Melissa & Doug toys for toddlers are some of the best out there when it comes to language development and learning.
I personally used these toys with my own children when they were young. Melissa and Doug toys were also guaranteed to be in my Speech Pathologist toolbox back when I was still practicing.
These toys are well thought out with the goal of learning through play being at the forefront!
If you are looking for affordable, well made educational toys for toddlers then you have come to the right place.
These toys are not listed in any particular order.
Be sure to find out how each toy can be used to strengthen your toddler’s vocabulary, language development and learning!
Top 10 Melissa & Doug Toys For Toddler Language Development
Wooden Latches Barn
I love this barn because children can learn so many new skills all while playing.
At first, it may be difficult for a toddler to successfully and independently open the doors of the barn. But as his fine motor skills strengthen through practice, opening the doors will become a breeze!
Below are just a few language/vocabulary skills your child will practice through play with this wooden barn play set:
♦ Recognizing and naming animals (a cow, horse, pig and goat come with the barn)
♦ Color recognition
♦ Animal sounds
♦ Prepositions (in, out, on, off, up, down)
♦ Sentence building
If you would like even more ideas for using a farm playset to build language click here.
Catch & Count Wooden Fishing Game
Unfortunately the reviews for this toy are somewhat mixed.
But I have seen it and used it and disagree with most of them.
Most complaints have to do with this game being “boring”.
If you want a toy with flashy lights and sounds then of course this one might not seem very entertaining. But the toy itself is not meant to entertain.
The only negative reviews I would agree with is that the spinner isn’t the greatest.
Honestly, I never used it. Have you ever tried to get a toddler to spin a spinner, even one that works? It’s not that easy.
What I did instead was write the numbers 1-5 on cardstock and cut them out. Then I placed them in a bag and let the child pick a number. Then she was asked to “catch” the fish with the matching number (there are 2 of each).
Here are some ways you can use this toy for language development and learning:
♦ Fine motor skills – this is worked on naturally when your child is trying to wind the string.
♦ Turn taking – use language such as “my turn”, “your turn”
♦ Counting – there are 10 fish in total but they are labeled 1-5.
♦ Matching numbers
♦ Color recognition – ask your child to catch the “red” fish and you can catch the “blue” fish, for example.
Jumbo Extra-Thick Cardboard Building Blocks
My kids loved these blocks.
One word of caution before I get into any more detail, they do take up room.
I thought they might be easy to disassemble, but you won’t want to do that on a regular basis.
The set comes with 40 blocks in 3 different sizes.
These blocks are really sturdy. My kids built a balance beam and I was able to stand on it!
Kids love how big these are and that makes knocking a tower over so much more fun!
Skills your child can develop with these blocks include:
♦ Gross motor – watch as your child builds a wall and then jumps over it
♦ Math concepts – 2 blue blocks pushed together are the same size as one red block
♦ Basic concepts – big, little
♦ Colors – red, blue, yellow
♦ Prepositions – on, off, over, under
♦ Combining words – big block, little block, red block, etc.
Regular blocks such as the Melissa and Doug Wooden Building Block Set are a good option if space is limited.
To find out all of the learning opportunities that arise with a block set click here.
Service Station Parking Garage
Vehicle playsets are a wonderful toy for learning through play.
This service station/parking garage is nice and compact making it perfect for toddlers.
Here are just a few skills your child can learn:
♦ Vocabulary – car wash, roller, gas pump, garage, elevator, gate
♦ Prepositions and concepts – up, down, top, bottom, open, close, in, out
♦ Fine motor skills (small gas pump fits into cars)
♦ Hand eye coordination
♦ Pretend play – the cars were driving through the mud and now they are dirty and need a car wash, someone has to go to the grocery store and park the car in the parkade, etc.
Let’s Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! 6-Piece Pretend Play Set
I know as adults, most of us hate chores.
But toddlers love to “help” around the house.
This cleaning set is sure to be a hit with the 2-3 year olds. In fact, I’m pretty sure a 4 or 5 year old would still have fun with this toy!
It looks just like the real thing, but made for little hands and bodies.
This set is great for pretend play, hand eye coordination, vocabulary and so much more!
Food Groups – 21 Hand-Painted Wooden Pieces and 4 Crates
This set is a must have for all kids.
It’s perfect for toddlers but preschoolers and even young school aged children will still love this set.
It goes perfectly with a kids pretend play kitchen but also works well on its own if you don’t have one.
Here are some skills your child can hone in on with this wooden play food set:
♦ Vocabulary – label all food items in the baskets while your child is playing
♦ Categorization – this activity would be more suited for a child 3+. Start by sorting 2 groups, for example fruits/vegetables vs meat. Or sort by color!
♦ Color recognition
♦ Counting – count the number of food items in each basket
♦ Prepositions such as in, out, under
♦ Pretend Play – pretend to go grocery shopping or set up a “market” **Kids pretend play market**
Wooden Cutting Food Play Set
Melissa and Doug have several food cutting sets and they are all great!
This particular set comes with a child safe wooden “knife”, an apple, pepper, cucumber, tomato, sandwich bread, carrot, slice of watermelon and a loaf of bread.
The food items are held together with velcro and children can “cut” them apart.
I loved these sets for my own kids and in my speech therapy sessions!
Kids can practice everything from fine motor skills to sentence building and sequencing so they are perfect for kids ages 2+.
Take a look at some of the learning opportunities that will arise with a food cutting play set:
♦ Fine motor skills – grasping knife to cut
♦ Hand eye coordination – placing knife carefully in the food pieces to “cut” them
♦ Vocabulary – label each item
♦ Counting – count the number of pieces the food has been cut into
♦ Math concepts – parts of a whole, fractions (whole, half, etc.)
♦ Sentence building – if your child is only using single words practice short phrases like “I cut” or “I cut bread, apple, carrot, etc.”
Wooden Chunky Puzzles Set – Farm and Pets
These puzzles were always in my speech therapist toolbox and in my kids’ toy box.
I love these puzzles so much that I featured them in 2 other articles I wrote.
That’s why I won’t go into details here as to why these puzzles are so wonderful for learning.
Melissa and Doug has many others as well. You can take a look at them here.
Monster Plush 6-Pin Bowling Game
What 2 year old doesn’t love bowling?
These monster bowling pins are soft and cuddly and perfect for learning through play.
Have fun naming each monster with your child while describing what makes them cute and funny (and definitely not scary).
Here are a few ways you can use this bowling set with your child while focusing on natural learning opportunities:
♦ Vocabulary – include the words “my turn, your turn, knock down, pick up, ball, roll and try again” while playing.
♦ Describe the monsters with words like: green, blue, yellow, smooth, bumpy, pointy, soft, stripes,etc.
♦ Body part naming – mouth, teeth, ears, nose, eyes
♦ Counting – count the monsters and count their eyes
♦ Social skills – turn taking
♦ Hand eye coordination – rolling the ball and aiming
♦ Fine and gross motor skills – helps with dexterity and balance
Cook’s Corner Wooden Pretend Play Toy Kitchen
A play kitchen is my #1 recommended toy for speech and language development and general learning through play.
That is why I have included this one on my Top 10 list of Melissa and Doug toys for toddlers that promote language development.
Here are 10 reasons why a kids kitchen is and always will be my go to toy when I am asked about the best toys for children.
The Melissa and Doug Kitchen is recommended for children ages 3-5, however it is small and can easily be used by children 18 months and older.
It will take a bit of time to set up as well as it does not come assembled.
Simple Toys For Hours of Fun and Learning
This selection of Melissa & Doug toys for toddlers won’t require any batteries.
There are no flashing lights and annoying sounds and songs.
But this is a good thing.
Simple toys like these allow for more imagination, talking and learning than their electronic counterparts.
Don’t believe me, read this!