Finding fun yet educational toys can be challenging and frustrating at times, especially if you don’t want to spend an arm and leg on something your child will only play with for a short time.
If you join any moms forums, especially Montessori-related ones, you’ll often hear about Lovevery Play Kits. It’s a set of toys and books subscriptions sent to your doors every two or three months.
Lovevery is often praised for its open-ended toy philosophy and durable sustainable toys, Here is our honest Lovevery Play Kits review after two children tried it (and for the purpose of this article I also asked various friends who have had play kits subscriptions about their honest opinions).
This is NOT a sponsored review. I bought and tested Lovevery toys with my own money and all opinions are unbiased.
What Are Lovevery Play Kits?
Baby Play Kits
- The Looker Play Kit (Months 0-3) – To develop new connections in the brain and process their surroundings, the Looker Play Kit has great high-contrast images to simulate this. Includes black and white board book, the two-sided mobile, high contrast mittens.
- The Charmer Play Kit (Months 3-4) – To helps to make noise and recognize objects. Includes mirror card, first soft books and rattles.
- The Senser Play Kit (Months 5-6) – To discovers everything by touching, seeing by putting nearly everything in their mouth. Includes a spinning rainbow drum, magic tissue box, rattle socks and more.
- The Inspector Play Kit (Months 7-8) – To investigate the surroundings and develop fine motor skills. Includes an object permanence box, single puzzle, stacking cups and more.
- The Explorer Play Kit (Months 9-10) – To practice motor skills. Includes balancing blocks, cups, wooden egg and some of the amazing things your child will encounter in this kit.
- The Thinker Play Kit (Months 11-12) – To develop the pincer grip and hand-eye coordination along with emotional skills. Includes a peg drop and pincer puzzle and the baby doll.
Toddler Play Kits
- The Babbler Play Kit (Months 13, 14, 15) – Offers new challenges in balance, object permanence, and spatial awareness with the ball run, coin bank, multiple puzzles, and felt bunnies.
- The Pioneer Play Kit (Months 16, 17, 18) – Shows how to experiment with cause and effect with both hands with the threadable bead kit, race cars, and veggie puzzles.
- The Realist Play Kit (Months 19, 20, 21) – Helps mimic real life with the pitcher and glass, new puzzles, and the lockbox.
- The Companion Play Kit (Months 22, 23, 24) – Eases the transition into twos with the mosaic button board, buckle barrel, and animal match cards.
2-3 Years Play Kits
- The Helper Play Kit (Months 25, 26, 27) – with the famous sink
- The Enthusiast Play Kit (Months 28, 29, 30) – with a fun scale
- The Investigator Play Kit (Months 31, 32, 33) – includes a useful toddler timer
- The Free Spirit Play Kit (Months 34, 35, 36) – introduces counting pegs
Is Lovevery Montessori?
Lovevery Play Kits are Montessori and Waldorf-based toy subscription boxes. Lovevery has a team of experts in both the education and medical fields who are leaders in child development. This means that their products are based on scientific research and child development ideas – basically, the research is done for you.
Every of the 18 available Play Kits comes with a Play Guide for parents, which shows the order in which the toys should be introduced to the child and how to play. This is incredibly helpful for parents who don’t have much time after work at first glance.
While their toys are partially wooden and definitely long-lasting, Lovevery doesn’t really align with true Montessori philosophy. While some toys might resemble the Montessori toy idea, lots of their toys would be considered anti-Montessori as they’re not all open-ended and imitate vs encourage kids to use real-life tools, such as their most popular kitchen sink from The Helper Kit or Lovevery doll.
Ultimately, Lovevery is more MontessorISH. They’re also not entirely Waldorf either. That doesn’t make them bad unless you’re strictly following Montessori at home (we’re not, I won’t refuse my son a Paw Patrol toy he plays all day with just because it’s not Montessori), but basically, they’re well-thought good-looking toys.
Is Lovevery overrated? Are Play Kits Worth the Price?
While Lovevery is popular it comes with a high price tag that surprises many parents. One can almost say it’s a luxury toy kit. Inevitably, one of the most common questions are: Is Lovevery worth the price? Are Lovevery play kits overrated trendy toys?
You’ll surely find many people who will tell you that they love their play kits and many people who would disagree saying it’s a waste of money. I will tell you that it depends on:
- the play kit: some are awesome, some are just all right
- your child’s preferences as some materials and toys might not be very entertaining for some kids
- what’s your situation (are you a stay-at-home mom or your child goes to daycare), as your child might simply not need a ton of toys if they go to daycare
Many people will tell you that a range of costs per toy considering the total price of the play kit is $9-15, which seems not so much. I suppose you could say, but the value of each item isn’t always even because it might seem cheap for a giant ball drop, does it still seem cheap if I told you that you paid for a black&white card?
The most important question is whether you need that many toys every month. If you’re not planning on buying any more toys then it might be worth the price for you.
If it takes away the stress of thinking about how to entertain your child and makes your life even a tiny bit easier that way as a new mom, then Lovevery is 100% worth it. But, don’t think that your child will miss out on some super-duper amazing toys if you cannot afford Lovevery play kits! Your child be fine without the playkits!
Lovevery also claims a commitment to making nontoxic toys from certified organic materials, including cotton and sustainably sourced wood. That part is awesome.
However, many parents want to source their toys locally and Lovevery is designed in Boise ID but made in China, NOT made in the USA. While there’s nothing wrong with China and with Lovevery you can be assured of sustainable materials and organic cotton.
My Experience with Lovevery Play Kits
I’ll be honest with you: at first, I thought Lovevery was ridiculously overpriced. It wasn’t until I was producing and making my own toys that I realized that sadly the toys that aren’t cheap plastic ones are pricy due to the cost of materials, work, and shipping.
In terms of quality, I will admit that all Lovevery items I’ve had were very good quality, and let’s be real: you often get what you pay for. And I’m saying this as someone who used to produce their own wooden toys and tried most brands on both American and European markets. With Lovevery, you can be assured that the toys won’t fall apart and nothing is toxic. The toys and books can definitely last and be resold later or work for siblings or gifts for other children.
After trying specific play kits and various other items I decided Lovevery wasn’t the biggest hit for either of my kids. A few of my friends had the same experience, while others stayed subscribed as it gave them peace of mind that their kids are playing with well-thought-of toys which is a great argument!
My biggest problem with Lovevery wasn’t the price, quality, or idea, because the brand does a great job in that department. It was the fact that sometimes children have a different developmental timeline and various toys are introduced too late or too early.
For example, I was super excited about the puzzle set from The Helper kit and introduced it when my child was exactly 25 months old. It was way too easy for him and he completed it in 2 minutes and never cared for it again saying he knows how to do it. The same thing happened with the lockbox from The Realist Kit – my child was fascinated with locks over half a year earlier and it was all too easy for him at 22 months.
I got The Babbler kit mostly for the ball drop, but it was quite hard for my other son to actually drop the ball as it requires a hard press. The toy was way too loud for him and he seemed uncomfortable with it until he was 17 months old. Then, on the other hand, while the race car drop and velcro bugs from the Pioneer Kit were a hit with his older brother, but he found them a great snack (and while we’re not too concerned over choking hazards as we watch kids, some parts on the cars were definitely small and could be considered a choking hazard under 3 for those concerned about it).
Neither of my kids wanted to touch anything made of felt (I honestly didn’t like the texture either) and since we have a cat all the items were instantly covered in cat hair, so all the felt toys were immediately discarded which seemed like a waste.
The same thing concerning any dolls… neither of my kids cared for a doll up until 2.5, which is when we picked a more realistic doll not to have my son ask “why does the doll have no teeth” or “why does the doll have no nose” and other very fair questions. The Lovevery doll, while promoting diversity which is great, is more aligned with Waldorf philosophy rather than Montessori.
The counting pegs only appear right before the child’s 3rd birthday in The Free Spirit Kit which in my opinion is late… my older son knew how to count to 20 by 2.5 years and we played with tumi ishi stones also a year earlier.
That said, the trick I used for my Lovevery was to move my kids birthday to a few months earlier (you do it when you sign up to get your first play kit). We were able to try some toys earlier and save some for later so everyone was happy with their toys.
Can You Buy Lovevery Toys Separately? Best Lovevery Products
Some Lovevery toys are available to buy separately on their website, at Target, and Amazon, but most items included in the play kits cannot be bought individually which is a bummer.
However, you can check Mercari as many people are selling various pieces (often new when the child didn’t care for a particular toy) or Lovevery exchange groups when people are reselling used kits for a fraction of the price.
I will say that while I do believe that buying play kits can be a hit or miss, there are various products that I would recommend from Lovevery.
Montessori Placemats & Utensils – they’re great for eager self-feeders, good quality, and teach how to properly set the table.
Organic Cotton Play Tunnel – who doesn’t love a place to crawl through and hide? It’s not too pricy and provides hours of playtime.
Wooden Block Set – it’s high quality and can be used for years to come.
Is Lovevery Play Gym Worth It?
Lovevery Play Gym & mat is more than double the standard one you can find on Amazon, so it’s a huge splurge.
The play gym is very well thought: it has 5 Developmental Zones with activities, on top of detachable activities, cards and it can transform into a fort. It’s supposedly made of organic cotton according to their website although beware: on the actual tag it actually lists polyester so it’s a bit of illegal advertising.
The whole thing is sturdy enough so it won’t fall on the child, unlike some V-shaped wooden gyms. But, it wouldn’t hold the attention of any child I know and you cannot readjust the toys.
My kids hated tummy time for the first few months of their lives and wouldn’t focus on any toys (apart from the second child who just wanted to eat it all), we spent a lot of time outside and traveling, taking walks, and doing things, so the kids were simply taking the world in instead of just lying down and staring at random toys. But that was my personal preference.
If you ask me, I’ll tell you that you might find better ways to spend $140 on an actual experience for the child than an item for a baby so small. We didn’t see the hype and the fact that the mat wasn’t slightly waterproof (like the Fisher-Price mat) and required to be washed vs just cleaned with damp was very time-consuming.
Most kids don’t care for any toys up until 6 months so it’s more for the parents at this stage and after 6 months the babies are more interested in rolling off the mat and crawling away, so it was really a waster. Quality-wise it’s surely worth the price, but if you think about it: it’s just a piece of nice birch wood.
I believe some Lovevery Play kits are more worth it than others. I wouldn’t buy anything under 6 months because babies are entertained by everything around them – we had zero toys apart from some rattle socks up until both kids were almost 8 months old because we didn’t need anything.
The best kits are geared toward older children who have more sophisticated toys. You can skip certain kits in your subscription so if you want to save money you might pick only the best ones.
All the toys look great and are not obnoxious, so if you care for the aesthetics of your house they will satisfy your needs. It’s surely a quality set of toys.
You can buy many similar items on Amazon, Etsy, and local stores, but quite often it might be more expensive to create the kits yourself – plus you wouldn’t get a play guide so if you’re a stay-at-home mom and feel like you might use some amazing guidelines, then why not try Lovevery?
On the other hand, a lot of the Lovevery toys at that age can be made at home for no money at all! You can make a coin box with a shoebox, or a tissue box with any tissue box and cut out pieces of materials. Neither of these activities requires a lot of prep or time, so works even for busy moms (I get it, I work full-time too!).
For us, Lovevery wasn’t a must-have, but wasn’t bad either. We were happy with the toys we got, but I’m a firm believer that especially babies don’t need that many toys and it’s scientifically proven that the fewer toys the more independence so I surely gave away some things. Especially as a Montessori parent, you can just teach your child to use real-life tools and water real flowers vs play with toy flowers.
To conclude, I think Lovevery has great marketing with their claim of having done all the research for new parents which takes the stress away. And they’re not wrong – it surely does! But, every child is an individual and there’s no one fits all scenario I’m yet to hear about any child who loves and plays with every toy in every kit.
If you think your child might love some toys, then try some Lovevery play kits, but I think looking more into Montessori will help you develop a better parenting framework than simply ordering Lovevery toys just because they’re trendy among new Insta moms.