Updated: Apr 19, 2019
Disclaimer: These toys were donated to us to give an review, the words I use are entirely mine and were not influenced by Toys N Tuck in any way.
I have always been a fan of Melissa and Doug toys; I think generally they are well made and lend themselves to developing practical life skills more so than most toys. Now, they are not strictly Montessori, for them to be considered following the beliefs of Maria Montessori they wouldn't be colourful and would be entirely functional. However, they do allow children mimic adults and allow them to think for themselves.
The toys we were given were the 8 piece kitchen pots set which retails at £19.99 and the 6 piece kitchen utensil set £9.99. At first I thought this seemed a little overpriced for the size of these things, maybe because I rarely by decent kitchen utensils for myself let alone my children. And having done a bit of research online, I could see this is the going rate. Once I had actually opened them up and examined them a little closer, I could see the brilliant quality of the toys.
The first thing my children, who are 4 and 6, decided to do was bash the living hell out of them with the wooden spoons! Much to my pounding head's dismay! They withstood that beating well, and let's face it most children are going to want to make as much noise as possible with a shiny new toy.
After the novelty of making Mummy's ears explode wore off, my little darlings asked if they could have some ingredients to mix in the pots. Naively, I thought dry lentils would be a great idea, so they could really feel like they were cooking. Two days later and I am still finding red lentils in various places around the living room. That aside, my two played for ages with these, so despite having to vacuum, a lot, it kept them entertained for a long time.
Going back to the Montessori approach, there is no reason why you couldn't get them to mix some edible food in these like cake mix. The only downside to that is they aren't suitable to be used with heat (probably as the handles are metal so it could burn their hands). But it does say 'safe for food' on the bottom of each of the pots. Then you could get them to do the washing up after as well, also a nice practical life skill that the kids love to do.
On the whole, I think these are really well made, a decent price and provided hours of imaginative play for my two.
Review by Carly Lawrence and Toys provided by and available from Toys N Tuck Southend.