Trying to decide if “The Charmer” Play kit from Lovevery is worth it? In short: YES! If you were to curate Lovevery's The Charmer Play Kit using Amazon + Etsy Dupes you're looking at spending a minimum of $107 or as much as $156! Both are well over the $80 price tag Lovevery charges!
In this Lovevery play kit review, I'll share a video, my experience using the items after 3 years with two kids, the dupes, and whether or not it's worth it qualitatively (because I've already told you, it is financially!)
You can read the FAQs and full review of Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.
- Video review: "The Charmer" Play Kit in action:
- How much does The Charmer Play Kit from Lovevery Cost?
- What is inside The Charmer Play Kit for Months 3-4?
- Framed mirror
- Wooden Rattle
- Rolling drum bell
- Wooden Disc Teether
- A soft book
- High contrast flashcards
- Mirror Flashcard
- Crinkle pouch
- Triangle Teether
- Silicone Triple Teether & Organic Teething Cloth
- Play Guide
- Quick Shop Amazon Alternatives:
- Here's why I LOVE the Charmer Play Kit:
- Here's why I say maybe "no":
Video review: “The Charmer” Play Kit in action:
How much does The Charmer Play Kit from Lovevery Cost?
The Charmer Play Kit is $80, or you can get a 10% discount if you pay up front which would bring the price down to $72, or “$36 a month” as it says on their website.
What is inside The Charmer Play Kit for Months 3-4?
THE HOLY GRAIL OF BABY MIRRORS!
If for no other reason, this item makes the Charmer Play Kit a must have.
Okay, there are other amazing items in this play kit… haha
But seriously, this is and probably always will be one of our favorite items.
We set it up in the play gym and my daughter loved it for tummy time. As she's grown older, we've set it up on the kitchen counter while she stands in her learning tower and I cook. She'll carry it with her around the house. She loves figuring out her reflection and how to see things behind her with it.
We've even used it for teeth brushing time and more! In the 3 years we've had it, I don't think I've ever put this item away!
What makes it so special: it's durable.
Seriously, this thing had been beaten up in our house over the last 3 years and not a crack on it! Easy to clean and fits in a tote bag or backpack.
I can't speak to how durable this Amazon item is but it is made for babies that also features the high contrast back like Lovevery. The reviews on it are kind of mixed, same say they've had the mirror for 10+ years and multiple kids and it's as good as new; others say their baby cracked it after 5 months.
The other option is this framed floor mirror which is what many Montessori families opt for in a montessori playroom ultimately; though it is pricier.
Made from sustainably sourced wood and soy ink.
My daughter much preferred gumming this rattle over the rattle in “The Looker” Play Kit.
She'd track the sound in the early days, and now that she's a year and a half she loves to shake it! It's baby's first instrument!
Nothing exactly like Lovevery's so I have 3 options for you:
- Wooden dumbbell rattle: Most similar shape and concept. Though it is a bit heavier than Lovevery's and the rattle is a little duller compared to Lovevery's
- Wooden rattles: Similar shape, but the rattle is on the grip bar, now in the drums.
- Fisher Price Rattle ‘n Rock Maracas: The least montessori style option, but these plush and plastic rattle is functionally most similar to Lovevery's.
Rolling drum bell
This little toy packs a powerful punch in your baby's development!
It can be used as a rattle, learning cause and effect, feeling a new texture, and seeing how things are inside but can't come out.
The rolling drum is a pretty classic montessori toy and you can find a ton of dupe options for it, including the interloacking disc (next item) that comes in this play kit. For that reason I'm going to give you a few “bundled” options here:
- Rolling drum + interlocking disc: The quality of these are NOWHERE NEAR as good as Lovevery's. Many parents reported them breaking, but it is the most similar Lovevery dupe. This is why I constantly stress you aren't just paying for toys with Lovevery, you are also getting the quality and durability. You can certainly find cheaper options, but you do risk them not lasting as long and not having excellent customer service to help troubleshoot.
- Rolling Drum, Interlocking disc, and bell rattle (previous play kit item I mentioned): This is probably the most cost effective option, but again you're sacrificing quality and increasing the risk of it breaking and harming baby…
Wooden Disc Teether
While my daughter never loved this toy, my son has thoroughly enjoyed it.
It is a classic montessori toy though and many parents have success rolling it on the floor. Amazon alternative is above!
The dupe is mentioned above!
A soft book
So this is one reason I love Lovevery Plat Kits, the items start to build off one another.
This soft book has loads of tactile features in itself. But it also has slots for flashcards. We used the ones from this kit and ones from our previous play kit.
This book is quite similar to Loveverys in that it features several textures and high contrast imagery. Though with Lovevery's the imagery is interchangeable for their flashcards, and the book is, well just the book. It comes in two styles: animals or shapes.
High contrast flashcards
Seriously, babies love black and white flashcards at this stage. And these are made of some sort of baby proof material. My daughter couldn't/can't tear these and no paper cuts!
You can purchase a pack of 48 high contrast flashcards for $10 here that range from simple to more complex. Though I don't know if they will “hold up” quite as well as Lovevery's so my actual recommendation would be to purchase a set of flashcards from Lovevery directly as they sell them individually.
We've used this in our Lovevery Play Gym and the travel card holder that used to come in the Looker play kit.
I had heard horror stories about mirrors in cars with babies. I love that the travel card holder is soft, and this mirror card goes in it. Nothing for a first time new mom to stress about here!
You can purchase a pack of four 4×6 mirror cards for $9 here. But I'd just get this dupe from the Looker play kit I mentioned for car travel, or stick with the mirror suggestion from earlier in this post instead!
A bag about the size of an adult hand with two compartments for you to play hide and seek with items in and practice making sounds with.
Despite the “hide and seek” factor of this, my daughter just never loved it. Seeing her now as a toddler, I think she just doesn't love certain textures/feelings.
On the other hand, this has been one of my sons ABSOLUTE FAVORITES! I swear he gets so frustrated when he drops it. He loves mouthing it, squishing it, and kicking it. I can't wait to see his face when he realizes there's a hide and seek pocket!
Baby paper is beloved by most of my friends babies! It comes in a few prints and while it doesn't have the pouches like Lovevery's, it does seem to keep them more engaged for some reason.
This item wasn't in the first iteration of this play kit either so I don't have experience with it.
Instead we actually bought triangle pointed teethers.
The triangle shape is important (from what I researched) for little babies mouthing objects since it gets them used to feeling things in the sides of their mouths, not just in the middle and back like with a rounded teething object. This is important to get them ready for talking and food in the long run.
While this is a nice natural rubber (think Bibs pacifier material) BPA free teether with a somewhat similar shape, I'd actually opt for these teethers which were what we got. They do create a triangle peak, but they are highly recommended for introducing fruit textures to babies.
Think of it as a pre-food teether. It helps baby get used to using the sides/back of their mouth for chewing, helps them find their gag reflex before actually introducing solids, and is recommended by most pediatric occupational therapists specializing in feeding I've come across and actually plays in as a dupe option for the next item too…
Silicone Triple Teether & Organic Teething Cloth
Sensory, speech, and oral motor development in three unique textures with soothing bamboo & cotton blend cloths.
Like I mentioned in the previous dupe section, we opted for teethers that actually prepared baby for speech and oral motor development with starting solids in the coming months. I like this addition from Lovevery, but think the dupes do just as good of a job if not better at working these skills.
Like I said, I would recommend these teethers which I was referred to by a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in feeding. Similar to Lovevery, it does offer multiple textures, but these textures mimic various fruits kids will ultimately eat. The other one they recommend, which doesn't offer texture but the shape is kind of similar to Lovevery's is this one. We also have it and my daughter and son both love it.
As far as the cloth, I personally don't think you need a dupe for it. You can use a baby washcloth dipped in chamomile tea in the fridge or even the corner of a swaddle blanket while supervised.
A detailed breakdown ways to play with the items in the play kit, backed by research, and more.
Discontinued Items + Their Dupes:
Beaded silicone teether
So this item actually wasn't in the first iteration of this play kit and I WISH it was.
The first iteration was just a smooth teether, but I know my daughter would've preferred the beaded effect of this one as her paci clip was similar (mix of silicone and wood beads) and she LOVED noshing on that!
It's a great toy to practice grasping and transfering items between hands too!
Nothing exactly like Lovevery for this dupe so I have a few options:
- Pacifier clip: If your kid is anything like mine, they'll just like numbing the mix of textured beads and don't need it to be a bracelet shape and this pacifier clip gives you the mix of wood and silicone, and serves a dual purpose as a binky clip if your kid uses them.
- Silicone bracelet: same concept only there are no wooden beads
- Wood and silicone teething ring: similar concept as well, this time with a wooden ring attached to the silicone/wood ring.
Teether Rings + Bag
They also removed 4 other items since the original iteration of this box which you can find circled below. One was an organic cotton zip up travel bag for the items, a silicone ring, a rice plastic ring with crinkle paper, and a soft ring. The two rings and silicone paper I won't give dupes for since I feel like the previously mentioned teethers and crinkle paper cover those pretty well. Now will I give one for the bag, just because I'm sure you can find a zippered bag you like! BUT the soft ring was actually my daughters FAVORITE teether of all time and I've always been sad they got rid of it…
This was my daughters favorite teether of all time. She'd suck on it like crazy. The shape was also much more convenient/ felt safer compared to using a washcloth or swaddle blanket corner.
Fortunately I found a couple of organic cotton dupes (bunny or dog) that are also rattles and my son has been enjoying them too!
Is The Charmer Play Kit from Lovevery worth it?
YESSS! This play kit is a great deal at only about $8 a toy in the box! Plus if you were to do the absolute CHEAPEST version of the dupes I mentioned, you're looking at spending $107; if you were to get the more expensive dupes you'd be looking at $156 (excluding the floor mirro which would jump the price to over $200!).
I don't think you'll find better pricing. I mean, most stand alone teethers I looked at purchase were $15, so that right there is already a 50% savings!
Now of course, I don't know your personal situation, so while financially it's a “HECK YES” for most people here's a little more insight into my thoughts on The Charmer Play Kit…
Quick Shop Amazon Alternatives:
Here's why I LOVE the Charmer Play Kit:
The mirror. Seriously, I know it's crazy to want to pay $72 for a mirror, but it's the best $72 you'll spend… okay maybe not, but it could qualify as top 10.
The other items in this play kit are pretty amazing too. The rattle just got more and more use as my daughter got older and I cannot even begin to tell you how perfect the items from this particular play kit were during out cross country trip from Florida to California when she was 6 months old.
They were small enough to fit in a little bag in my carry on and kept her SO entertained during out flight.
SAVE FOR LATER
Here's why I say maybe “no”:
Again, everyone has a different financial situation. And it you're deciding between getting this playkit and the Looker playkit, I'd get this over the Looker. But if you're trying to choose this over a different one then the first year, then perhaps skip it, as the later play kits in this first year have some amazing items!
Between the two kids we've pretty much loved all the items (things my daughter didn't love, my son does and vice versa). With that said, the 3 teethers I mentioned earlier are great add ons or alternatives in addition to some of the other dupes I mentioned.:
If you plan to subscribe to all of the Lovevery Play Kits and are just trying to make sure they are a good deal, then trust me, they are a great deal.
Go ahead and order your play kits here!
We LOVE them and the items in the Charmer Play Kit and got a ton of use out of the mirror these last 3 years and the other items lasted us through the entire first year and with my second now!
Shop “The Charmer” Play Kit
You can read the FAQs and full review of Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.
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Originally published 7/13/2020; Updated 10/17/21