I was not asked to do a product review for Melissa and Doug, but since I love their toys I thought I would do one anyway!
My 2-year-old daughter received 3 Melissa and Doug toys for Christmas: Pirate Treasure Chest, Pizza Party set, and Alphabet Nesting & Stacking blocks. The Pirate Treasure Chest I ordered directly from Melissa & Doug, the Pizza Set I snagged on Fab.com, and the nesting blocks I picked up at our local Kohls.
By far the Treasure Chest is her favorite! It came exactly as described. The chest is bigger than I expected and truly looks weathered. They were very generous with the amount of "gold doubloons" they included. I never counted when the toy was first opened, but the largest amount we were able to find after she played for a few hours was 13. She loves the hidden compartment in the bottom, however it is a little difficult to get the coins out. Amazingly that doesn't stop her from putting them in the compartment and taking them out. Once in awhile she gets frustrated and asks us to get them out for her. She's not quite sure what to do with the Pirate flag/bandanna or the eye patch, but she likes to try them on every now and again. And the doubloons have not been in the velvety bag they included since Christmas. (She's a champ when it comes to losing things.) The toy itself says ages 6 and up, however I personally think the pieces are big enough that she will not choke if she, for whatever reason, tried to put them in her mouth. The doubloons are about the size of a half dollar, and otherwise there are no small pieces included.
The chest is a little top heavy, especially when empty, but she doesn't care and neither do I. The only thing negative that I can really think of, and it really doesn't deter from the quality of the toy, is that when the lid slams down it is REALLY loud. I would like to see Melissa and Doug offer replacement pieces in case things get lost, or if in the future her brother would like to play pirate with her. One eye patch and one Jolly Roger flag/bandana won't cut it then.
Her next favorite is the Pizza Party set. This toy was rated for children ages 3 and up. However, I got it for her because I figured since she loves eating pizza, and screams "pizza" whenever she sees a commercial for it on TV, she'd probably love playing with a pizza toy too. It's absolutely adorable! I personally love how many pieces it came with, and they all Velcro to the pizza pieces, and the pizza pieces Velcro together at the sides. Unfortunately the toy is on top of our refrigerator because there is no cover to the box they came in. (Please Melissa and Doug, make covers for your toys like these! Even a sliding plexiglass cover would work perfectly and you could still see the product.) So, that means at any given time I could have close to 60+ pieces strewn anywhere in my house, and because the toy is so nice I really do not want to lose them. It's also a great teaching tool, and I'm looking forward to teaching her fractions with it. Melissa and Doug created another winning toy with this one!
The last toy I got was the Alphabet Nesting and Stacking blocks. I'm going to be very honest here and say I'm truly not impressed. I had some Kohls Cash leftover and managed to get them for free, which I thought was great. But, it turns out that's what I would have wanted to have paid for them in the first place. Nothing. In my opinion they are not worth the money, especially not the $11 they retail for on the Melissa and Doug website. They are geared for children ages 2 and up, but I know I'm not the only parent who has a child that likes to peel things. Within the first 48 hours she figured out that the "blocks" were pretty much just covered in stickers... that were not glued down very well. Now most of the blocks have half peeled off stickers. They show wear really quickly too. She's not the gentlest child, but I figured that these would hold up well enough for her to enjoy for at least a year. If she keeps playing with them the way she is, they will be in the trash within a month.
I do like the concept, but really wish they were not cardboard. Thin, painted plywood would have been much better or at the very least the stickers need to be glued down better. Aesthetically they are beautiful! The pictures are great, the letters are huge, and she really likes that they all fit inside one another. Another positive is that they are relatively sturdy. She put her entire 32lbs of weight on one of them and stood up... and it held her! However I kind of panicked since they are only cardboard.
Overall I love Melissa and Doug toys. I chose toys that I thought are gender neutral. I think it's wonderful that they produce toys like that since I have both a girl and a boy who will grow into those toys. We are not a very "pink and princess-y" type house, and look for toys that do not limit their imaginations by assigning colors and themes to a specific gender. I will probably always recommend the Melissa and Doug brand! I even picked up their Pasture Pals (set of 12 horses) for one of my nieces on Fab.com. I think she'll love it!
*I was not in any way sponsored or asked to write a review for Melissa & Dog. All opinions are 100% my own. All photos are linked to the products or the Melissa and Doug home page.
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