Featured Sections
All Imagination & Play

Foster Imagination with Battery-Free Toys

2013-12-05 by Zina Harrington
Shop the Story

This classic-toy gift guide is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Zina Harrington.

Make everyday activities an adventure! — Zina

Today I am honored to share with you a few of my favorite Melissa & Doug toys. In a world filled with gizmos, gadgets, and screens, Melissa & Doug has become a safe-haven for parents looking for battery-free ways to engage their children.  Their classic toys foster simple joy and creativity.


 The power of imagination makes us infinite. ~John Muir



Below is a collection of toys that will lead your child into a world of imaginative play:

Battery-Free Fun

As a child, my two brothers and I would play for hours using wooden blocks to create pathway for cities.  I had alternative versions of ALL of the classic toys below. I love that Melissa & Doug has continued to carry on these traditional toys for a new generation of parents.

Foster Imagination with Battery Free Toys

*How cool is that car wash?


Foster Imagination with Battery Free Toys

Wooden Classic School Bus  │  Standard Unit Blocks

Foster Imagination with Battery Free Toys

Fold & Go Barn  │  Fold & Go Mini Dollhouse

Additional resources for parents:

Bon Appétit: Classic Food Play

My girls love anything from the Food Play section of the Melissa & Doug website. Below are three of our favorite items. The Slice and Bake Cookie Set  was by far the most popular toy in our house throughout the toddler years. My girls loved them so much that I even wrote an entire blog post about it. For this reason, I was thrilled when I saw the Slice & Bake Christmas Cookies released this year (image below).

Fostering Imagination with Battery Free Toys

Slice and Bake Cookie Set  │  Wooden Food Groups

Wooden Kitchen Accessory Set  │  Slice & Bake Christmas Cookie Set

Additional resource for parents:

Puzzles for the Mind

I’ve also watched our girls grow with Melissa & Doug puzzles. We received our first Melissa & Doug toy, the Stack & Sort Board as a gift, when our first daughter was a toddler. Over time, we’ve graduated from their block puzzles to 300-piece puzzles. Here are some of my girls’ favorites from over the years:

Foster Imagination with Battery Free Toys

House Pets Jumbo Knob Puzzle  │  Wooden Stacking Train

Stack & Sort Board  │  Farm Cube Puzzle

Underwater Floor Puzzle  │  Wooden USA Map Puzzle

Cardboard Jigsaw Puzzles

What are your family’s favorite Melissa & Doug toys?
Share your photos on Instagram, using the hashtags #TakeBackChildhood, #CountlessWaysToPlay and #MelissaAndDoug


Zina Harrington

Zina is the author of Let’s Lasso the Moon and Becoming UnBusy, where she inspires parents and children to interact creatively and enjoy the beauty of everyday moments. Facebook | Pinterest | Blog | Instagram

You may also like these stories

Our Get Well Activity Center Honored With Good Housekeeping Best Toy Award
Celebrating the Late Bloomers
Play For All: 20 Ways to Engage With Your Child When You Don't Always Have The Time, Money, or Space
Be Road Trip Ready with This List of 40 Ideas for Backseat Fun

Latest Stories

5 Ways to Fit Play into a Crazy Day
The Power of Play: Why We Are Partnering with Pediatricians to Start a Revolution
How to Scale Back Screen Time Over School Breaks
Should I Get My Child a Tablet? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself