Melissa & Doug: Fun, stimulating toys for toddlers on up
Classic toys can be so much more than a distraction for your little ones as you try to get a few things done around the house. For young children especially, playing with toys that align with their stage of development helps support some of their newly emerging skill sets.
Melissa & Doug is a company that offers innovative products with just this in mind. Snow’s carries an extensive selection of their toys, games and puzzles for children of all ages, all made with durable, quality materials. Melissa & Doug toys are of course, fun (that’s a must!), and both the company and many of their individual products have achieved national and international acclaim. Just scan the snapshot to the right, and you’ll see that they are no slouch
So when you’re looking for the perfect toy for your child, grandchild or favorite small person, here is a short list of some that will fit right in to their stage of life…they grow up so fast, don’t they?
It’s an understatement to say that a lot happens in this first year. They may not be able to communicate with words yet, but babies certainly love to interact by looking and listening. Good toy choices for young infants are ones they can grab onto (and put in their mouths!), and ones that stimulate them visually with color.
Once they reach 12 months or so, they are on the go! Whether that’s by rolling, crawling, bouncing, standing, walking or even running, 1-year-olds love toys that keep them moving. Toys that help them use their large muscles and some of their developing fine motors skills are great, too: simple puzzles and toys with dials, knobs and buttons are always a hot. Some kids this age are also starting to understand words and simple concepts, so you can even delve into the realm of make-pretend with dolls and puppets.
Linking Monkey $7.99
Monkey around with this silly simian at home or on the go. This easy-grasp toy with colorful, textured teething rings is an adorable first friend. It rattles, squeaks, and crinkles as babies grasp, squeeze and shake, encouraging important motor skills practice in a playful way. The rings can hook onto a stroller or other toys for safekeeping. Durable constructed of high-quality fabrics and plastic, this machine-washable baby toy promises lots of smiles and happy playtime!
Rainbow Stacker $8.99
Award Winner: Baby Talk Magazine: Top 22 Toys All Babies Love 2004
Talk about a classic childhood toy! All the colors of the rainbow are represented by these eight smooth, easy-grasp wooden pieces. Stack them on the solid-wood base, designed with rocking edges for safe and intriguing play.
Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks $11.99
Brightly colored animals and familiar objects illustrate the letters of the alphabet on these cardboard blocks. Nested, the ten vibrant blocks fit into the included carrying case. Stacked, they form a tower nearly three feet high!
Pull Along Zoo Animals $19.99
A giraffe, elephant and zebra, can easily become a ze-phant, an ele-raffe or a gir-bra when the wooden pieces are rearranged to form creative new critters! This popular wooden pull-toy features three interlocking mix-and-match animals on wheels.
The language part of the brain has been turned on, only to compete with the toddler’s constant desire to jump, tumble, and perhaps even scare you as they catapult without fear off the couch. One way to stimulate the non-physical side of your 2-year-old is with toys that encourage him or her to solve problems, build and create.
Vehicles Sound Puzzle $12.99
Place a vehicle puzzle piece correctly in the puzzle board and listen to it toot, beep or rumble! Eight great sounds and a full-color, matching picture beneath the eight wooden pieces. Available in a farm theme, too.
Animal Sorting Truck $19.99
Animal rescue rangers to the rescue! With this rugged safari truck, two cheerful people are ready to zoom across the savannah to help their animal friends. The alligator, zebra, rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and lion fit into the truck’s sides through die-cut slots, so this exciting toy is perfect for imaginative play and fine motor skills . . . and much more! Lift and remove the cargo door to unload the colorful animals, then count, sort and stack the solid-wood pieces before loading the truck and securing the door in its track. One male and one female ranger fit in the cab of the truck, or come out to tend to the animals on the preserve. Play ideas are included to reinforce basic skills and inspire creative play.
PRESCHOOLERS and KINDERGARTENERS
Here come the questions! Children this age tend to be quite inquisitive, and they love to test things out. More challenging puzzles (20+ pieces) are great, as well as toys that can be sorted and organized by some common denominator. Building and pretending are always age-appropriate but can get a little more elaborate, especially as their fine motor skills continue to develop. Drawing, painting and simple musical instruments are also all great choices for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
U.S.A. Map Floor Puzzle – 51 Pieces $12.99
Award Winner: Oppeneheim Toy Award: Gold Award 2005
Geography comes to life in this cardboard floor puzzle, featuring 51 pieces cut to the shape of the state or region. 2′ x 3′ when assembled, the extra-thick pieces feature an Easy-Clean surface to keep them looking like new. Kids will have fun learning the states on this colorful, informative map puzzle.
Fold & Go Princess Castle $47.99
This charming wooden castle, with convenient carrying handle, is perfect for your little princess. Its beautifully detailed exterior opens easily to reveal a royal palace furnished with four pieces of regal furniture and two horses. The prince and princess who live here are sure to live happily ever after!
Whittle World Wooden Plane & Luggage Carrier Set $24.99
Award Winner: 2012 Family Fun Magazine Toy of the Year (T.O.Y.)
Designed to fuel imaginative play, this charming airport-themed set contains a mini world of travel! Children will love to explore the moving parts and interchangeable pieces, including three wooden vehicles, four pieces of luggage and five wooden people. Every piece is created with the highest standards of quality and design. An in-depth play guide offers specially created activities for building key skills, sparking creative narratives and inspiring young imaginations to reach great “altitudes”!
See & Spell $19.99
Complete a puzzle to spell a word! This handsome wooden puzzle set helps children gain familiarity with the letters of the alphabet and their sounds as kids develop a sight-reading vocabulary. The letters are also wonderful for stenciling and lots of learning games. Over 60 colorful wooden letters fit into the eight two-sided cutout boards to spell three- and four-letter words. All this spelling and fine motor fun fits into one compact wooden storage case!
Band in a Box $24.99
Musical instrument set includes a tambourine, cymbals, maracas, clacker, tone blocks, and a triangle. It’s everything preschoolers need to form a kids’ marching band, launch a solo career, or just enjoy exploring music and sounds! Band in a Box includes 10 pieces, plus a sturdy wooden storage crate.
EARLY SCHOOL AGE (6+)
Support learning in a way kids will love, with creative art supplies and games that make children this age think and communicate.
Stamp Marker Activity Pad (assorted colors) $4.99
Use colorful stamp markers to complete 20 activities and games! Each activity pad includes mazes, connect-the-dots pictures, matching games, patterns to follow and counting challenges. The stamp markers come in four colorful shapes – orange star, green frog, red car and blue fish – and work on regular paper, too! Makes a perfect party favor, and an ideal rainy-day activity for girls and boys.
Flip-to-Win Hangman $12.99
A classic word game with a twist! Kids will love thinking up words to stump their opponent, or taking their best guess to win it all! Includes one Hangman game board with erasable whiteboard, self-storing dry-erase marker and eraser. No loose pieces – ideal for travel!
100-pc. Puzzle: Golden Retriever with Pups $7.99
Five floppy golden retrievers pose for a loving family portrait on this extra-thick 100-piece cardboard puzzle. Bright, sturdy pieces will withstand many uses. Made in the USA.
For the full selection of Melissa & Doug toys, plus hundreds of others, visit Snow’s at 22 Main Street in Orleans.