Subversive isn't necessarily the word we'd choose to describe our educational philosophy, but when it comes to Melissa & Doug® toys we have no qualms about describing them that way. Whether you're looking for puppets, puzzles, play food, magnetic activities, musical instruments, or choo-choo trains, Melissa & Doug® offer it all, and all of it is truly educational and legitimately fun.
The "fun" element is really the most attractive part. Not that we aren't all about education—we are—but we're also about kids being kids, good times, and not making everything a drag or a chore in the name of "self-improvement." Plenty of self-improvement happens under the guise of frivolity, and anyway, you don't have to be building character all the time.
Melissa & Doug® began in a garage in 1988, and today the company carries nearly 1000 unique products, all of them durable, and all of them both exciting and educational. Yes, we're stressing the dual nature of these toys and games, but that's what the company is all about, and they do an excellent job remaining true to both aims.
Among the most strictly educational items are the Write-a-Mats, which are dinner table placemats for kids on which they can answer math problems, learn geography, study dinosaurs, etc. They're also some of the best sellers around here, and topics are broad enough to appeal to a variety of ages and interests.
If you're looking for toys that you won't have to replace after a month of hard use, don't have to worry about imparting a poor worldview to your children, and are better than TV and video games, Melissa & Doug® probably offer what you want. They don't have a lot for older children, but by the time they're in junior high most kids are "too cool" for toys, anyway.