Wondering if the Lovevery Connector Play Kit for 4 year olds (49, 50, 51 months) is worth it vs Amazon self curating? In short: YES!
In this post, I'll walk you through each item included in The Connector Play Kit from Lovevery, our personal experience with a 4 year old and 2 year old and the toys, followed by how the items compare to Amazon Alternatives and other toy dupes (with links + discussion to shop those as well if self curating this Lovevery play kit!):
- WATCH LOVEVERY CONNECTO PLAY KIT REVIEW: Worth it?!?
- What's inside The Connector Play Kit from Lovevery? [+ Amazon Alternatives!]
- The Connector Play Kit Book Bundle
- How much does Lovevery's Connector Play Kit Cost?
- Is the Lovevery Connector Play Kit Worth It?
- Quick Shop Amazon Alternatives:
- Shop “The Connector” Play Kit From Lovevery here!
What's inside The Connector Play Kit from Lovevery? [+ Amazon Alternatives!]
Discover + Inspect Microscope
A working microscope that magnifies things up to 20 times. The scope also detaches for on-the-go exploration and the base carries slide wheels and specimen.
Ok so my daughter was definitely MOST excited about this item upon unboxing the play kit. She immediately took it outside to see how it worked. However we found it pretty tricky to use – but I think that's just the nature of microscopes.
As an adult, I found the spot we look through, very tiny/hard to see. Additionally, the zoom was almost too good for her to comprehend what she was looking at. She lost interest fairly quickly – but she's also not a science-y kid.
I see this item as something that continues cycling through and one that I remind her about as we find new treasures.
Image Slide Wheels + Specimen Clip
To go with the microscope, Lovevery included two double sided slide wheels and a specimen clip for kids to collect their own samples.
Amazon Alternatives + Dupes:
Dupes for this range between $15 to $90 depending on what you go with:
My top pick is this one which comes with a 200x magnification, eight double sided slides, and a 2.4″ viewing screen (which I personally felt was Lovevery's biggest “downfall”). This open also comes with a quiz mode, built in videos and image lessons on the included slides, AND you can use your own specimen.
A close runner up is this one – which packs a powerful punch of a 400x zoom, includes specimen cards and a few real 3D objects, guides, and of course you can use your own specimen too. This is also a great pick if you prefer an analog version of the previous one.
With that said, this one is the most similar to Lovevery's. It includes the removable pocket microscope feature, a comparable zoom at 80-160x, and8 prepared plant and animal slides that also works with your own specimen. If you're okay with skipping the included slides, this is a budget friendly alternative too.
This one includes 60 slide images and talks to kids in “facts” or “quiz” mode voiced by Bindi Irwin. The big downside is that it only works with the included slides. With that said, the zoom is fairly easy for 4 year olds to understand and they can get excited about what they are seeing.
Alternatively, this one also comes with 60 images, and a factoid guide book instead of talking to you. The zoom is about the same as the last pic, and it doesn't work with your own specimen. The slides on this aren't particularly durable either.
Here are some more picks too:
Wooden Modular Village + Pathways
Three wooden homes/buildings, a bench, chair, and trees along with a felt pathway that connects together like a puzzle.
Kids can set up scenes in various ways for pretend play.
This is one of the most beloved items from this play kit with my 2 and 4 year old! The modular playhouses are a little tricky to set up, which provides a nice challenge.
The pathways are really thick and sturdy. The kids love setting it up, especially my 2 year old who loves the added challenge of setting up the “puzzle” pieces.
My 4 year old prefers it set up so she can jump into her pretend play. Either way, it's now an item we keep out in our playroom as it works so well with dolls and cars we already have in there and 10/10 recommend it or a dupe for it.
This set is the most similar to Lovevery's. It includes a cork road, similar wooden building frames, trees, and some cars.
Otherwise, you'll need to buy multiple things to recreate it.
In terms of the houses, this wooden modular house set is by far the most similar thing I could find. Down to how the walls slide in and connect. It even comes with some bonus features like a lighting system, floors, and furniture. Though it's noteworthy this playset is rated for 6 years old and up.
For the pathways, the most similar item is this. Which is a rubbery material that's flexible, waterproof, and indestructible. It includes 12 puzzle pieces (Lovevery's does too) that need to be combined to make a pathway. Personally, I LOVE that this pick can actually go outside and in the mud, whereas Lovevery's is felt and really should be kept inside.
Alternatively, this set is similar with bigger and more fun build options. If you prefer a budget dupe, this play tape comes with two rolls, one for curves and one for straight lines, for kids to make their own roads. I have friends who put the tape onto cardboard, and cut it for their kids to organize like puzzle pieces too.
Friends + Swing Set
A pathway piece with a swing set attached for two characters (Alia and Jaeyong).
Alia is in a custom wheelchair the swing set specifically holds. It also comes with a booklet explaining the characters and offering suggestions for storylines to to play with.
This is my daughters ABSOLUTE favorite toy from The Connector Lovevery playkit! She absolutely LOVES getting the wheelchair in and out of her swing, she loves hearing their stories and learning about them. It's the only piece she will not let her baby brother play with.
Again, nothing exactly like Lovevery's. While finding outdoor playset options for dolls is fairly easy, you won't find any offering the diversity Lovevery has. So with that in mind, here are some to consider:
- Wooden outdoor playset from one of our favorite brands that works with most standard wooden dolls
- Another wooden playground set with dolls offering more diversity
- Affordable wooden playground set with dolls (click here for 10% off!)
Inventor Adventure Pack
A reversible fanny pack/cross body back working multiple fine motor skills and configurations for kids to play with, fill, and take on adventures with their microscope.
This fanny pack is a huge hit with both my 2 and 4 year old. The kids LOVE wearing it and taking treasures with them. I love using it as a carseat toy as an alternative busy board for them too.
Once again, a Lovevery original here! While you can purchase busy bags for toddlers, nothing in this fanny pack or cross body style like Lovevery offers. With that said, I don't think kids are too particular about the style of bag, just that it's interesting and can hold their stuff so here are some decent options:
Daily Helper Board
A magnetic board, with tiles, teaching kids what things they can help with, what they need help with, and who is doing what housework.
Honestly we don't love this item – which is a bummer because I LOVE the idea; but I find the execution subpar compared to competitors.
My daughter and I have a hard time figuring out what some of the tasks are as the graphics are a little too cartoony. We also find storage of the tiles to be very hard. While there is space on the back of the board to store spare tiles, there wasn't enough room so it felt frustrating.
While Lovevery's chore chart was kind of a disappointment from a graphic and storage perspective the competitors dupes resolve my issues wonderfully.
Melissa & Doug have a “responsibility chart” which features chores with a graphic and the text on a single tile, then the days of the week to check it off. The board has two plates, one for checking things off, the other fore storing the spare tiles. Overall, I think it's a much better system that is easier to read, keep organized, and see how much they've accomplished when inevitable your 4 year old groans “it's too much work!” Check the price on Amazon, Target, Walmart, & Kohls.
Now if you want something more compact than M&D, you'll love the Learning Resources chore chart. Which basically includes responsibility card likes Melissa & Doug's with the graphic and text, as well as the days of the week laid out to check them off. To store spare tiles there's a pocket at the base, as well as a little spot for stickers as rewards. Check price on Walmart, Amazon, Target.
‘Charlie Learns Something New' Book
A great book teaching kids how to work through frustration when learning something new.
We LOVE this book. It's one of our most read Lovevery books since getting it. The doodles really bring the feelings to life, and the story helps toddlers increase their frustration tolerance while learning something new, while also suggesting skills to use while regulating. My daughter of course, loves the rainbows too.
I've said this before and I stand by it still: Lovevery does books like no one else! Their books really are the best!
With that said, “When Sophie Thinks She Can't…” is a very similar dupe. It even includes a puzzle and big sister telling the little sister she got it wrong. The entire exchange is honestly kind of harsh and uncomfortable (again, why Lovevery thrives), but the lesson is the same and delivers the point (albeit in a harsher way with fewer skills sprinkled in along the way).
Play Guide for Months 49, 50, 51
Basically a cheat sheet to your 4 year old!
- Expert tips
- Developmental info
- At home activities to do
- Ways to play with the items
The Connector Play Kit Book Bundle
In case you missed it, Lovevery launched “book bundle” add ons for subscribers. For $18 you can typically add on 2 books to your play kit. However at this time, the 4 year old play kits do not have any add on books.
Check out my full review of the book bundle and read alongs for these here.
How much does Lovevery's Connector Play Kit Cost?
Lovevery's Connector Play Kit costs $120, but they do offer prepaid bundle options for up to a 10% discount here.
Is the Lovevery Connector Play Kit Worth It?
Overall, I'm a huge fan of the Lovevery Connector Play kit. The items work well for kids of mixed ages. My 2 year old enjoys over half the included items, while they still provide plenty of challenge and engagement for my 4 year old.
What really tips this play kit over the edge for us though is the book. It's one of our favorite Lovevery books now.
However, it's ultimately a personal preference. Financially, it's a winner IMO, but of course, if you don't want everything you may feel differently.
Let's take a deeper look…
Financially speaking, you could recreate this play kit for as little as $96 which does come in less than the Lovevery price tag. However if you were to purchase all of the most expensive dupe options you're looking at spending $248, which is about double the cost of this play kit from Lovevery.
With that said, the most similar dupes I shared do bring the price right around $190, which is still $70 more than Lovevery's making it a good financial buy in my opinion.
Even if you were to purchase the Lovevery play kit, sell the “dud” chore chart and buy the dupe, you'd still only come in at $135 out of pocket (and of course deduct whatever you sold the chore chart for) making it a no brainer.
As expected, the quality of the items is fantastic. The variety included between pretend play, STEM challenges, and practical life skills is great too.
Both my of my kids enjoy the bag, village and pathways playset, and book.
While we reserve the microscope for my 4 year old, it tends to not get as much use. Though microscopes are tricky to use -regardless of the brand – and I do think we will continue to engage with it more as the weather cools and she grows.
The only item that felt like a miss for us was the helper board. I love the concept, but feel competitors executed it better.