Bella's new favorite thing

If you haven't fallen in love with Melissa & Doug*, then you obviously don't have children.

Just kidding. But we are huge fans of the company and its well-made, safe toys for children. I hadn't heard of the company when Javier was a little one, but luckily I've been able to purchase several items for Bella, including toy food for the kitchen set she adores.

Well, she used to adore it. Just like she used to adore her playhouse and her Thomas trains. All of that was before I brought home Melissa & Doug's Nina Ballerina Magnetic Dress-Up Set. I was hesitant to buy it because there are so many pieces and Bella hasn't really shown interest in dressing up the one baby she owns. But I figured if she didn't like it immediately, we'd put it up for later.

I shouldn't've worried. Not only does she love the set, which she refers to as "my doddy" (my dolly) -- she and Javi love to play with it together! No fighting, no "no touch-a me, Javi!" or "give it back, Bella!" Just pure imagination and comraderie as the two try different clothing combinations or figure out which headpiece looks best.

My only complaint is there is no boy-girl combination in the company's range of dress-up sets. I would've loved to have something less gendered, or at least the opportunity for the kids to play around with gender (you know, a cute dress on the knobby kneed boy or a tuxedo on the ballerina), but that's my own agenda, right?

To be fair, there is a boy (and that set is described as "pretend play" rather than "dress-up" (no gender typing there)). This leads me to believe that not many boys are playing with dress-up dolls. But I am seriously tempted to buy Joey for the kids so that they can have a boy pal for Nina.

So, my point. If you're looking for a made-in-the-USA toy that sparks creative play by children of all ages, you have to try these magnetic sets. Even Billy and I swooned over them!

*Disclaimer: Melissa & Doug have no idea that I'm writing about their product. I just am too impressed with it not to share. Call it yet another great product by a great company!


  • Of Pandas and Pirates

    I adore Mellisa and Doug toys! I even applied for a job there once, since they have a factory right here in CT! I have yet to buy a M&D toy I didn't love. Great post Kelly!

  • Katie Jones

    I love Melissa and Doug, too! I got Katie Anne all kinds of M&D cutting food for her kitchen... I love that it is interactive and she actually "cook" with it. She got Nina the Ballerina from some friends for her birthday and loves her. I didn't know there was a boy. I've got to get her a Joey!

  • Katie Jones

    Wow- she "cooks" with it, not cook. What great grammar! :)

  • Kelly Miller

    Anjie - I didn't realize they had a factory near you. Does that mean you have an outlet, too?

    Katie - Bella loves her M&D food, too. I'm pretty sold on the Joey, too - I wish they'd sold him and Nina in a combo pack though. Also I need some kind of case for keeping the pieces in. Perhaps I should write in with my suggestions? :)

    And surely you know there are no grammar cops here!

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