trip to a few local outdoor retailers as well as the regional Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop, and I was disappointed to find the lack of products dedicated to outdoor learning.  


So my question to you as members of the outdoor community and parents to the future generation of outdoors men and women, would you find products dedicated to helping you as a parent introduce your young children (2-6 yrs) to the outdoors and all that it has to offer (landscape, wildlife, sporting, etc.) a valuable resource?  Would you find a line of products that help kindle a desire in your kids to explore the great outdoors and all that they are learning about through the educational toys worth purchasing?  I believe this resource would be of great value for my children as the number of distractions facing our young kids are overwhelming and carrying on the outdoors legacy becomes more difficult with each generation. 


My wife and I are currently developing a line of educational toys, puzzles, arts & crafts, etc. just for this specific purpose, to help families pass down a legacy that we believe enriches the lives of those who are fortunate enough to live and play in the outdoors.   Your feedback, the feedback from people just like us, is more greatly appreciated than we can attempt to express.  We would love to hear your thoughts on how you’ve introduced your kids to the great outdoors, what challenges you’ve had, and what your greatest memories are. 


Thank you again and we wish you and your family a great adventure wherever you may be!


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