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Melissa and Doug offer great educational toys for children ranging in ages from baby to young teen.  They started making toys 20 years ago and have rocked the toy world since. They have nearly 1,000 unique toys for children of almost every age.  We were recently able to add to our Melissa and Doug collection when we purchased a few set for Miss Monk and her new at home Tot School, they are a huge hit with her.

So much in fact that she refused to come watch WallE during family movie night Friday because she was to busy in her room playing with them. Now when a toddler turns down movie time for toys that don't beep, light, move automatically or have buttons you know that the toy is a HUGE hit.

We purchased the Magnetic Wooden Alphabet and the Lacing Beads in a Box set. When they arrived Friday evening and Miss Monk saw what was in the big brown box she couldn't contain her excitement. She has been talking all week about starting 'pot school' and knew that these toys were for that purpose.  She begged me to let her dive into them early and I couldn't resist. The colors are so bright and vibrant that they spark a child's curiosity just by looking at them.

Just look at these lacing blocks. The colors are just amazing. The blocks are made from real wood, like from when were children.  You can tell with out a doubt that these are going to last a while. As you can see not only are they good for lacing but they are great for stacking (or making volcano's as Miss Monk calls it). That is one of the wonderful things about pretty much all the Melissa and Doug toys they encourage open ended play.

The laces for the beading set are thick long laces that are easy for little hands to handle. Same with the beads/blocks. The holes are large enough to make it easy to learn those fine motor skills of pushing a string through a hole. I showed Miss Monk one time  how to do it and she was lacing like a pro for the next hour.

The Lacing Beads in a Box set comes with two laces in different colors, cubes numbered 1-10 (in numeric numbers and in dots like on dice), and 4 each of small squares, circles, cylinders and stars. Each bead has a overall color theme and then additional colors on them.  I know I keep talking about the colors but seriously I can't get over how pretty they are.

The Magnetic Alphabet is just as a well made toy as the lacing beads.  They are slightly over-sized so younger children can't accidentally swallow them and a little thicker then other brands so they don't break easily. Another great feature is the magnetic backing, instead of one or two small magnets that can fall off after being used by a wild child (aka Miss Monk) the entire back of each letter has a thin magnetic layer on it. There is a clear plastic lid that slides in and out of the box for storage. Each set comes with 52 letters, 26 capital and 26 lower case letters.

Front of the letter
Back of the letter

They stick well to any metal surface and are easy for a small child to pick and up play with.

Melissa and Doug also have a ton of other toys for the older children who are past fine motor skills and learning their letters.

Check out these items that are great for older children:

See and Spell $19.99


Advanced Subject Learning Mats $12.99

Folding Medieval Castle $99.99 (also available as a Fairy Castle, castle figurines are sold separately)

Beginning Band Set $24.99

As you can see they a wide assortment of toys for everyone, trains, dolls, puppets, outside toys (think water play and gardening) and even room decor.

I highly recommend any Melissa and Doug toy for any child. They encourage playing on a whole new level and help promote that all important imagination.

You can purchase Melissa and Doug toys at these retailers: Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, ToysRUs, Masterminds and many many more. I know you can also get some of them at CSNstores.com.

Right now on their website you can get your items  delivered by the 24th when you order by midnight on the 21 with their $9.99 express shipping on purchases over $75.

Do you have any Melissa and Doug toys? If so which ones do your children like the most?

*Disclaimer. I purchased these toy sets for my (in this case Miss Monk's) personal use and to review. I was not compensated in any way for this review or asked to write a review by the Melissa and Doug company. All thoughts and opinions are as always 100% my own.

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