Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel

Editor's rating:
9.0
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Reviewed by Bobby Brower
User's rating:
3.0
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We like

  • Helps develop fine motor skills
  • Teaches your child how to draw and write
  • Has storage areas to keep your child organized
  • Dual sides allow for two or more children to play at the same time
  • Creates an activity away from technology
  • Encourages group play
We don’t like
  • Assembly can be difficult
  • The quality of the parts is questionable

How it works

Melissa and Doug have been making toys for over twenty years, and their products have always brought learning and fun to playing. Their name and brand have been featured on several high profile news outlets and have been praised by millions for the quality and fun that their toys have brought to countless children. One of their most popular items is their Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel that is a two-for-one toy that allows children to use one side for using chalk on a blackboard, and the other side allows for painting and drawing on white paper that is held onto the board via a roll of paper and clips. Although a lot of accessories have to be purchased separately, many parents have been happy with the hours of creativity that the easel provides away from televisions, tablets, and smartphones. There have been other mixed reviews of the product as many parents have not been impressed by the quality of the materials that make up the easel or the fact that assembling the product can be time-consuming and difficult. For the most part, the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel has been a welcomed addition to several children’s playtime.

Design

Design

The Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel is designed for two children to play at one time although several children of several ages can play at the same time. The easel is the typical A frame that folds in half completely for storage, and when pulled open stands on its own. One side of the easel is a chalkboard. It is a standard blackboard where children can use chalk to draw and write. With a blackboard eraser, your child can wipe the chalkboard clean and have a new and clean surface to draw and write more. Underneath the chalkboard is a bin where you can store the eraser and the chalk so that the accessories do not get lost or dropped onto the floor.

The other side of the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel is a whiteboard where you can use dry erase markers to draw and write as you would on the chalkboard with chalk. The whiteboard is a standard whiteboard and wipes away with ease and is easy to clean. An additional item on this side of the board is the ability to put paper over the whiteboard so that your child can use paint and paintbrushes to create works of art. In the middle of the easel behind both of the boards is a long wooden rod where you can put a roll of paper.

The paper gets pulled up between the boards and through a slot that allows the paper to be run down the whiteboard. The easel comes with four clips that will hold the paper in place and then your child can begin to paint on the paper. The board has a child-safe paper cutter so that you can take the finished work of art and either have it framed or hung on the refrigerator. Underneath the whiteboard area is a bucket for keeping all the painting and dry erase accessories like paint, paintbrushes, and dry erase markers.
Assembly

Assembly

Assembling the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel has been the biggest cause for concern for many parents. The feelings on the assembly are mixed as some parents say that assembling the easel is pretty straightforward and easy to do, while other parents have said that assembly has been a total nightmare.

The easel is held together by large plastic screws and bolts. In the past, many of Melissa and Doug’s products have required the use of an Allen wrench to put all of their parts together because the bolts and screws were metallic. With the wooden art easel, the plastic components eliminate the need for the Allen wrench in the spirit of making assembly easier without the need for tools. The concern for some parents is that plastic fasteners tend to strip easy and do not hold as sturdy as having a metallic screw that can be tightened with a wrench. Some parents have found that the easel has a greater risk of coming apart because of the lack of grip in the plastic screws.

The other concern was the quality of the wood. Some parents were of the opinion that the wood was not first-rate and that it was flimsy, which made them feel that they were purchasing a product that could easily snap or break. On the other hand, many parents have been nothing but pleased with the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel and have said the youngest of their children used the easel thoroughly and they never had a problem with the sturdiness or safety of the easel. The easel will come in several parts and by following the directions you will be able to screw all the pieces together until the easel is complete.
Accessories

Accessories

The only accessories that come with the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel are four clips that hold the paper onto the whiteboard for painting. The four clips are colored yellow, red, green, and blue and they resemble the kind of clips you would use to keep a bag of potato chips closed. The clip to the top of the whiteboard side of the easel so that when the paper is run through the slot on top of the board, the clips can hold the paper in place.

Other than the clips, there are no other accessories that come with the easel. Any other accessory will need to be purchased separately. The only thing that comes in the box is the easel itself.

Paint, paintbrushes, dry erase markers, chalk, chalk markers, and the chalkboard eraser will all have to be purchased by you through whatever manufacturer or website or major retailer you choose to shop with for these accessories. The paper roll will also need to be purchased separately, and the easel can hold the paper between twelve inches and eighteen inches long. Anything longer than that will not fit in the easel.
Storage

Storage

The easel will come with two buckets that are attached to the easel underneath each side of the product. These bins are for your and your child to store their accessories. The bucket underneath the chalkboard is designed to hold the chalk, chalk markers, and the eraser so that your child has all of their materials at hand at all times.

On the other side of the easel, the storage bin is designed a bit differently. The storage bin for the dry erase side of the easel has cup holders for your child to hold paint or a jar of brushes while they are working.

There is a slot for holding markers or brushes as well. This storage area is great for keeping your child organized and keeping their tools organized so that they can maintain a clean workspace while they are creating and they can keep their mess to a minimum. There is also extra room underneath the easel for more storage bins that you can buy separately.
Paper Roll

Paper Roll

In between the chalkboard and the whiteboard is a rod that runs through the easel. This rod can detach so that you can slide in a roll of paper for your child to paint on. By keeping the roll in the middle of the board it is out of the way and adds extra weight and sturdiness to the easel. The paper gets pulled up between the boards and along the top of the whiteboard side, you will see another rod that runs along the length of the board. The paper is threaded between the rod and the board and the paper gets pulled down over the whiteboard. The four clips are then utilized to hold the paper in place so that it doesn’t move or come undone.
Adjustable

Adjustable

The Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel is recommended for children between the ages of three and ten. As a result, the easel is highly adjustable so that your child can keep the easel as they grow older. To adjust the easel there are plastic screws on the inside of the easel that can be loosened and the entire easel can be elevated to the next level so that your child is always at the proper height to be able to work with the easel without it being out of their reach or below their eye line.
Group Play

Group Play

The Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel is great for group play as both sides not only allow two children to play at one time, but several children can play at the same time. Children can play games where they have drawing competitions, or they can all create one big work of art together. Group play not only allows children to work on their social skills and their skills at playing fair and playing well with others, but it also gets children interacting with each other instead of sitting in front of the television, tablet, or smartphone. So many children are more drawn to technology, and this product gives children an alternative to electronics where they can create and draw with their own hands as opposed to just typing into a device and hitting buttons.
Motor Skills

Motor Skills

One of the biggest benefits to the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel is that it allows toddlers the ability to work on their gripping skills, their motor skills, and their ability to draw numbers and letters that will become the basis of their education. Children can spend hours writing and learning their numbers and letters and through the creation of the numbers and letters, they will be able to easily identify these characters and know them well before they start school.

Toddlers also get the opportunity to hold a pencil, a paintbrush, chalk, or a marker in their hands and learn how to properly hold the instrument as they learn to write and sound out letters and numbers all while they are playing. It’s great for parents and children to spend quality time together as parents help teach their children how to draw, write, and learn.
Price

Price

For all the education that the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel provides, the price is right on target. The easel can very easily last you several years and several children. The easel is not inexpensive, but it is not too expensive either. It’s a toy that can easily fit into the budget of any parent. It should be remembered that the other accessories are sold separately and can cost just as much as the easel itself. The accessories will also need to be replenished as time goes on, so getting the easel does turn into an investment and the upkeep should be kept in mind when purchasing.
Conclusion

Conclusion

For any parent that wants to give their child the opportunity to be creative while they are learning, the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel is a purchase worth considering. The easel encourages group play and the development of social skills while your child is learning how to play well with others while learning how to write, read, and develop motor skills that will help them easily adapt and learn when they start school.

The easel also helps promote organizational skills for your child as there is a place for everything on the easel and your child can learn to keep their space organized. Your child will have the ability to fully express themselves creatively and they can begin to discover their talents and their passions. With a price that is reasonable, the Melissa and Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel is a great buy for the parent who wants to get their child away from technology and learning and having fun at the same time.
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