I'm a huge wooden toy fan. Hence, why we have quite a collection of wooden toys here in our house. Sure, we also have an assortment of conventional plastic noisemakers. You know, the kinds that
I prefer wooden toys because...well...where should I start?
- Simple. No tabs to pull or batteries to install/replace. Ready right out of the pack.
- Peaceful. They don't overstimulate children, or serve as a means of distraction.
- Multipurpose. Children can flex their imagination with wooden toys, often serving more than one use. For example, our colored wooden rings from our ring stacker can be stacked, sorted or rolled, and could be used as food, money, binoculars/glasses, jewelry, doll furniture, construction materials, etc.
- Durable. They can withstand moderate abuse and can be used indoors/outdoors.
- Timeless. With proper care, they can be passed down for generations.
- Sustainable, recyclable and eco-friendly. Won't clog up a landfill somewhere.
- Nostalgic. The vintage feel makes me want to play along for some bonding time.
We are dedicated to retailing only the highest quality and most unique toys, building blocks, and puzzles available. Our goal is to bring you the best selection of creative & educational toys for children ages 0-6. All of our wooden toys and building blocks are built to withstand generations of active play. We are proud that many of our toys have won prestigious awards. We feel that these honors are a testament to the quality of our toys as well as an endorsement of their play value!
We own several Melissa & Doug toys, such as the Rainbow Stacker, Take-Along Toolbox, Pound-A-Peg and chunky puzzles. They are some of my son's absolute favorites. So, we were thrilled to review the Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Parlor Play Food Set. This 8-piece set includes 4 colorful scoops of ice cream, 2 cones and 2 scoopers in a fun, retro freezer case. The pieces are magnetic so you can really "scoop" the ice cream and place it onto the cones!
As soon as the package arrived, Nate couldn't keep his chubby little hands off of the vibrant box. He immediately went to work, stacking and serving various flavor combinations (his favorite was the mint chocolate chip). The scooper was a little difficult for him to operate, but with some practice and a bit more dexterity, I'm sure he'll get the hang of it. Normally, he will play with a toy for a few minutes, toss it aside and never look back. But this set keeps him occupied for 15 minutes or more everyday. It is the first toy he goes to after breakfast and he revisits it several times a day to make more sweet treats.
The pieces are well-made and quite realistic, especially the wooden waffle cones. But be forewarned: keep your toes covered because they are heavy! If your child is a future MLB pitcher, you won't want them hurling them at your walls or windows. The scoops of ice cream are made of hard, lightweight plastic and seem very durable. They even have an adorable swirl texture. They are very easy for my toddler to grasp and the magnets are strong enough to keep the pieces in place. However, if you stack your cone too high or tilt it too far sideways, it will collapse - just like in real life! It can be a true exercise of balance for a toddler! Although this set is made for children ages 3+, there are no small parts or choking hazards, which I appreciate. And because there is at least two of everything, it is perfect for group play.
The best part about this set for me is its versatility and educational power. Beyond the motor skills enhanced with the ice cream creations, there are so many other ways your child can can play and learn. For example, each ice cream compartment is color coded with its appropriate scoop. You can have your child place the ice cream in its correct place and name the flavor.
You can also order an ice cream cone from your child and have them put it together in the correct order. If they are old enough, you could use play money to make a transaction and learn about addition and subtraction. Or you can play a game of memory: arrange the scoops in a pattern, have your child close their eyes while you rearrange them. See if your child can reproduce the original pattern. This is a toy that will easily last from toddler years through school-age.
There are only two disadvantages I wanted to note about the set. First, we found it impossible to "scoop" the ice cream directly from the box. The magnets of the scooper could not align with the top of the ice cream, so we had to lift up the ice cream with our fingers to place it in the scooper. Not a big deal but it would be more true to life if the walls of the ice cream compartments were a little lower or had a concave opening for the scooper to enter. I've also noticed that the red paint from the wooden handles of the ice cream scoopers transfers, so if you have a child that likes to mouth toys, as I do, you will want to watch them closely with these particular pieces.
Otherwise, this is a super fun toy that our entire family enjoys. I would love to see Melissa and Doug release some additional flavors (orange sherbet or blue cotton candy perhaps) and maybe some magnetic toppings like nuts, caramel, chocolate syrup or rainbow sprinkles. There are so many possibilities!
BUY IT: You can purchase the Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Parlor Play Food Set from www.GummyLump.com. Right now, all Melissa & Doug toys are 20% off at Gummy Lump so this toy, which normally retails for $29.99, is on sale for $23.99! They also have a special promotion for all Melissa & Doug Play Food sets - Buy 3, Get 1 Free!
WIN IT: One lucky Goodie Goodie Gumdrops reader is going to win their very own Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Parlor Play Food set from Gummy Lump! Wow!
MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Stop by Gummy Lump and tell me another toy you think your child(ren) would like to have. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile to prevent disqualification!
SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count! Remember to leave one comment per entry.
1.) Follow my blog and/or subscribe via reader or email. If you already follow and/or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry each)
2.) Follow me and Gummy Lump on Twitter and tweet about this contest. You can do this daily! You may use this tweet or come up with your own:
RT @kris10chumley: Share a cone with your Valentine! Win a @MelissaAndDoug Ice Cream Parlor play set from @gummylump! http://bit.ly/c6X0Ab
Just leave me a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry per day max)
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Giveaway will end on February 18, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. only. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: As noted above, I received a Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Parlor set from Linda at Gummy Lump to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine only. Your experience may differ.