Babies: Crawling and Learning to Walk

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This baby play post was provided for the Melissa & Doug blog by guest blogger Cindy Utzinger, pediatric Occupational Therapist. “You have to crawl before you walk”…. I feel like I use that phrase a lot in my life and find it often holds true…. you can’t master step 2 until you have mastered step 1. For [...]

Babies: Time on the Floor Playing

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This baby play post was provided for the Melissa & Doug blog by guest blogger Cindy Utzinger, pediatric Occupational Therapist. Want to help make your baby smarter and stronger? I’ve got the answer… Let them spend time on the floor PLAYING!!!! The time babies spend playing is critical to their development as it plays a crucial role [...]

Encouraging Early Reading Skills with Toddlers

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This early reading skills post is brought to us by our guest blogger Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures. Many people know how important reading skills are for preschoolers and school age children. There have been many studies that point to the fact that children who are read to more frequently at home are more likely [...]

17 Clever Ways to Re-purpose Your Puzzles

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Got a stack of puzzles your kids seem to have outgrown? Check out this collection of ideas for “breathing new life” into your puzzles by using them for storytelling, art projects, scavenger hunts, and much more! Read on for a hefty roundup of 17 clever ways to re-purpose your child’s favorite puzzles… (HINT: If after [...]

Melissa & Doug’s 5 Tips for Selecting Toys for 12-24 Month Olds

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Last week, we shared Five Tips for Selecting Baby Toys and we are thrilled to share our picks for the 12-24 month olds in your life. The time between one and two is a special time, full of new skills and exploration. We often describe this time as an “explosion” of new abilities – it’s exciting [...]

Why Do Babies Love Mirror Toys?

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As any parent knows, babies just LOVE to see themselves in their mirror toys. What could be more interesting and relatable to babies than another baby reflected back at them — who looks, feels, and moves just as they do? Sure, babies are attracted to mirrors because they are shiny and bright. But mirrors are [...]

4 MORE Ways to Play (and Learn!) with Jumbo Knob Puzzles

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Wooden Jumbo Knob puzzles feature easy-grasp knobs for little hands with matching pictures underneath! They make terrific first puzzles, but did you know that there are many MORE ways your child can enjoy these puzzles (even as they get older?) Here are some ideas: Trace and create An older child (3 years and up) will [...]

From the Melissa & Doug Playbook: 3 Extension Activities for Floor Puzzles

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Ta-Da! Look at that wonderful floor puzzle your child JUST completed!! It’s big, and beautiful, and…finished? Not necessarily! Floor puzzles are a wonderful educational activity on their own, but did you know there are some additional ways you can use these large projects to sneak-in some extra learning? Here are three tips for each level [...]

More Ways to Play and Learn with Chunky Puzzles: 6 Extension Activities

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Did your child receive some new puzzles for Christmas? Puzzles make the perfect gift for kids of all ages, but the Chunky Puzzle in particular (modeled by two adorable fans, below) is a great educational tool for 2-year olds. Acting as two toys in one, these puzzles feature thick, chunky wooden pieces that can fit [...]