child playing with play food toy child playing with play food toy


Open-ended play is essential for children's healthy growth and development.

child playing with soft farm animals toy

More Play Time, Less Screen Time

Parenting has always had its challenges, but the rise of technology over the past decade and the sense that children have less time and space to just be kids have added new concerns.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Melissa & Doug are here to help! We’ve joined forces to champion the benefits of open-ended play and to give parents and caregivers the tools to make it an essential, skill-building part of children’s lives.

"Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function."

The American Academy of Pediatrics

child playing with easel toy

3 Principles of Healthy Play

Prioritize Hands-On Play

Play is essential when it comes to children's health and development. Look for toys that inspire imaginative, open-ended thinking, and can be used in different ways to grow with children.

Enjoy Screen-Free Time

Limit screen time to no more than 1 hour per day of high-quality programming for children ages 2-5. For children younger than 2, media use should be very limited. It's best when an adult is standing by to co-view, talk, and teach.

Interact & Connect Through Play

Children learn best from parents and other caregivers. Use play as an opportunity to talk, read, and sing with children, all of which will build their vocabularies, reduce stress, create connection, and develop foundational skills for learning.

"High-quality toys in each of these categories facilitate caregiver-child interactions, peer play, and the growth of imagination."

The American Academy of Pediatrics