Trying to decide if “The Companion” Play Kit from Lovevery is worth it in 2022? YES!
From a financial perspective, to recreate this play kit with toys from Amazon and Etsy you'd come in around $115 on the cheapest end (excluding shipping and compromising quality) – but could spend as much as $140+ to recreate.
- Video review: "The Companion" Play Kit in action:
- What is inside The Companion Play Kit for Months 22, 23, 24?
- Wooden Posting Stand
- Mosaic Button Board
- "Graham Turns Two" Board book
- Tweezers and felt stars
- Buckle Barrel
- Chunky wooden jigsaw puzzle
- Montessori Animal Hatch
- Drawstring bag
- Play Guide
- Little Quinn
- Larger nesting drip cups
- Animal two-piece puzzles
- Puzzle box
- To-go kit
- "Bea Gets A Checkup" Board book
In this post, I'll share a video review, the cost of the play kit, and the pros and cons to it from the perspective of a mom who has had it since 2020! I'll also share about the Lovevery play kit update from 2020. Including what items they added to this play kit and which items they removed and are only available through the “subscriber shop” now. Plus which Items I think are worth it, which are worth skipping, and where to find alternatives for on Amazon and Etsy.
You can read the FAQs and full review of all the Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.
Video review: “The Companion” Play Kit in action:
What is inside The Companion Play Kit for Months 22, 23, 24?
Wooden Posting Stand
A 3D puzzle working on problem solving and hand eye coordination.
This is the only item they included in the new play kit that wasn't in the old play kit – so it's the only one I have no experience with and can't speak too.
Lovevery vs Amazon for this item:
To find a similar item to this one on Amazon you're looking at roughly $30 – but none of the options are quite like Lovevery's.
Option 1: Far from montessori. This has wooden pegs, but the are all one size (not working quite the same problem solving as Lovevery's). It comes with hammer mallets, a xylophone side, and s number drop side. In other words: it's got a lot going on. Not a bad thing, just not in line with montessori philosophy of simplicity.
Option 2: A bit more montessori in that it is just wood and focuses on just the pegs in the holes. Unlike Lovevery's, all the pegs are the same size. It comes with a mallet to hit the pegs in.
Mosaic Button Board
Create 3D art while refining fine motor skills and strength.
We LOVE this toy! It's one that will last at least a year or more in your child's development. Our came with a handful of “puzzle sheets” – each with a back and front – of varying complexities for your child to work on.
I love that the toy doubles as storage – easy clean up, easy to store.
Amazon Alternative for this item:
This one is probably the most similar, but there are loads of options for mosaic button puzzles on Amazon, averaging $15, shop them all here!
Again, none are quite a match for Lovevery though. Lovevery's focuses on SIMPLE. Four colors, simple to more complex shapes. The Amazon ones are probably better suited for 2.5-3 year olds and up. The pictures are way more complex, with significantly more colors, and are overall just a bit more chaotic. Lovevery's really helped me daughter learn the difference between yellow, orange, and red as they are so similar in theirs, which I appreciated.
“Graham Turns Two” Board book
A story talking about the big feelings that come with growing older and turning 2!
We LOVE this book. My daughter points out all the colors and different items in it.
I couldn’t find anything quite like this book. One thing I love about Lovevery books is that they are montessori – focusing on real kids/practical life skills and daily activities. So I just based price on the average board book price.
Tweezers and felt stars
We gave this to our daughter at 17 months and she LOVED it!
She is still working on her fine motor pincer grasp with the tweezer, in picking up the stars to transfer them into the nesting baskets found from “The Babbler” Play Kit but she loves it so much.
NOTE: they discontinued the nesting baskets from the Babbler and now include 1 of those in this play kit and let you purchase a set of 3 separately via their Target line here. I still recommend getting a full set of nesting baskets either from the Babbler subscriber shop, their target line, or you can order a similar set on Etsy here.
Amazon/Etsy Dupes for this:
Tweezers: $11 – comes in a pack, can't buy individually.
Felt Stars: $10 for a pack of 10 – you can customize your order.
Wool nesting baskets: $22 for a set of 3 – doesn't look quite as nice as Lovevery's
This is GENIUS!
So our daughter loves buckling things since like 14-15 months. She sits in her high chair and stroller for hours each week working on this skill.
We gave her the buckle barrely at 16 months and it took her some time to get used to holding the pillow still and buckling so I did need to hold it for about a month while she practiced buckling. From 16-19 months she was pretty hit or miss with interest in it.
Around 20-22 months she started to get into it a lot more. It's brilliant and just keeps getting better. The pillow has a various style buckles, all of which are no-pinch! I need to “reset” (unbuckle) it for her still at 24 months, which is why I say it keeps getting better, she keeps working on a new skill in mastering it.
It's a great practice in hand strength and bilateral coordination according to Lovevery!
This is our GO TO toy for road trips – one piece so it's easy to keep track of.
Amazon dupes for this item come it at roughly $15 here. Some are as low as $10, others as much as $30. Lovevery's has 8 buckles, most options have 6; but they come in a bunch of different styles (penguins, caterpillars, square pillows, etc.).
Chunky wooden jigsaw puzzle
Stepping up our puzzle game with this easy to hold, challenging to solve puzzle!
We gave this to her around 16-17 months and she understood how the pieces connected, but it took until 24 months for her to to form the perfect square (as they can be arranged a slew of ways).
She matches the felt stars colors to the pieces and generally just LOVES this toy SO much. Probably one of her favorites in this kit.
Amazon/Etsy Dupes for this:
I found this puzzle that is the most similar to Lovevery's.
But you can also get chunky wooden jigsaw puzzles in some fun shapes too:
On Amazon something similar will cost $13 – way more complex than Lovevery's and probably better suited for 2.5 years old and up.
More montessori and like Loveverys can be found on Etsy ranging from: $11-15 – some of these seem great for 2 years olds, others seem a little too simple.
Pig Puzzle | Tractor | Emergency Vehicles | Multiple Animal Options
Montessori Animal Hatch
A classic Montessori sorting game with animals and wooden tiles.
I love this for a couple of reasons: One of the signature Montessori toys every kid needs is a cast of “characters” these could be animals, family figures, whatever.
The montessori concept is the cast of character go on to inhabit the imaginary worlds your child is building with blocks or acting out social scenes/themes in their lives.
So it's really a toy that will be in your life for a longggg time.
In the more immediate future, it's a toy that teaches similarities and differences, animal sounds, etc.
By far our daughters FAVORITE toy. She started playing with it around 16 months and has never stopped.
Dupes for this item:
NOTE: This could cost you anywhere from $10-30 or more to replicate. The 3 brands I’d recommend with the most similar quality to Lovevery’s animal figurines are Schleich (most similar), ToyMany, and Safari Ltd. None come with match cards. There are some figurines/match card sets you can get for $10-15 but the cards are paper, not wood like Lovevery’s. You can always print pictures on cardstock to make your own matching card sets.
Organic cotton bag to keep your animals and wooden tiles. Love to keep toys organized and be abl to tell what they are from the bag.
Research backed ideas for playing with your 22, 23, or 24 month old and insights on the skills their are developing.
Lovevery reduced the number of toys in this!! How can you still get the discontinued items?
The Subscriber Shop.
You may have heard, in the fall of 2020 Lovevery reduced the number of toys found in their 1-2 year old play kits. Their official statement basically said they were responding to use feedback: getting rid of the filler items and focusing more on “big ticket” items if you will. I share my initial thoughts on the change here.
If you are subscribed to the Lovevery play kits, you can still access the discontinued items from the Companion Play Kit in the “subscriber shop.” The Lovevery Subscriber Shop is basically a link they email you once your play kit has shipped and includes JUST the items from that play kit. In other words, if you were subscribed for the entire year, you won't get a link for a subscriber shop with ALL 4 play kits discontinued items. Instead, you will get 4 links, one after each kit ships, with JUST the items from that kit.
Lovevery Play Kit Video Review: The Companion Discontinued Items After 2020 Update
Discontinued Items From The Companion Play Kit:
Below you'll find the items that have been discontinued from this play kit and whether or not I think they are worth purchasing from the subscriber shop.
DISCLAIMER: I don't know the price of these items in the subscriber shop since I already received this play kit. I am SOLELY basing my recommendation off my child's use/love for it. Only you can make the choice about what makes the most sense financially for your family.
A larger doll than Avery but just as lovable!
We gave this to our daughter at 16 months and she loves it! Particularly snapping the overalls on and off. We actually use this for her speech therapy sessions too. She loves hiding little toys in and out of the overalls.
Quinn is a larger, organic, soft doll for imaginary play. Similar to Avery, Quinn is gender neutral and even more racially/ethnically ambiguous.
Should you skip or buy Little Quinn?
I'm honestly on the fence. While we love Quinn's outfit for language development, my daughter much prefers these dolls over Quinn. As a result, I've never had to wash Quinn so I can't speak to how well Quinn would hold up if dirty. My daughter's favorite doll/toy of all time is Mia (get 20% off when you click here!). All their dolls are is handmade in Peru and each doll donates 10 meals to families in need. She brings it to the beach, grocery store, park and it's gets dirty AF. I've washed it countless times and it's held up really well over a year and a half.
Larger nesting drip cups
A larger set of nesting/stacking cups to grow with your toddler. These also have little holes/designs for water to drip through the bottom.
These work perfectly with the baby cups to make an even toller tower or larger nest.
Skip or get LARGE NESTING CUPS?
Personally, I love the bigger cups and am happy to say you can now purchase these as an individual item from Lovevery here!
They are great for water play, for stacking and using with the Lovevery block set, and make great containers to scoop or store loose pieces in a playroom (the smaller cups in previous kits or you'd get on Amazon are too small for that last one IMO).
Amazon Alternative Large Nesting Cup Options:
Again, nothing quite like Lovevery's so I'd probably get that one – but these are great options:
- Animal Counting Cubes (my daughter LOVES these)
- Colors, Counting, Letters Nesting Cubes
- Shape + Sorting Cups
- Just Cups Option 1
- Just Cups Option 2
Animal two-piece puzzles
A set of 4 puzzles, each with two pieces, to practice the concept of “right side up.”
This is another one of our favorites! She didn't start enjoying it until about 23 months (the fine motor refinement was a little too challenging that she'd get frustrated and quit). We bring this with us to appointments now though and she loves the different animals.
Option 1: $13 – Technically these are 3 pieces, but they are the “most montessori” as in they have the most realistic animal pictures similar to what Lovevery offers. Comes with 20 puzzles.
Option 2: $14 – 20 two piece puzzles, some pictures are quite realistic, others are more cartoony.
A little box to take your two-piece puzzles to go.
In “The Pioneer” play kit review I didn't appreciate the “to-go” box they gave.
But I did start to really appreciate all of the boxes Lovevery gives for keeping the toys organized and ready to travel at a moments notice as R has gotten older.
This box is perfect for stickers (which it comes with), crayons, puzzle pieces, tools, really whatever little activity you may want to pack for on-the-go fun.
Buy or skip?
Personally I'd 100% get this. Kids collect things and this little tool box is really great for storage, other toys, and the stickers can be used 1 time or you can extend their life by turning them into matching cards like I did…
I took some of the stickers and put them on a this thick cardstock paper to use as matching cards. She'll match them with the quilt/felt critters from previous play kits. NOTE: all of the stickers match previous Lovevery items!!
I also took the stickers and added them to our Melissa & Doug reusable sticker sheet to get more use out of.
NOTE: If you get the reusable sticker pads – they are more window clings than stickers, but you can use regular stickers on them! Also remove the backing to make it easier for toddlers to get the stickers off and to reset the sheets
Again, nothing quite like it. There are some “tool kits” but none of the boxes have the two layer storage like Lovevery's – and obviously no other brand is going to make stickers that match Lovevery's previous play kit items perfectly.
But here are the “tool kit” options I found:
- Age appropriate tool kit but the top layer isn't removable
- Wooden tool kit (we have something similar and this is what I'd probably get if I just wanted age appropriate tools)
- This one doesn't have 2nd tier in box, probably better suited for 4+ yr olds
“Bea Gets A Checkup” Board book
Walk your child through what to expect from the doctor.
Personally this is my LEAST favorite Lovevery book we've ever received. I know in the 2020 update they moved it to an earlier play kit too – which is a bummer IMO. So I'd say SKIP.
Is The Companion Play Kit from Lovevery worth it?
Yes! Shop it here!
Obviously, I got the original play kit which was a no brainer (financially a steal) so I'm a little bias.
With that said, from a financial perspective, to recreate this play kit with toys from Amazon and Etsy you'd come in around $115 on the cheapest end – but could spend as much as $140+ to recreate.
Now, like I mentioned earlier, it's actually pretty hard to find exact dupes for the items in this play kit. And many of those “cheaper” dupes are probably better suited for slightly older kids (3 years+).
Honestly, between the hassle of finding the items, shipping, and just the dupes all being a little “off” developmentally and quality wise, I'd probably pay the extra $5-10 premium for the ease of Lovevery. That's me personally.
You of course need to make a choice that suits you best. If cost savings is your number one concern, I'd suggest checking out KiwiCo's subscription kits over trying to recreate this box yourself. But so far, I prefer Lovevery over KiwiCo and do think this box is worth it, even with the update.
Like I said, my daughter started playing with a lot of these items around 16 months. I didn't mean for it happen, but when she saw the Lovevery boxes delivered she started squealing (she knows what they are since we use them for easy toy rotation too!) and insisted I open it. Since then she's continued to get more and more use out of the items.
Since my daughter opened these a little early here's some advice…
If your child isn't obsessed with a toy right away: it could be a little advanced, and they may be getting frustrated.
E.g. my daughter loved the buckle pillow in this, but it was a little advanced for her right away. She would only play with it for a few minutes at a time. As she got older and mastered it more, she was able to play with it for longer and longer stretches. If your child seems frustrated, either model it for them or put it away and try again in a month. Many of the toys will require parents to play with the child and toy at first, and in a month or two, the child will likely be able to play with it independently.
How much does The Companion Play Kit from Lovevery Cost?
The Companion Play Kit is $120 and is intended for 3 months of toys (in other words, if you are subscribed to their play kits, you'd get it once every quarter). or You can get a 10% discount on Lovevery play kits if you pay up front which would bring the price down to $108, or “$36 a month” as it says on their website here.
Shop “The Companion” Play Kit from Lovevery:
You can read the FAQs and full review of Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.
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