No child is ready to climb Mount Rainier on their first outdoor adventure—you have to walk first before you can hike!
Parents and caregivers who want to inspire a love of nature in their kids and are looking for ways to engage with their child through outdoor adventures should consider the new line of toys created by Melissa & Doug and the National Park Foundation that we recently launched. Sometimes, all it takes is that one special toy to unlock a lifelong interest or inspire kids on a path that will change their lives forever.
To that end, we’re turning the Toy Spotlight onto one of those new National Park Foundation toys: the Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Gear Play Set! This awesome outdoor pretend play set, which includes picture discs, binoculars to view the Grand Canyon scenes, and a host of pretend hiking accessories, will inspire imaginations and an appreciation for the natural world.
Playing outdoors and directly interacting with nature has proven benefits for children and young kids: It helps make kids curious, builds confidence, inspires imagination, helps relieve stress, teaches kids responsibility, and gets them moving, too. Because of those many benefits for kids, it made perfect sense for Melissa & Doug to partner with the National Park Foundation for this toy collection, as their mission to sustain our national parks aligns with the goals of our purpose-driven brand.
Read on to get the scoop on why your kids will love the Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Gear Play Set!
Why Kids Will Love this Pretend Play Outdoor Adventure Set
Play Basics: Introduce kids 3 and older to the wonder of Grand Canyon National Park and the joy of hiking with pretend play hiking belt and gear designed for kids and their imaginations!
Playful Details: Take an imagination-filled hike through Grand Canyon National Park! Play hiking essentials (including a working flashlight for night hikes) store on a sturdy, adjustable belt, sized to fit kids 3 and older. Rotate four photo disks in the play binoculars to see canyon scenes and native animals and plants—five beautiful color photos per disk bring the park to life right before kids’ eyes! Slide ID cards into the wooden play “tracker” to identify in English and Spanish the native plants and animals you see! Melissa & Doug® is proud to support the National Park Foundation with a million-dollar minimum donation over three years. The Melissa & Doug® National Park Foundation Collection is designed to inspire kids to discover the wonder of America’s national parks. Together, we’re helping protect our parks for present and future generations!
Age: 3+ years
Parents Will Love This Feature: The gear belt holds everything, including a double-sided map and field guide, play first aid supplies, a wooden energy bar, and safety whistle. 2 AA batteries required for the flashlight (not included).
Who Will Love This: The kid who loves to: stomp through puddles; save worms; go bird watching; brings home leaves, rocks, and sticks; climbs trees; can name every animal at the zoo…if they’ve shown an interest in nature, and you want them to take the next step towards being a conservationist, this is the kind of toy to inspire them. Unstructured, open-ended pretend play will allow kids to unlock whatever interests them, and gives them the time and space to explore those interests in their own way and at their own pace.
Skills at Play: Gross & fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, imagination, storytelling
Pretend play has been shown to offer a number of developmental benefits for kids: It helps improve imagination, narrative, and storytelling abilities; expand their view of the world, and how they interact with it; process feelings and emotions; and serves as practice for real-world scenarios that they’ll face as grow up and head to school. The Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Gear Play Set includes everything kids will need for a pretend play hiking adventure, and inspires them to keep exploring the natural world around them.
Get the Play Started: Encourage your kids to explore the great outdoors and have fun with the Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Gear Play Set using these creative play prompts:
- Go on a nature-themed scavenger hunt
- Have your child tell you a story about each scene in the photo disks
- Ask your child to lead you on a nature hike and explain what they see
Plays Well With: The toys in our National Parks Foundation Collection! You can also mix & match with other Melissa & Doug toys, such as:
Play catching games with two bear paw gloves with self-stick hook-and-loop tabs. Plush fish, moths, and berries—some of grizzlies’ favorite snacks—also stick to the snouts of two plush strap-on grizzly bear heads for hands-free pick-up games and exciting role playing.
Slide a photo card into the wooden play camera, and click the shutter button to activate the flash. Press the buttons on the back to hear three nature and animal sounds per card (sounds are unique to each of the six photos)!
The Buzz: “My boys have had a blast with this hiking playset. It has brought hours of fun and exploration! Everything in this set was perfect for them to be an explorer at the Grand Canyon! Their favorite item from this is the flashlight and the different clips that go inside. They love shining the light on the wall to show the amazing pictures. Now, they want to take a trip to the Grand Canyon!" —LizzyA89, in a recent five-star review on MelissaAndDoug.com
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