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Henry Pestov
Henry Pestov

Where To Buy Melissa And Doug Toys

When talking with other parents of preschoolers, toys and screen time are always popular topics. How do we help our kids resist the allure of YouTube and other streaming media? This is where the brand Melissa & Doug comes up.

where to buy melissa and doug toys

People expect me to like Melissa and Doug. They feel more environmentally-friendly, because they are made of wood and just have a homey feel. They seem like a way greener option than anything else you can find in a mainstream toy section.Not so much.Maybe they used to have some redeeming qualities, but when you look closely now, things are pretty sketchy. This company "based out of Conneticut" peddles off Made in Poverty, not always well-made junk as just the opposite- healthy, earthy, even good. They want you to think their toys are better than the run of the mill junky toys, therefore worth more money. They market themselves off as Made in America (even somehow being littered through the Made in America toy section on Amazon) and that perception is pervasive enough that people often think I would like them.But I just so don't. In some ways, I prefer Fisher Price over this company, because at least they are being honest about who they are (check out their attempt at "wood toys"- they are so bad at not using plastic, it is almost cute). It just makes me mad when you feel like you are finally doing something good, and really you have just been deceived. Melissa and Doug are a perfect example of this. I can totally see why people would love the brand and have plenty of Melissa and Doug toys at their house (I think we have one ourselves), but it makes me angry that the image of this brand is essentially a deception. We are all trying our best, and it is hard enough to do right by our kids and the environment as it is. Melissa and Doug used to have a good reputation (in the late 80's and early 90's) and coast on that positive association.This toy company has already run into a bit of trouble for their lack of standards, and I am willing to bet they have more lawsuits in their future, because deceptive and cheap doesn't make for a great long game. In 2012, they got in trouble with immigration for not documenting their employees (so taking advantage of people). There are documented problems with the paint on them, and I bet the news will get worse on that with time. Every Melissa and Doug toy I have seen or researched is Made in China, so I am not sure what happened to the American employees they suggest comprise the majority of the company.What makes me even madder? I feel like they love to live right on the line of plagarizing other more ethical, less mainstream toy designs. It's interesting just how often their design ideas seem to creep on other wood toy makers, almost all of whom have better labor and ethical standards.This is the kind of ugly nonsense that drives good companies off the market, because they take their idea and lower the price.You know how you take a good idea and make it cheaper?You steal an idea someone else worked hard on.You ship your labor to China or somewhere where you can treat people badly.You use cheap and unethical materials.You waste fossil fuels schlepping it back here.You jack up the price as if it isn't cheap junk.I am not kidding about Melissa and Doug's strange talent for lifting other company's designs. Check out these two eerily similar clock toys:Holgate Toys (check them out- great Made in the USA company) Melissa and Doug (like that toy, but with more branding!)You see this kind of thing again and again.The good news attached to this is that you can find pretty direct switches away from many of the Melissa and Doug products. They make about a million products (never a good sign- if you want to do something well, you usually aren't doing that many different things), so I can't point to a replacement for every thing, but here is a place to start. If you want to buy a child in your life something special, you still can! Just not from Melissa and Doug.This blog does have affiliate links for Amazon and Etsy (though the M&D toys are not, because a well-reasoned reader pointed out that isn't cool). That said, smaller toy stores all over the country are fighting to survive. Shop there! 1. Buy Used Toys YES. So many of the toys Melissa and Doug sells- puzzles, toy animals like snakes, play food can be found in lots of consignment stores. We didn't buy the Melissa and Doug bead maze; we got the Plan Toys bead maze for less than five dollars at Goodwill. Probably 4 out of every 5 toys that we bring into the house was bought used or gifted on Buy Nothing. They grow out of things so fast, and they mostly don't care, so why not save a toy from the landfill and get used toys instead? If you are shopping for a kid, start secondhand, ALWAYS. This is particularly true for used toys- lots of the Grimm's and other Montessori wood toys are available secondhand on eBay. It's the perfect way to get high quality and lasting toys without spending as much money. Green Toys on Amazon2. Green Toys I wouldn't have expected a day when I recommend plastic over wood, but Green Toys is a national treasure. Made in the USA with green energy, these toys are made of recycled plastic (milk jugs mostly).Don't buy the Melissa and Doug versions- you can get Green Toys cars, play food, and all kinds of planes, boats, and vehicles (this airplane is The Bub's favorite). Melissa and Doug make lots of play food that is cute with really fun details. Again, so do lots of people. You can get fair trade vegetables from Under the Nile or more ethical (but still made abroad) wooden food from Plan Toys.from Amazon3. Maple Landmark This company, based out of Vermont, sells some of the favorite toys in the whole house. Instead of getting the Melissa and Doug shape sorter, we have this Maple Landmark sorter and it is awesome. Absolutely beloved by our kid, because it combines sorting shapes with putting things in and taking things out (one of his favorite pass times. Yeah, the design is a little dorky, but he doesn't mind, and Maple Landmark consistently makes great toys right here.Maple Landmark is an American gem, so if you want wood toys, I say start there. Another great toy from them? This shape stacker. I love that it is even colored with an eco-friendly (and kid-friendly) water-based dye. Need even more? They sell better wooden cars than Melissa and Doug as well.Mondo Bloxx from Amazon4. Mondo Bloxx Large cardboard blocks. Melissa and Doug recently put out a nearly identical set (with fewer blocks), but Mondo Bloxx is the way to go. Extremely popular in our house right now, and anything that is both made of cardboard and can survive my son is pretty impressive in my book.Uncle Goose from Amazon5. Uncle Goose Blocks Melissa and Doug have their own alphabet blocks, but none come close to Uncle Goose blocks. These are what all the other blocks wish they could be. I love the alphabet blocks, but we got the nursery rhyme blocks, which really help to remember those nursery rhymes you inevitably forgot. You can also get them in different languages if you kid is fancy and bilingual. One of my favorite Made in America toy companies out there. For a fair trade block option, try out Tegu Magnetic Blocks.6. EtsyThere are so many American Etsy shops filled with gorgeous wood toys- our favorites are TimberWolfConcepts, PapaDonsWoodenToys, berkshirebowls, and manzanitakids.6. Fair Trade ToysThere are so many special toys out there on fair trade sites as well. They may be expensive, but the truth is Melissa and Doug can be cheap because their supply chain mistreats workers. The other hard truth is that a few excellent toys has proven to be significantly better for kids' brains than a lot of toys. They actually play better with fewer things! So skip the big pile of stuff and check out fair trade options from stores like Our Green House (which has a Made in America section as well).Want some more quick switch overs? Again, start used, and it will save you a lot of money, but if you want to get something special, you can buy it American as well! Etsy has everything, and most of these stores aren't shisters. Eat that Melissa! Eat that Doug! You guys are the WORST!Melissa and Doug Pounding Bench vs. A Summer Afternoon Wood WorkbenchMelissa and Doug Spelling Puzzle vs. Last Piece of the Puzzle Name Puzzles Simple Gift Toys Spinning Speller (Maple Landmark as well)Melissa and Doug "Latches" Busy Board vs. Little Ben's BoardMelissa and Doug Fishing Game vs. Franconia Ridge Studio, Quilted Creations SWMelissa and Doug Alphabet Magnets vs. Product Public, Nice Button, Lucca WorkshopMelissa and Doug Stacking Train vs. Aero1 Store Trains (You could even paint them as a cool gift)Melissa and Doug Dollhouse vs. Toymakers Daughter DollhouseMelissa and Doug are totally ubiquitous now. The Bub has received some of their toys as gifts, and they are pretty good toys, but they aren't as great as their reputation suggests. I get that your kid will get them as gifts, and I am not suggesting you throw them out or in the gifters faces. But when you shop, you have a choice and this is an opportunity to make a good one.And your choices will contribute to how our country's economy shifts in our lifetime. Wouldn't you rather you child come into an economy with more jobs, not fewer? That means, it is time to support the companies brands like Melissa and Doug rip off and to stop giving "Made in Elsewhere" toys your money! You can do this!If you want a huge list of awesome eco-friendly and ethically-made toys, check out our Giant List of Stocking Stuffers.Want more shopping ideas for kids and life? Eco-friendly options for everything for your kids? I have TONS of ideas, cool brands, and simple switches. Check out the Giant List of Shopping Lists! 041b061a72


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