We all seem to want to promote playtime. We want our children to spend less time on tablets to promote playtime, yet there can also be some struggles that come along for the ride. These Melissa and Doug toys for kids will help.
With the highest regard, this was a sponsored post from 2018 with Melissa and Doug that continues to be updated. All opinions are my own, and I am thrilled to collaborate with their team on a conversation around The Power of Play. You can read all about Melissa and Doug’s mission here.
After spending a week in 2018 in NYC with Melissa and Doug, I’ve collaborated with a group of play experts, influencers, and moms who feel overloaded to discuss ways we can #takebackchildhood.
I’m here to share all that we talked about and possible solutions to protect and promote more playtime in the home – both indoors and out. This list is made of Melissa and Doug toys for kids.
TOYS FOR KIDS
After attending the NYToy Fair, I updated this list with the best toys for kids in 2023-2024. Open-ended toys your child will grow with.
Have you ever met a caregiver who doesn’t feel overloaded?
We live in a world where everything moves at a swift pace. Kids are taught to read before age 5, homework comes home daily, and weekends are packed with scheduled sports and celebrations. Oy!
So the big question is, how can we protect and promote playtime?
You can begin to transition screen time in a couple of different ways.
Begin weekday mornings with a Breakfast Invitation.
Use a digital clock as a visual to show the new screen time. Add the new time on a Post-It above the hour on the screen. This strategy creates a visual for children to understand what time they can watch a show.
Share with your children that play is important, and show them you care by modeling some screen-free time yourself.
Why Child-led Learning is so Important for Development
“The most powerful learning experiences often happen when children are simply given the space to work things out on their own – to come up with their unique way to occupy a rainy day, to finish a difficult puzzle, to fill a blank page with their ideas or to resolve a dispute over who goes first in a board game.” Melissa and Doug
Children need to play to navigate through life.
After asking you on Instagram, “What are your struggles when it comes to playing?” the majority of responses had to do with finding ways for multiple ages to work together and how to resolve conflict.
You also wanted to know how to minimize screens and encourage more independent playtime at home.
And it happens! When children argue, breaking from play and transitioning to the TV is much easier. Children are quiet, and peace resumes – I get that and can fall into the same trap.
How to Help Children Navigate Conflict
But some problems may reside in that solution.
Did you know that when children argue over who gets to play what, when, and how, they navigate how to negotiate and understand different points of view?
For one, working through a disagreement helps children become more empathetic and helps them understand how to come together as a team. You get a little of what you want, I get a little back, and the game continues. The game abruptly ends when someone upsets a friend in an entertaining game. With practice, children will learn how to problem-solve and collaborate on a new plan for play.
So keep practicing play! Your children will soon become experts in figuring things out on their own.
Phrases to Help to Navigate Arguments
- Let’s make a plan.
- How can I help?
- What supplies do you need to get started?
- Do you have a problem to solve?
- What if we tried it this way?
Melissa and Doug Toys for Kids
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How sweet is this pineapple stacker? Your baby discovers sounds and textures with this adorable plush toy.
You know it is a popular toy collection when there are many ways to play! This wooden town house is another addition to the Go Tots bus. (spoiler: there are others in the collection as well!)
When I attended the NY Toy Fair, I saw this work-and-play desk and knew it needed to be added. The woman sharing it with me said her older one-year-old carries it everywhere.
I played with this interactive dashboard in the Melissa and Doug showroom at the NY Toy Fair and was amazed by it! You can even record your voice for take-off.
The meat cooks! Well, okay. It doesn’t actually cook. But it makes it look like it did! I saw this grill set in the Melissa and Doug showroom, and she mentioned that it cannot stay in stock. Families are loving this!
If you want a simple vanity, this beauty salon set is new from Melissa and Doug.
Ice Cream Set
I scream, you scream, we all scream for this ice cream set! – You know I had to go there. We adore this ice cream set and have used it for years—a great toy for kids to break the ice with new houseguests and engage in conversation.
If the ice cream set had a family, this would be it. A pretend ice cream maker, register, and more additions to the traditional ice cream set exist. – Both options are a big win IMO.
This is the BEST condiment set. My boys still use this as they prep food for their stuffed animals. (yep, even my seven-year-old) It doesn’t take up a lot of space and has all the essentials.
In addition to the ice cream set, this snack and sandwich counter is a hit. Place an order and watch role-playing come alive.
The joy this toy brings is contagious. Nothing screams, “I’m a big kid!” like being able to role-play slicing and cutting up fruit. Toddlers and preschoolers feel confident and proud when they prepare imaginary food for a parent, stuffed animal, or themselves. We love this toy!
Anyone want some pizza? Like the ice cream set, this pizza set is a fun way to greet out-of-town guests and break the ice with conversations. We’ve had and played with this play food set for years.
Add this to your list if you do not yet have it. This little cart has been with us for a while, and there have been years of tossing it in the trunk before heading to the grocery store. This cart gave my child a “job” to do as we shopped together. It kept him focused and created some fun memories of his childhood. You can also keep the cart at home, watch your child fill it up, and transport items around the house. Excellent toy for gross motor, expanding vocabulary, and developing the art of transporting. Winner, winner!
Shout out to our first set of unit blocks!! You know this set has our hearts.
This block set is a must. Block play encourages creativity, explores balance, tests spatial awareness, and reinforces weight. Sadly, schools do not get time to integrate as much block time as they have in the past. Allow your child to share in the joy of block play at home for years to come.
This sweet caterpillar toy had a home in our playroom for years! All three practiced recognizing their colors as we built, played, and twirled the gears.
A sweet sensory toy for babies. Explore textures, colorful fins, and hidden pictures behind each gill. Rely on this fish to help pass the time in the stroller rides and tummy time.
We first purchased this soft book in 2015. This is a flexible soft baby book to toss in the diaper bag. Makes a great book to flip through at restaurants or the Dr. office.
Stacking blocks are often overlooked but a very valuable toy for child development. Toddlers need to hold a steady hand and balance as they place each block on top of the other. Grab this toy for your child or the next toddler birthday gift.
Children are natural-born caregivers. Allow them to explore their inner veterinarian as they welcome each animal into the “office.” A loveable way to play!
I love the simple creativity of this dollhouse. It’s the perfect height for small children and allows imaginary play. Imaginary play is another thing that can be cut short once kids hit school age. Allow your children the time to dive deep into imaginary play and discover ways to express their emotions with this dollhouse.
Like some other toys we mentioned on our toy lists, this is a great toy to grab and go. Toss it in your bag for your next Dr. appointment, lunch out, or even a Breakfast Invitation. There are 14 scenes to find details and match with coordinating stickers. Great for hand-eye coordination!
Anything on wheels is a hit over here! The boys played with these cars as toddlers, and the driving carried on right into the older years. If your children love cars and trucks, they will love this set!
We have two of these costumes, and there is nothing cuter than seeing the two older boys all suited upcoming around the corner, ready to put out a fire. They can even dress in this one! Melissa and Doug have a great collection of role-playing costumes. Another favorite is the Race Car Driver shown here.
Looking for a Breakfast Invitation that has already created? This Magnetic Pattern Block Kit is sure to be a hit! Start with one card for each child. When completed, show them the other fun options. School-aged children will later focus on how multiple shapes come together for a larger object, so this pattern block kit is an important tool to expose young children.
Bead sequencing is an enjoyable way to begin following two-step directions. Gather the beads you need to create the same sequence on the wooden card. This set is well-made and has also lasted for years in our home.
Aren’t Melissa and Doug toys great? They promote playtime in our home every day.
Igniting imagination and promoting play is as essential to Melissa and Doug as it is to all of us! Let’s ignite imagination and promote playtime at home – both indoors and outdoors. Melissa and Doug toys for kids are forever toys.
More Toys Lists for Kids
Frequently Asked Questions
Melissa and Doug toys for kids are so popular because they are open-ended, timeless toys. Melissa and Doug toys last for years and are played with multiple ages. Toddlers can be gifted the ice cream set and will most likely still play with the set at five.
The metal shopping cart, ice cream set, stacking blocks, vet set and wooden unit blocks are some of the best Melissa and Doug toys. These toys are timeless and are played with from a variety of ages and stages.
Melissa and Doug have baby toys such as the Flip Fish and Whose Feet soft book. They also have stacking blocks and a rainbow caterpillar color toy for toddlers. You can find a Melisssa and Doug toy for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids.