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Melissa & Doug Magnetic Dress-Up Sets, and more
Kids love magnets. I know I grew up with a set of alphabet letters on the fridge. Monkey’s aunt sent her a set of Disney Princess magnets (see below), which we put on the back door for Monkey to play with (I avoid letting her into the kitchen; she tries to take over!). Suffice it to say, this gift was a big hit. Monkey had a blast playing with her magnetic princesses. She sorted them, stacked them in lines, made them talk to each other, and gave them baths in Dog’s water dish. They’re holding up alright, despite all this loving. But I thought Monkey might enjoy combining her love of dress-up with her love of magnetic toys. So I found a couple second-hand sets of Melissa & Doug Magnetic Dress-Ups.
The store was closing soon, and both sets looked complete (and even if they weren’t, the prices were SO low), so I gladly checked out and brought the sets home to Monkey. Monkey likes arranging the clothing pieces on her door still; she isn’t keen on trying to get the puzzle-like clothes to fit on the dolls. I’ll write off this temporary disinterest to mean that Monkey just isn’t old enough to enjoy magnetic dress-up quite yet. I think generally she likes the magnetic clothes, and when she has more patience, she’ll love these sets.
I have a problem with the two sets, however, and time isn’t making it go away. The two sets I picked out are officially called Joey Magnetic Dress-Up Set and Maggie Leigh Magnetic Dress-Up Set. I got a boy and a girl. I expected their clothes to be different, but I wasn’t prepared for just how profoundly different. First of all, I might be asking too much, but I was hoping that the boy and girl’s clothes would be more or less interchangeable. Like, if Maggie Leigh wanted to wear Joey’s police uniform, she could. She can’t. You see, Joey is standing in this awesome power pose, facing us head on, feet spread apart, with his fists on his hips. Maggie is bent to the side, with her head cocked at an angle. She also has her hands on her hips, but in a much more passive palms-out way. I know that sounds ridiculous, which is why I’m showing you pictures. If Joey had a catch-phrase, it would be “I’m ready for action!” Maggie Leigh’s would be “Huh. Well what do ya know?”
O.K. So they can’t share a closet. Big deal. Melissa & Doug sell other dress-up sets, with the dolls being in different poses for each one. I mean, we can’t expect a princess to share her clothes with a mermaid, can we? But the differences in Maggie Leigh and Joey’s clothes go past not being able to share (because of Maggie Leigh’s weak pose. Yeah, it’s weak, Maggie! Have more confidence, girl!). Maggie has an assortment of cute clothes for everyday wear. She has dresses, tops, sweaters, pants and shoes. That’s fine. What does Joey have? Joey has his police uniform, his firefighter uniform, his construction worker clothes, his pirate clothes, his suit of armor, and his superhero outfit (complete with mask). Obviously. Joey gets to have careers and adventures. Maggie gets to get dressed. The more I think about these two sets, the angrier I get.
The one thing that makes me feel like Melissa & Doug tried to even this discrepancy out, is the existence of Julia. Julia is another magnetic dress-up girl, and she can be a police officer, firefighter, superhero, doctor, astronaut, chef, painter, or popstar (two more outfits than Joey!). Her pose is more assertive than Maggie’s, but doesn’t quite make it to Joey’s full-on power stance. To be fair, this is to allow the clothes to show her holding things, making her even more a person of action than Joey, even if she isn’t exuding the same level of energy. So Maggie is a fashion doll, and Julia is the one with ambitions. Fine. But where’s Joey’s fashionable male counterpart? Nowhere. Because fashion is for girls, I guess. In fact, the only other male magnetic dress-up character Melissa & Doug offer is Santa Claus, whose looks somehow still manage to be more exciting and active than Maggie’s.
Over all, these sets are of pretty nice quality. They are made of sturdy materials, the magnets are strong enough for their purpose, and the dolls come with a stand to help them stay upright. But if you’re thinking of getting one for the little in your life, go to Melissa & Doug’s website and pick the one you think will be the best fit. They have many choices, and I wish I’d known about Julia. If I had, I never would have gotten Maggie Leigh, no matter how cheap her complete set was. I can uderstand someone wanting her, though, if their little is VERY into fashion, or has her fun hair. I’m giving Joey and Julia four eggs, but Maggie only gets three, because she’s boring and weak, her cute ensembles and sweet curls notwithstanding.
Ariel’s Two Cents: I cannot wait till magnets become an unsupervised toy! Bean is still obsessed with putting everything in her mouth. I know. I know! She’s a toddler. But this does border on an obsession. We have several magnet sets at the moment, but without fail ten minutes into play time she has a dog, a train AND a banana in her mouth. And she is happily chewing away. I will definitely seek out the Melissa & Doug Dress-up Sets when she grows out of this. But not Maggie. Thanks for the warning!
Do your kids love magnets or dress-up toys? Do you have a really great set we should know about? Please, share your thought in the comments below. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We have a weekly newsletter now, too, so you don't have to worry about missing a thing.
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The dress-up sets are rated for kids over three, but the princesses are safe for kids two and up. You know what else falls into that category? These sets of magnetic animals and dinosaurs! Monkey has enough magnets for now, but I know she would love these sets. They're probably a four-egg toy, too.
Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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