A small innovative toy maker recently caught our eye: Melissa and Doug. They started out in the basement making hand-crafted puzzles and have since grown to produce over 600 unique toys and games for children. Even with this fantastic surge in growth, Melissa and Doug are staying close to their original dream of producing high quality and uniquely crafted toys that will stand the test of time.
Melissa and Doug have been rewarded by the toy community for their impeccable values too. They have been honored as Vendor of the Year by retailers such as Toys R Us and FAO Schwarz. Their toys and games have also been named “Toys of the Year” by Child Magazine, FamilyFun Magazine and Parenting Magazine.
Now it’s time to point out our personal favorites!
Melissa and Doug Puzzles
Melissa and Doug’s Puzzles are the heart of their toy empire, and for good reason. These puzzles are their original toys, still made with high quality wooden pieces for the toddler puzzles, and extra thick cardboard for the more advanced puzzles. Wooden toys like puzzles for toddlers are a great choice for gifts because they are sure to be a hit with babies and parents. Remember that wood is a naturally bacteria-free material, so even if the puzzles just get chewed on, everyone is happy.
Melissa and Doug puzzles for older children are just as fabulous. Ranging from 50 to 500 piece jigsaw pieces, these are perfect as floor puzzles or on a table. Spilled the orange juice at snack time? No worries, all these puzzles are easily washable with a damp cloth to keep them looking bright and glossy.
Melissa and Doug Baby Toys
We are excited to see Melissa and Doug’s new collections of premium baby toys. Their toddler collection is a great spin on all the classic discovery toys, using hand-crafted fun designs. These baby toys are all made from select hardwood and finished with non-toxic dyes.
Rattles, walkers, clutching toys, teethers, and ring sets by Melissa and Doug are classy editions of these traditional baby favorites.
Melissa and Doug Arts and Crafts
This is where Melissa and Doug’s core message of safe fun for kids really takes off. Packaged into fun kits are dozens of great rainy-day activities. Coloring, etching and making fun scrap books have never been more easily organized.
We fell in love with Melissa and Doug Alphabet Stamp Set. Crafted with wood stamps with both lower and upper case letters, children can start their own printing press of stamps by selecting their favorite words and phrases. What a creative educational toy! Kids are enthusiastic to learn their alphabet so they can make original stamp art.
Our hint for less motivated children: set this kit out with the sparkle and glue kit too. Just wait, their stamps and messages will be the finest the neighborhood has ever seen.
But our all-time favorite is the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Easel and Art Set. This is one of the most convenient art kits on the market, coming complete with a roll of easel paper, 4 spill proof paint cups, 4 jumbo easy-grip paint brushes, 10 colors of poster paint, 10 giant chalk sticks, and a felt eraser that works on both chalk and dry-erase surfaces.
Our advice: lay down some newspaper or an art tarp first! This art easel with its multi-media bonanza will get any child’s creative juices flowing.
Melissa and Doug Dollhouses and Miniatures
For children aged 6 and up, a dollhouse by Melissa and Doug can be the perfect gift. Their dollhouses are like all of their toys: hand-crafted, made with quality materials, and guaranteed long lasting fun. We tested them ourselves, and came away mightily impressed.
The details are exquisite. For instance, the Melissa and Doug Dollhouse living room set includes two real upholstered chairs and a couch with tiny pillows. (their 1/12 scale pillow is almost too adorable for words!) A complete Victorian Dollhouse is available too, with hand crafted period furniture ready for play.
For boys, we recommend the Melissa and Doug Fold and Go Barn. This easy-to-carry model set comes with seven durable animals for an imaginative play of farm life. We love the simplicity of this set, which makes it appropriate for 3 years and up.
With 600 toys and growing, Melissa and Doug’s toy collection is much bigger than we could outline here. This guide hopefully has helped by illustrating the major toy groups that this up and coming toy maker has set its sights on.