Monday, August 28th, 2006
Review: Two Toy Mailboxes
Here is a look at two toy mailboxes my daughter has been playing with (even though neither is intended for her age and I kind of lampooned the whole idea of buying a toy mailbox in an earlier post. *cough* Was that me?).
Mail Box and Mail Set by Melissa and Doug â€” A friend has this sweet postal play set. Although intended for 3 to 8-year-olds, my daughter began playing with it at 24 months, along with her 28-month-old friend.
This 14″ high wooden mailbox has three slots for inserting different sized mail. Several painted wooden postcards, envelopes and small parcels are included. The kids affix reusable stamps with Velcro, insert the mail and then retrieve it.
There are two doors, one accessed via an oversized key and the other simply held closed with a magnet. The kids use the keyed door, but not the key because the lock mechnanism is broken.
At first I thought the mail and stamps were cool, but in the long-term I bet they limit creativity. Wouldn’t it be fun to scribble on a postcard and send that? It would be better to have blank wooden or plastic mail that could be wiped off and addressed again and again with crayon. But for now, the kids get a kick out of this toy.
Wooden Mailbox Sorter by Schylling â€” This 10.5″ high wooden mailbox is a shape sorting toy for the 18-month crowd. We bought it at a thrift store for my daughter because it can double as a pretend mailbox.
For sorting, it has 10 wooden pieces in four shapes: rectangular blocks, triangles, cylinders and round discs. The triangles can be inserted into their own hole, or the hole intended for rectangular blocks. This type of design issue is common in shape sorting toys.
The mailbox is easily emptied via a red flap door. In fact, tipping the mailbox makes the pieces spill out.
For my daughter, this mailbox works as a regular pretend mailbox. In addition to shape sorting holes, the box has an envelope-sized slot. My daughter inserts (separately purchased) photo alphabet flash cards. She holds the card stack and I ask her about the photo or letter on the top card. She then flips the card to also identify the backside… and then inserts the card. She knows a few letters by sight, and many more if she sees the photo first. When her friend visits, they have traditional post office play.
In the near future, we’ll try scribbling on paper, inserting the sheet into an envelope, popping it into the mailbox, and then pulling it out to read. We could write letters to her friends who also have mailboxes, then deliver the letters when we visit.