My unexpected obsession with children’s toys

I’m not sure when I decided I wanted to give Melissa and Doug a portion of my salary, but it seems to have happened sometime over this last year.

It begun when I saw their fabulous giant stuffed animals. I got the giraffe for my son’s nursery (50% 0ff, whoop!). Next thing I know I’m ordering their reusable sticker books because I discovered my daughter’s interest in stickers.

Add in the play kitchen Santa brought for Christmas and now I’m pining for every little wooden food item.

I never pinned myself as a toy snob but the other week when I was searching for play food a woman offered me a huge box of plastic food. I thanked her and put it in my cart but at the checkout counter I told the cashier I didn’t need it—I wanted wooden food! What has happened to me?

I’m keeping my eye out for them at resale shops, and I got one set at Ross. The play dishes I ordered actually are a different brand… Kidoozie, and the kitchen is by KidKraft. … I think I’ve had more fun playing in the play kitchen than my real kitchen!

melissa and doug wooden blocks little girl with wooden blocks awesome play toy wooden blocksAnd pretend food isn’t even my favorite thing I’ve bought by them so far… The large wooden block set is. I was going back and forth between small blocks, big blogs, and mega blocks, and I went with these large unit blocks. I’m so glad I did because it’s become one of my favorite activities to do with my daughter. She’ll build by herself and I am impressed by her symmetry. Or we’ll build together and see how big we can make a castle, or a tower, or we’ll make other shapes and structures.

I can see how later on they’ll be great for teaching fractions, geometry, or math in general. I’m such a nerd.

We’ve been nothing but a lot of sick around her lately. Poor Lil’ J has a bad sinus infection, and Big T has been a snotty mess for weeks. I’m catching it now myself and just trying to hang on. While the weather is cold we’re hunkering down inside and playing with a lot of simple toys. And even though I’m creeping closer and closer to 30 I must say, I’ve been feeling younger lately.

tower of blocks

Note to self… Forget the kids, keep buying toys I want to play with.


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  1. I am also a big fan of Melissa & Doug. Their wooden dress up dolls are really fun and my daughter loves the reusable sticker books as well. For play kitchen items, IKEA also has some great fabric/stuffed play foods that are really nice but very affordable. My daughter loves hers and they are very realistic.

  2. I LOVE toys but have definitely showed more restraint than what my parents showed with me when I was a kid! I had an entire playroom with a Bambi mural painted by my dad – kids would come over and declare it Toys R Us. If I start looking at daily deal emails and newsletters I start getting the itch to get more but for now it’s pretty controlled. We get our 3 year old about 1 new toy, book or game every couple months.

  3. I’m definitely both interested in toys and a bit of a toy snob! The kitchen play food was important, and so was the kitchen and the things in it so when our daughter got it last christmas i probably went a bit over budget. I also spend a lot of books, which seems to have made my two-year-old quite a bit over averagely interested in reading, so no problems there. I do try to shop smart though, and while I get nicer things I don’t generally get a LOT of toys, so it evens out, especially since we live in a tiiiny apartment and we can’t fit most of her stuff in her room, just a dresser and a bed with a small bookcase. She has pretend play stuff like her kitchen and a tool box, a few musical instruments, loads of books, duplo, a train set, dress-up stuff and then now she got a dollhouse for christmas, but other than that there’s only a few stuffed animals and a handful of random toys that were mostly given as presents from others. Since I’m becoming a preschool teacher I guess my interest in quality toys that helps with development will be helpful not only for our homelife, but also for my professional career later on. I also get toys that encourage play with both me and my husband, so I don’t feel like a parent who just buys something colorful and noisy to distract their child (in fact i stay away from most of those toys, if she wants noise she can make it her self!).

    And even here in Norway I order in Melissa & Doug toys because I love a lot of their stuff! My biggest problem is obviously the fact that you never get a darn lid for the nice wooden boxes the toys come in! AAaah!

  4. Kids’ toys are very addictive. I have caught myself playing with the kid’s toys while they were asleep. Sometimes, it’s nice to have those moments of simplicity and remembering what being a child was like. I think it humbles us and can help us to better understand our own children.

    And there’s nothing wrong with a having brand or material preference. That doesn’t make you a toy snob. It just means you’ve discovered a quality that you like.

  5. I agree with you, we buy plan toys, hape, haba and Wonderworld mostly because of their quality and size. m&d has had some lead issues in the past plus they are huge and heavy. All of our toys are wooden (ALL) down to our pretend vacuum. Her bake shoppe is stocked with all sorts of wooden ice cream, petit fours, cupcakes etc. If you like m&d, watch out for 50% off m&d at michaels, and sometimes they have a 20% off everything coupon which gives you a great price (~60% off) in the end!

  6. YES! I am every bit a toy snob lol. When Chunks was 1-2 I was all about Melissa and Doug (and they are the reason he’s obsessed with puzzles now). I think we gravitate to toys that remind us of our childhood but I’m trying to cut back some, I’ve almost died over more random Lego pieces and that one Hot Wheels I didn’t get at clean up time.

  7. Girl, I’m such a toy snob. I am super picky about plastics. I haven’t gotten rid of some things because the boys love them… and of course because they don’t make wooden action figures, lol. Everything on their wishlist was for my pleasure, haha. We’ve been sick for weeks. I’m on my way to a barking cough. Ack. I hope we all feel better soon!

  8. I think we need a group for parents who love toys. My husband is a toy geek too! I tried to ween my sons room after the Christmas toys, many of them went over to the babies room but i still feel like he has too many. It doesn’t help that we buy and sell toys too! so many of the sale things end up in his room as well! The baby is only 13 mos and she already has an entire slew of dolls and houses with accessories. I too am a fan of our local might I say awesome resale shop. We find so many cool things there and they practically have the tags still on them, even the clothes. My goal this year is to shop only for me. I buy so much for the other four bears Mommy bear is the last on the list.

    Anyway, love you pictures as always, and your blog rocks! I aspire to organize my hectic life and slow down to enjoy the journey with the little people I made and that handsome man I love. Thank you Jen, my honorary Rockstar mama, I love your style!

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