If you were to purchase all of the cheapest dupes and alternatives I mention in this post in an attempt to self curate, you're looking at spending around $160, which is $40 more than purchasing from Lovevery. If you purchase the most expensive dupes, you're looking at spending $243 which is double the cost of this play kit!
In this post, I'll share a video review, the cost of the play kit, and the pros and cons to it, and how the cost compares to self curating with Amazon or other alternatives.
- Video review: "The Realist" Play Kit in action:
- What is inside The Realist Play Kit for Months 19, 20, 21?
- Discontinued Items From The Realist Play Kit By Lovevery:
- Is The Realist Play Kit from Lovevery worth it?
- How much does The Realist Play Kit from Lovevery Cost?
- Shop "The Realist" Play Kit from Lovevery:
- Quick Shop Alternatives:
NOTE: We introduced the items in this playkit to my daughter when she was around a year old, so 6 months before the recommended age and it has now been over 2 years of using them! Discover how the toys held up and which ones were great to introduce at 1 year old instead of waiting!
You can read the FAQs and full review of all the Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.
Video review: “The Realist” Play Kit in action:
What is inside The Realist Play Kit for Months 19, 20, 21?
A busy board in box form that my daughter is OBSESSED with. Literally took it out of the box the day we got it (around a year) and has played with it SO much! Definitely recommend this earlier than 19 months!
It's so easy for her to carry, like a little handbag no less, that she brings it with her all around the house.
She loves problem solving all four sides of the lockbox puzzle!
One best dupes I found for the Lovevery's Lockbox in terms of quality is KiwiCo's Play-And-Go Lockbox. It's basically a hybrid of the one from this playkit, and Lovevery's drop box from their Target line; making it a real 2-for-1!
It features two of the same locks as Lovevery's, with a fun optical illusion window, and pull door. It comes with x's and o's that can be dropped into the top. What makes it even more fun/challenging is the X's can go in vertically (easier) or horizontally for more of a challenge.
Additionally, have an entire blog post on montessori busy boards with more similar options.
Quilt animals in pockets
A little matching puzzle of quilted animals for your toddler to stuff inside the pockets.
Teaches animals/critters, matching, dexterity, and focus.
My daughter has always LOVED this. Highly recommend it before 19 months. We hang it in the kitchen, on her Pikler triangle, and she walks around with it.
Nothing exactly like Lovevery's with it's quilted critters in the pockets; which really does make it suitable for as young as 1 years old and as old as 3 and a half I've seen my daughter play with it.
However, if I were self curating this play kit, I do love this montessori animal matching game which is a perfect pick for this age group!
Pitcher and glass
A grooved pitcher that helps guide your little one to the perfect pour in the cup while working on hand-eye coordination.
Definitely well made and perfectly designed for toddlers. My daughter actually already knew how to pour between containers at 1 year old so I'd suggest introducing this before 19 months. She loves this toy though!
This montessori aligned pitcher is perfect for toddlers practicing pouring skills and you can use a cup you already own!
Baby's first flashlight!
A flashlight your toddler can use! Great for building on concepts of opposites “on/off” “light/dark” and just really fun for them!
My daughter started to really enjoy this at 16 months!
This toddler flashlight is easy to hold and has soft lighting too.
Count & Slide Ring Chute
Toddlers discover how many rings can go in one slides down in this early lesson on counting and one-to-one correspondence
NOTE: While this item wasn't in our original Lovevery play kit, I do have the Monti Kids version of this item and can say that my toddler didn't get much use out of it. My 9 month old on the other hand has loved it – even though he can't do it properly himself yet.
Geo Shapes Puzzle
A 3D puzzle practicing shapes and the spatial relations as toddlers learn to cradle and nest the pieces.
- This option is a more basic version of Lovevery's (one piece over the 3D peg) but the most similar in terms of shape and style
- This option is similar in shape and multiple pieces of the 3D puzzle, but it has animal faces making it less montessori but providing an additional challenge of not only matching the shapes in the puzzle, but also aligning the faces.
“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.
NOTE: I know the topic of doctors visit with toddlers has a lot of passion on both sides. I think finding a book on what a check up looks like is a VERY unique experience for each family – and moreover I would STRONGLY recommend reading these books through before reading with your toddler. Personally, I'd only give them something if the child is struggling with it (e.g. if your child doesn't mind doctors visits, don't read a book about the main character feeling scared about going to the doctor as they may think it's something to fear).
- Daniel Tiger: Daniel is scared to go to the doctor's visit even when he's not getting a shot. The book walks through the appointment from the waiting to otoscope exam, etc.
- My Doctor's Visit does a good job of actually explaining to kids the tools used on them during a checkup and the body parts and what it all means.
- We're Going To The Doctor: a walk through of a doctor's appointment for siblings, one getting shots and another with a sickness.
Discover ideas for playing with your 19, 20, or 21 month old and the skills they are working on in this helpful guide backed by research!
Discontinued Items From The Realist Play Kit By Lovevery:
Three, light weight, balls that fit perfectly inside of the Lockbox.
She can carry the lockbox around with the balls inside.
The balls are a little on the larger side, so depending on how you put them in they need to be rearranged. She actually gets a total kick out of opening all the doors and pushing a ball in and trying to force another out a “back door” so to speak.
Veggie garden puzzle
Chunky puzzle that doubles as a matching game (pictures of the veggies are also under the puzzle pieces!). Giving your little one a chance to work on their pincer grasp while learning about root vegetable and gardening!
My daughter likes this, but doesn't play with it as long as the previous puzzles we've received from Lovevery. I think it's one that she'll like more as she gets older and it's a solid choice to introduce at the 19, 20, or 21 month mark!
Note: this item was moved to the Pioneer play kit which I recommend skipping.
“Leo and Melody At The Farm” Board Book
LOVE THIS BOOK! So it has touch-and-feel, scratch-and-sniff, and flap book pages! Engages so many senses and watch the video above for my daughters first word! Definitely recommend introducing this before 19 months or picking up in the subscriber shop!
Wooden stacking peg board
My daughter is also obsessed with this toy and started playing with it around 13 months!
You can stack the pegs into a tower, but because of how they are interlinked, when she goes to knock them over they sort of just tilt. It's a lesson in physics!
We LOVE this item in our house and have gotten so much use out of it in the last couple years. There are so many ways to reinvent it. My daughter uses the wooden pegs as “baby bottles” now that she's 3. We've used it with the block set for building, etc.
A little organic cotton bag to put the peg board pieces in. Another practice in containment too!
“Many and Few” mini board book
Again, she loves their books!!
This one starts teaching foundational quantitative concepts.
“Being Silly” mini board book
Research says knowing you can make people laugh builds self esteem! And I know my daughters FAVORITE face to make is “silly”
Mini Board Book Alternatives:
I'm a huge fan of mini board books for 1 year olds. They foster independence, love of reading, and are just great to have in your diaper bag.
You can purchase a set of 12 mini board books here that are montessori aligned with real imagery as well.
“Bedtime For Zoe” Board book
A sweet little bedtime book teaching routine, sequence, and timing.
NOTE: This book was moved to the Babbler play kit, which I highly recommend!
Is The Realist Play Kit from Lovevery worth it?
YES! Shop it here!
If you were to purchase all of the cheapest dupes and alternatives I mentioned in this post in an attempt to self curate, you're looking at spending around $160, which is $40 more than purchasing from Lovevery. If you purchase the most expensive dupes, you're looking at spending $243 which is double the cost of this play kit!
While this play kit has gone through some major changes since we received it, I can say that my daughter at 3 years old continues to use the Quilted Critters and flashlight regularly. We get a lot of intermittent use out of the lock box still as well.
I did have another baby who has also loved the items and they are all still in perfect condition. I would probably introduce this playkit around 1 years old, and just add items the child isn't interested in to toy rotation to extend the life of some toys.
How much does The Realist Play Kit from Lovevery Cost?
The Realist Play Kit is $120 for 3 months of toys, or you can get a 10% discount if you pay up front which would bring the price down to $108, or “$36 a month” as it says on their website here.
You can read the FAQs and full review of Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.