Melissa and Doug See and Spell is a wooden puzzle in which children select letters that fit into recessed spots to spell the word that matches the picture on each wooden “card”. When evaluating my preschool learning environment, one thing that was required but missing were puzzles that spell words. Melissa and Doug See and Spell filled this void in my preK environment.
Melissa and Doug See and Spell is very appealing to the children in my program, and a great way to teach letter recognition, letter shape, phonics, etc. Each wooden “card” has two sides, totaling 20 words in all children can spell. The words are all high frequency, three and four letter words. This toy is recommended for children 4-7 years old; however, I have found that younger children really enjoy it too, especially with a little bit of scaffolding. Parents can limit the letter choices for very young children to ensure their success. Of course, young children require close supervision for choking hazards. The letters are large, but they say that anything that can fit though an empty toilet paper roll is a choking hazard. For my six-year-old daughter, the toy is too simplistic to sustain play when no longer novel.
I have noticed that many readers have come to Eco Child’s Play by searching for Melissa and Doug toy recalls. It is true that most Melissa and Doug toys are made in China; however, this company is not involved in any of the recent recalls. Melissa and Doug state that they test each batch of toys twice (once in China and once in USA) before distributing them. The testing is not done by an outsourced company, but by Melissa and Doug employees. For more information, please visit:
Duck Duck Goose Boutique
Crunchy Domestic Goddess
China Free Christmas
If you are boycotting Chinese toys because of safety concerns, then you may feel comfortable with Melissa and Doug. If you are boycotting Chinese toys because of their human rights violations, then you will not feel better knowing Melissa and Doug test their toys twice. I have heard conflicting thoughts on boycotting China because of the situation in Tibet. I have heard that the Dalai Lama has said that it would hurt people to boycott China, and this would not be the compassionate approach. I have also read that many Tibet liberation groups support such boycotts. Personally, I have adopted a modified boycott of Chinese products, weighing in man factors before making purchases. Perhaps this is lame, perhaps it is not. I don’t really know…