When I was on the search for an art center, I had come across many different brands and styles. I was having a difficult time deciding which one I would purchase, until I came across the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Floor-Standing Wooden Easel, and I knew that I had found the perfect choice for my kids. It is bright, colorful, and is mainly a wooden product, unlike many of its counterparts that are made using plastic. It has a large chalkboard on one side, and a large white board on the other. I could easily picture my two year old spending quite a bit of time at it, painting, drawing and learning.
Setup was very simple, and took no longer than 20 minutes (with a two-year “helping,”) so I suppose you could knock 5-10 minutes off that time if you were at it alone! The screws holding the center together are very bright, so of course my son was quite attracted to these, and unfortunately I was constantly picking up these pieces from the floor because my son could not keep his hands off of them! Luckily we are past that phase and he now enjoys playing with it for other reasons.
The chalkboard is shiny, leading me to believe it had some sort of coating on it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is a very high quality chalkboard that my son easily can write and draw on. Cleanup is easy, and a little trick that I learned for when crayons are used on a chalkboard instead of chalk is to take a hairdryer to it and the board will be like new!
The set also comes with a set of colorful clips for paper to clip on to, and is set up with the ability to have a roll of paper placed on the inside so that children can pull the paper down, and a caregiver can simply cut/tear the paper off and the child can continue drawing or painting quickly. I did not purchase this paper initially but did come across a roll specifically for this center by Melissa & Doug.
I absolutely love this product, as does my toddler, as it provides hours of entertainment for him! An added bonus, which is something I look for when searching out a product; Melissa & Doug are actually a couple who started their company from scratch twenty years ago in the United States, and are still at it and are continuing to make great wooden products for kids.
Rating out of 10: 9
Would you recommend? Yes
Likes: Colorful, wooden, easy to put together
Dislikes: Younger kids may be prone to play with colorful screws
Where To Find: Melissa & Doug