Melissa & Doug Wooden Bear Family Dress-Up Puzzle

by sheilamarie

Product review for Melissa & Doug Wooden Bear Family Dress-Up Puzzle. Kids love this puzzle that combines hand-eye coordination, matching, and emotional development all in one toy.

Would your child enjoy dressing this bear family for the day? Will the Bears go on a teddy bears' picnic? Or are they getting ready to eat their porridge and maybe meet a little blond haired girl who's being a bit naughty?

Although dressing up the Bear family will be fun, that's not the only reason this puzzle is a good choice for your child. Learning to read emotions on a person's -- or a bear's -- face is a skill that takes much experience. Children often misinterpret looks on a person's face and so have a difficult time responding appropriately. A puzzle, such as one of these Melissa and Doug bear dress-up puzzles, will give your child experience with matching a facial expression with the emotion being expressed.

As with any puzzle experience, your child will grow intellectually and have fun at the same time.

Dress-up Bears Teach About Emotions

And Can Be Used in Storytelling

I once worked as a parent educator bringing child development information and activities to families. During some of these sessions, we helped young children learn to identify the emotions they saw on people's faces. As adults, we sometimes assume that those emotional expressions are obvious and need no special attention, but for many children, what they see expressed on another's face can be hard to identify, leading to misunderstandings or even fear.

These Melissa and Doug bear dress-up puzzles are helpful in that they give children experience focusing on the emotions and facial expressions in a safe context. Each of the puzzles I've featured here has interchangeable faces for the bears as well as a variety of clothing options.

Your child can enjoy dressing each bear and deciding how the bear is feeling today. Together you can use the bears to act out stories the two of you already know, such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears or a story in the Little Bear series. If you'd rather, you can make up your own stories using the bears, too. Children playing together can also use the bears to spark their imaginations in free play scenarios.

Wooden Bear Family Dress-Up Puzzle

by Melissa and Doug
Melissa & Doug Wooden Bear Family Dress-Up Puzzle
Only $15.38

Features of the Wooden Bear Family Dress-Up Puzzle

What You Get with the Wooden Bear Family

Product Features:

  • 45 pieces to mix and match
  • Mama, Papa, and Baby Bears
  • Wooden box with three compartments
  • Box lid serves as a puzzle board
  • Storytelling fun
  • Quality made wooden puzzle
  • Fun for travel, home, or school
  • Recommended for children from 36 months to 5 years

Bear Dress-up Wooden Puzzle

from Melissa and Doug
Melissa & Doug Bear Dress Up Wooden Puzzle
Only $7.95

Features of Melissa and Doug Bear Dress Up Wooden Puzzle

What You Get with This Product

Product Features:

  • 18 interchangeable pieces, including 6 facial expressions
  • Outfits include hats, shoes, dresses, and bows
  • Hand crafted, hand painted
  • Solid wood construction
  • Comes in wooden box with place to display bear
  • Faces help children learn about emotions
  • Ideal for travel, home, and school
  • Recommended for children aged 3 and up

Which Puzzle Should I Choose?

Gifts for Kids

Both of these bear dress-up puzzles would be fun for kids, and either one would be a good choice for a gift. They both have story-telling possibilities, but the bear family puzzle probably can be used in a wider range of stories. Both puzzles are made by Melissa and Doug, a company known for making high quality wooden puzzles for kids.

One thing that will decide your choice will be price, and the smaller 18- piece bear dress-up puzzle is certainly less expensive. If, however, your main consideration is versatility, the bear family would be a wiser choice for play value. With three bear figures, you will have just that many more scenarios you can act out.

The main use for both puzzles, however, is the way children can learn to recognize the facial expressions on the bears and come to understand what emotion each face expresses. The road to emotional intelligence is a long one, and these puzzles will do much to nudge your child along in this direction. For this reason, either of these puzzles would be a wise choice and a welcome gift.

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Updated: 03/09/2019, sheilamarie
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What Do You Think of These Bear Puzzles?

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sheilamarie on 07/20/2012

Thank you, Brenda! I hope she enjoys it. Happy Birthday to your little one!

BrendaReeves on 07/20/2012

I love these puzzles. This would be good for my grand-daughter who has a birthday in eight days. I'm going to order it through your article.

sheilamarie on 05/09/2012

I know what you mean, Samsara. Their tactile quality is one of the best things about them. Wood is better to touch than plastic could ever be.

sheilamarie on 04/07/2012

Katiem2, I agree, these puzzles are great for building hand-eye coordination. The emotional development children get from distinguishing and naming emotions on the different faces is important, too.

sheilamarie on 04/07/2012

You're right, Kinworm, Melissa and Doug make some great puzzles!

katiem2 on 04/06/2012

Very nice. My daughters have tots packed with these types of dress up puzzles. They are priceless as they play with them for hours. They are also great for play dates. Dress up puzzles build good hand eye coordination and fashion coordinating skills. Love these, don't have a bear dress up puzzle, this is a keeper!

Marie on 04/06/2012

We have lots of Melissa and Doug toys including wooden puzzles, castles, dolls and bead sets. They are always such great quality and fun too.

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