Disclaimer: I received a free product for my post! These views are my own and were not at all influenced by the party who gave me this opportunity..
We received the Caterpillar Gears Toddler Toy, Farm Animals Touch and Feel Puzzle, Turn & Tell Wooden Clock, and Water WOW! Alphabet-ON the GO Travel Activity Pad and I want to share a little about each.
What I Love
We have been a Melissa & Doug fan for years. Their toys, are always great quality and so thoughtful and these are no exception. They really have a knack for getting kids excited to learn.
The Caterpillar Gears toy for my toddler is so much fun. While simple, it offers a lot of great learning opportunities like fine motor skills putting the gears on the pegs, understanding gear reactions (when they are all touching, they all move), and even matching gear colors to the peg colors. The board is a solid wood color with butterflies painted on it and the gears are a sturdy plastic. As your child grows, you can also use this for teaching counting, addition, subtraction, pairing, and even multiplication. My older son always has an interest in his baby brother’s toys, so this works out well.
The Farm Animals Touch and Feel Puzzle is really cute. It is a wooden puzzle with four pieces–a horse, a sheep, a cow, and a duck. Each piece has a fuzzy textured patch on it for your child to feel. The puzzle is easy for kids to put together and chunky enough for them to grasp onto easily. This is a great toy for teaching fine motor skills, matching, problem solving, and sensory skills. My little one really likes it and for some reason enjoys licking the furry parts…
The Turn & Tell Wooden Clock is awesome. There are really so many great features on this clock and are a great way to introduce time to your child. The clock hands are color-coded to match the time flashcards so they can discern between the hour and the minute hand. When the clock hands move, they actually turn a little dial on the inside so your child can open a little window and see if their time is correct. They can also check to see if it is correct by looking at the back of the time flash cards for a picture of a clock with hands in the proper positions. To make it even easier, there is a place to store the cards on the back of the clock and a slot at the top to put the card your child has to work on. It even comes with a parent guide! Definitely one of our favorites.
Water WOW! Alphabet-ON the GO Travel Activity is a fun activity board that helps your child learn letters and writing. It comes with a pen that you fill with water and the water reacts with the paper on the pages to show colors. They can trace uppercase and lowercase letters, uncover a hidden picture of a word starting with that letter, and uncover the word that matches the picture. On the last page, there is a lined section where your child can practice writing freehand. The water dries up quickly and the pages go back to being white so it can be enjoyed over and over again. It is spiral bound and sized perfectly for traveling. The package also has a place to store the water pen so it stays with the pad.
What I’m Not Huge On
The gears toy is super cute and there is really nothing to change, though I would love to see a version in the future with some gears that are different sizes so we can add one more educational spin to playing. I also think it would be cute to include a caterpillar somewhere–maybe the stages of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly (caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly) rather than just all butterflies.
There is really nothing to change with the touch and feel puzzle. It is simple, but that is perfect for the age group it is intended for.
The wooden clock is super cool and sturdy and there is really nothing I would do differently except maybe have both the hour and the minute hand move together like a regular clock, but my son moves them individually anyway.
The WOW pad is a really neat way to get kids interested in letters and writing, but we did come across a few small issues. The first is that, if your child flies through the book quickly, the pages do not have time to dry and will not dry when the book is closed. Since he had multiple wet pages, we had to stand up the book and put toy cars in between to hold the pages open until they dried. The other thing I noticed is that the brush tip is difficult to control as it bends easily and the water spreads all over. I would have preferred a felt tip. He still is learning how to write the letters, but they are extra sloppy compared to using a regular felt-tip marker or crayon. I also really would have loved if there were arrows so kids know the steps to writing the letters. My son has a hard time with this and arrows are a great reminder.
Overall, these toys are all really neat. They are made very well so they will last us for quite some time and they offer some great teaching opportunities for you and fun self-guided learning for the kids.
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-Which of these Melissa & Doug toys do you want to get first?