Mom in Toyland Part 2- Melissa & Doug and Some Thoughts on Apartment Friendly Toys

As a city mom I dread two big holidays – Hannukah and my daughters’ birthday.  That’s horrible you think?  Yes it does sound really mean, downright Mommy Dearest material, but hear me out.  We live in about 1,000 square feet give or take a closet.  When I think of presents I think of space, or lack thereof.  At one point our coffee table consisted of two Exersaucers lined up in front of our couch.  (yes, twins means 2 Exersaucers)  Now that my girls are almost eight I have regained some degree of adultness in our living room, though if you peak inside our cabinets they’re filled with Polly Pockets, board games and arts and crafts supplies.  Still, when I think dream present I think gift card!

So, it was with a discerning city mom eye that I hit the Toy Fair.  I planned on visiting some booths for tried and true apartment favorites.  Melissa & Doug are top on that list.  In case you don’t know all about Melissa & Doug and their fabulous wooden, completely non-toxic and outstandingly well made toys let me start by saying this, Melissa & Doug made my daughters smart.  Well, maybe they didn’t make them smart (I’ll take credit for that and even share some with my husband) but Melissa & Doug helped us see how smart our daughters were.

When my girls were about 16 months old they didn’t have many words.  Maybe one or two, though they never stopped babbling.  “It’s because they’re twins,” everyone said, except our pediatrician who had twins and instead said, “get a speech evaluation.” But I digress…

One morning while in the holding area of a toddler gym waiting for our baby gym class to begin my daughters pulled out some peg puzzles from the cabinet.  They had never worked any puzzles before so I sat down and took the pieces out and showed them how to put one back.  They then proceeded to put all the pieces back together correctly in about 15 seconds.  No joke.   Soon our apartment was stacked miles high with puzzles.  They moved on to big jigsaw and floor puzzles and never looked back.  And it was all Melissa & Doug. (and yes they did start to talk and haven’t stopped ever since)

Going into the Melissa & Doug was like a trip down toddler memory lane.  The space puzzle!  The dogs!  The bugs!   We loved them all.  What are my favorite Melissa & Doug apartment friendly toys?  The small Kitchen.  LOVE IT.  Can’t do a whole kitchen in your place?  Get the awesomely real shopping cart and fill it with the wonderful play food. 

My go-to birthday present for girls age 4-6 has got to be the wooden magnetic dress up dolls.  The ballerina is always a big hit and comes in it’s own storage box.  A must.

How do you prep your kids for all of those IQ tests that NYC kindergartens require?  (yes, you are going to do this just admit it now) The wooden mosaic tiles of course.

And what are you going to take the playground this summer?  The new water and sand toys that are FABULOUS.  I’m not kidding.  I don’t usually care about one bucket versus another or any of that, but these are so special.  The soft bucket folds down to nothing, you can shove it in your bag or in the stroller basket.  The molds for making sand cupcakes are seriously cute and well made, and I loved the kid binoculars and magnifying glass for trips to the beach or park to help your curious kid be a nature scientist no matter where they live.

I could go on forever about the high quality, detailed dress up clothes, the basic wooden learning toys.  BUT, the thing I am MOST excited about it this amazingly cool kids ride-on carry on size suitcase called The TRUNKI!


You know what a pain it is to schlep your kid through the airport?  Especially if your child is now out of the stroller but still has loads of crap to carry on, or endlessly long security lines and walkways to the gate to get through?  This is nothing short of genius.  And it holds up to 200 pounds! 

I might buy one for myself and have my husband pull me through the airport as punishment for making me sit in the middle between my kids on the flight.  It’s coming out this Fall from Melissa & Doug, look for it.  I know I will be ordering 2.

By the way, my husband thinks this post sounds like a giant ad for Melissa & Doug so I guess I should mention that I in NO way received compensation for this post.  I really just love the company and these are the toys I wanted to share with my readers.  (though they did give me a small bucket of popcorn while I was in the booth!)

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One thought on “Mom in Toyland Part 2- Melissa & Doug and Some Thoughts on Apartment Friendly Toys

  1. I’m on board with your love for Melissa and Doug, they are a favorite in our household too.

    I love the
    -quality of materials and production
    -how they don’t whiz whir and bleep
    -they can take a beating from 2 boys
    -they encourage creative thinking and problem solving

    Out of all of our current Melissa and Doug toys the boy’s current favorites are:

    Locks and Latches (latches, locks, swivels, chains)
    http://budurl.com/zqvs

    Magnetic Bug Catching Game
    http://budurl.com/pj3v

    Whether you have boys or girls either would be a winner.

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