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Have more educational fun with Melissa & Doug!

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One of the things that I love about Melissa & Doug toys for young children is that many items come with a list of “Extension Activities” that work educational content into playtime, helping kids to pick up crucial skills organically. For instance, for the longtime favorite Melissa & Doug Grocery Store / Lemonade Stand, they suggest the following:

Have the child stock the grocery store with play food by filling each bin with by color. Have him/her group like color play foods together. The result will be a colorful feast for the eyes! Have child count the number of foods of each color.

Memory fun! Fill several bins in the grocery stand with one toy each. Then ask the child to study the stand. Ask the child to look away while you remove the item from one bin. Have child tell you what is missing!

Demonstrate math concepts using the plastic bins. Nest the bins into two unequal stacks. Ask the child to compare the stacks. Which is taller? (Which has more bins?) Which is shorter? (Which has fewer bins?) Discuss addition by making two small stacks and counting the bins, then combining the two stacks and counting the total. You can remove bins to explore subtraction too!

Naturally, every family will come up with their own ideas for how to extend the play value and educational value of every toy. And the Melissa & Doug Playtime Press blog is dedicated to collecting those ideas, so you can seek out fresh new fun every day! Here are a few of their great ideas:

And finally: don’t forget to just let the kids choose their own play activities sometimes – free play (unstructured, child-led playtime) is crucial for developing their creativity!

resource center buying guide toys for ages and stages

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