Your toddler loves pounding, and smashing stuff, a Melissa and Doug Pounding Bench is the toy you may want to get him. These benches are fun for toddlers, fun for mom (because the pounding is contained), and offer a wonderful opportunity to talk about colors and give your toddler a chance to follow directions. Even when your toddler plays them independently, they will help him improve his fine motor skills and learn about how to decipher cause-effect relationships.
There’s one problem with many of the pounding benches on the market. The pieces come out. That doesn’t (necessarily) cut down on enjoyment; your toddler will love pounding the pieces through the holes. It means, though, that you need to set up the bench every time your toddler wants to play (or teach him to), and if your house is anything like mine it means that the pieces will probably get lost in very short order.
That’s why I love the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench. The pegs stay right there, but play teeter-tooter with each other – while one smiley-faced peg goes down into its hole at a blow from the peg, the opposite smiley-face pops up like a happy gopher.
I found this a well made, aesthetically pleasing toy; a toy that is fun to look at and fun to play with. It’s ideal for one and two year olds; after three it will be played with occasionally, but not likely as a favorite toy.Some more of my favorite features of the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench:
What are the cons of the Melissa and Doug pounding bench? The primary one is that, though this toy is ideal for a little toddler, proper use of the hammer requires a bit more maturity. This toy might not be the best toy to have out in a playgroup; if one toddler decides to use the hammer on the head of another toddler, a big black bump will be the likely result.
You could, of course, drill a hole in the side of the pounding bench, drill a hole in the handle of the hammer, and connect the two together with a stout cord. That is a lot of extra work, though; probably only worth it if you are running a day care. Otherwise, teach your toddler ‘hammer rules’ and put the bench away when little friends come to play.
There’s also the noise—this is wood on wood, so expect lots of loud poiunding noises whenever your toddler is playing. If you shy whenever a door is slammed, you may want to look for quieter toys for your toddler.