Celebrate Mother’s Day with Favorite Play Tips from Melissa & Doug Moms

Toy Guides

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Favorite Play Tips from Melissa & Doug Moms

May 10, 2024

In honor of Mother's Day, we’re asking some of the moms at Melissa & Doug to share their favorite play and toy tips with you. 

If there’s one thing all the moms we surveyed agreed upon, it was their favorite travel toys: Water Wow! and Sticker WOW! get high marks from Melissa & Doug momsRead on to get more insightful toy and play recommendations directly from our experts!

Play & Toy Tips from Melissa & Doug Moms for Mother's Day

Holly Guzman English

Brand Marketing Director
Kids' ages: 12, 10, and 3
Favorite birthday gift: Ages 0-2, usually the Pineapple Stacker; ages 3-5, any play food.
Her child’s favorite Melissa & Doug toy: My 3-year-old loves the Dinosaur Play Rug with toy dinos.
Her favorite Melissa & Doug toy: I like the Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter and playing "kitchen." My kids make crazy creations!

Favorite skill-building toy: My son loved the Latches Board for motor skills.
Toy organizing tip: We rotate once a month, from basement playroom to family room.
Favorite toy for playdates: The play centers are great for multiple kids playing.
Favorite baby shower gift: Our new Ocean Tummy Time Triangle baby toy.

Kristen Morley

Brand Manager
Kids' ages: 2 and newborn 
Favorite birthday gift: Scoop and Serve Ice Cream Counter or Dentist Set. For ages 0-2, I love giving the Shape Sorting Grocery Cart and Jumbo Knob Puzzle.
Her child’s favorite Melissa & Doug toy: Puzzles are a big hit in our house, and baby dolls and baby doll accessories. Also big right now is the Cutting Fruits set—my daughter loves to use her kitchen stool and chop her fruits and veggies next to her dad while he’s chopping food for dinner. It's become a new nightly routine!
Toy organizing tip: We haven't gotten to a point yet of doing toy rotation. We kind of keep everything just thrown into bins at the moment. She doesn't seem to care when things are all mixed up and not stored together per se. I think sometimes parents get too wrapped up in worrying about keeping all the pieces of sets together—kids will play how they want and they aren't going to freak out if they have to go into one bin to get the stethoscope and another to get the bandages.
Favorite toy for playdates: Toys like the ice cream set or a kitchen with lots of different food items helps to prevent kids from going after just one single toy.

Favorite baby shower gift: The pull-back vehicles are a must-have gift for anyone I know who is having a boy. I like giving the Flip Fish, too. I also like the Ice Cream Take-Along toy and the Pineapple Stacker.


Jess Kuring

Director of Consumer Relationship Marketing
Kids' ages: 3 and newborn
Favorite birthday gift: Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart and Go Tots Barn—I have mostly been gifting them to younger children. I love the quality of these toys, the fact that they are all wooden, and are toys that children will continue to find fun for years.
Her child’s favorite Melissa & Doug toy: Fresh Mart Grocery Store. My son loves to pick out a bunch of different grocery items and "surprise" me with them. He loves filling up the bag and sharing. There are so many fun ways to interact and play pretend whether one of us is pretending to be the customer vs. cashier, learning about the different types of food, pretending to cook/eat the groceries, etc.

Favorite skill-building toy: Peg Puzzle to practice motor skills/pincer grip; Go Tots Barn to work on animal sounds/names.
Toy organizing tip: For birthdays/holidays, I don't always leave all of the toys out because it can be very overwhelming. So generally, I will leave out half or most of the new toys he gets, but put some away to surprise him with later. I also try (emphasis on try) to remove one toy for every new one I put out.
Favorite baby shower gift: I typically would bring the Pineapple Stacker and a take-along toy but I'm very excited about also gifting the new Ocean Tummy Time Triangle toy!


Jen Bookert

Social Media & Content Marketing Manager
Kids' ages: 3 and 8 months
Favorite birthday gift: Ages 0-2: Tummy Time Triangle, Ice Cream Take Along Toy, Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart, and Rollables Ocean Slide. I just feel like these are great from birth through 2, and have helped (now) both of my kids developing new skills while playing with the toys. Ages 3-5: Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter, floor puzzles (construction vehicles, space, ocean), Slice & Bake Cookies, and Top & Bake Pizza Oven. So far, these are the most requested items (on Christmas lists, birthday requests), but also I've noticed they're the most played with toys in the playroom when the cousins are all together for holidays.
Kids’ favorite Melissa & Doug toy: Shape Sorting Grocery Cart, Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter. My daughter (8 months) likes the small puzzle pieces from the grocery cart, and is starting to pull herself up on the cart sometimes. My son still likes to play with the grocery cart, bringing it to the ice cream counter to "shop" and/or make his order. My daughter likes to hold the ice cream cones (and sprinkles) that my son makes for her, and he could play for HOURS on end—alone or with others with the ice cream set.
Favorite skill-building toy: The Match & Roll Shape Sorter. I bought this for my son when he was definitely too young to play with it…BUT over time he started trying to put the pieces in it, then he started learning the colors and shape names with it. Now those are included as "groceries" or dump truck hauls.
Toy organizing tip: Lol, not really. Rotation—doesn't happen. Storage, we're at a point where if we're going to buy more toys, we're giving away old toys that aren't played with anymore.
Favorite baby shower gift: Tummy Time Triangle, Pineapple Stacker, Ice Cream Take Along Toy, and the Market Basket Fill & Spill Basket.


Jaymie Bettel

Brand Manager
Kids' ages: 4 and 2
Favorite birthday gift: Dust, Sweep, Mop! and the Dentist Set. Good, quality play patterns at a great price!

Her child’s favorite Melissa & Doug toy: Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter and the Kitchen. They love playing anything pretend-play focused.
Favorite skill-building toy: Scissor Skills for working on fine motor skills.
Toy organizing tip: Bins are a must. And less is more!
Favorite baby shower gift: Taco Spill or Market Basket Fill and Spill.

Jess Trichilo

Head of Associate Engagement & Communications
Kids' ages: 19, 18, and 12-year-old twins
Favorite birthday gift: I always purchased plush for babies (like our elephant or Burrow Bunny) and K's Kids soft books, Hungry Pelican and pull-back vehicles. For older kids: play food (Cutting Fruits, ice cream counter), Water WOWs, ColorBlast, paint by number, and sticker pads.
Her kids’ favorite Melissa & Doug toys: My kids are older now, but the kids I have given gifts to love our pretend play items.
Her favorite Melissa & Doug toys:I think our pretend play items are so fantastic: Barista, ice cream counter, and kitchen/diner sets. Love all the details!
Favorite skill-building toy: Yes, the Color by Number for fine motor skills and also the lacing shoe.
Favorite baby shower gift: Plush 

Jennifer Halperin

Senior Project Manager
Kid's age: 4
Her child’s favorite Melissa & Doug toy: The Deluxe Grill & Pizza Oven (she makes me food), the Baby Care Center, Dust Sweep Mop (when I clean, she cleans), the Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter, and the Food Truck Tent. Anything where she can boss me around!
Her favorite Melissa & Doug toy: The Doctor and Vet play kits. I have to be the patient and give reactions (“Ouch! That shot hurt!”), and we bandage up the stuffed animals together.
Favorite skill-building toy: I've used every single Melissa & Doug toy to help with my child's speech delay. Especially pretend play and developmental toys.
Favorite baby shower gift: The Rollables Ocean Slide, the stacking pineapple, and the wooden shopping cart.

Minhee Choi

Talent & HR Business Partner
Kids' Ages: 13 and 10
Your favorite toy - what toy gets you to put your phone down and play? The reusable sticker pads - I love these!
Favorite baby shower gift: Giraffe!

For more great toy content from Melissa & Doug, click on the links below:

On The Road with Top Travel Toys for Kids This Spring

Toy Spotlight: Examine & Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Create a Child’s Art Studio in 6 Easy Steps

Introducing NEW Developmental Toys for Infants & Babies