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Thanks for Nothin' Melissa and Doug

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Momlogic's Andrea: I'm all for educational toys but not ones that teach my toddler how to get into more trouble.

Melissa and Doug, makers of those cool wooden toys, have up until this point been my best friends. I love everything they make and feel good about letting my daughter handle wooden toys -- albeit still made in China -- rather than the plastic variety.

Then Melissa and Doug did something that really pissed me off. They made a toy called a "Latches Board" -- which was given to my two-and-a half-year-old as a gift. The wooden board teaches kids to "unlock" a variety of latches and locks: The very safeguards we use to protect our possessions from destructive toddler hands.

WTF. Who thought this was a good idea?  My kid is already into everything that's not nailed down. Armed with her new knowledge of how to operate our front door chain latch, she could try to bust out of our house and go on a toddler crime spree. Heck, why not teach her how to a blow a safe while we're at it?

I seriously wonder if Melissa and Doug have ever even MET a toddler. A toddler's sole  mission in life is to search and destroy and throw tantrums after you've busted them for the destruction. Period. They don't need to learn any new skills to make their job easier.

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11 comments so far | Post a comment now
tom October 17, 2008, 2:31 PM

You have serious control/trust issues. For “dangerous” stuff like knives and poisons… I highly suggest a lock or place things out of reach. For everything else… what difference does it make if your toddler is playing with a puzzle or the actual cabinet drawer? They’re going to play with the bright shiney thing regardless. And trust me… they will figure out how to open it.

Cindy October 17, 2008, 2:54 PM

Thanks for the heads up - I hadn’t seen this toy yet and I will make sure I don’t buy it. I am happy to let my child wonder how to unlock or open cabinets/drawers/containers…and I don’t need a toy that is going to speed that process along ;)

Beckie October 17, 2008, 3:08 PM

While I think the author goes a little too far, I agree that this toy is not something I plan to purchase for my Houdini. Already he has figured out EVERY baby lock except for those he is physically to short to reach!

birdsfly October 17, 2008, 4:33 PM

I saw this a year or two ago and thought the same thing. The first thing (literally, it was during the walkthrough before we signed the lease)my toddler figured out when we moved to a new apartment last year was the lock on the front door which is perfect height for him. That was a scary concept!

mama_chita October 17, 2008, 4:42 PM

Thanks for the heads-up, and the laugh. I agree — WTF, with the idea for this toy? It’s like the uncle-with-no-kids who is always teaching your kids how to do and say things that you DON’T want your kids to do (e.g.: throwing restaurant salt & pepper shakers on the floor.)

To both ideas: ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’

Mrs. R. October 17, 2008, 5:20 PM

This was funny. I don’t take it too seriously, but I did think some of the same things with my daughter when she was given one of these.
it’s a great toy for developing fine motor skills. My daughter is addicted to it.
But yes - it is completely counterproductive to babyproofing. My daughter now knows how to unlatch our front door (especially now that she knows how to push a chair to the front hall and climb). When I take a shower, I have to do all 3 locks, just in case.

Eryn October 18, 2008, 4:08 AM

I, too, saw the irony in this, but I also saw the simple genius in it.

By giving my son the puzzles with all the locks on them, he’s NOT fiddling around with the actual locks. I never had any issues with my son breaking into anything, but boy did he loves these two puzzles. You’re appealing to their natural curiosity in a safe, controlled manner this way.

Kristen Roperst October 19, 2008, 5:52 PM

OMG so so funny. I thought the same thing too when I saw that toy at Toys R. Us. A toddler learning to blow a safe made me LMAO

Mike November 19, 2008, 8:17 AM

I don’t know about this particular product, but I know that the Melissa and Doug standing easel is a great toy.

Dwayne April 17, 2009, 8:37 PM

Well, at least my children can now take over for most of the things I need to do in the house.

1. They can answer the door for me, get the mail.

2. Open up the windows when it’s hot, I live in the tropics it’s always hot.

3. Get their own toys so I don’t have to interact with them.

4. Oh, and what do you know? They can even now milk the cow for me and brush the Ponies manes when I’m too lazy to.

What’s wrong with that!?

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 6:30 PM

Interesting article! Enjoyable to read. I just have one observation to offer about tee shirts.

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