Wondering if The Helper Play Kit from Lovevery is worth it?
In short: yes! In this post, I'll share a video review, the cost of the The Helper play kit from Lovevery, and the pros and cons to it from the perspective of a mom who has had it for about 6 months and how the price compares to recreating this box using Etsy or Amazon dupes!
Discover how my toddler engaged with the items, ways to reimagine them, and which items were busts below!
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Lovevery The Helper Play Kit Review For 25, 26, 27 Months: Worth It?
You can read the FAQs and full review of all the Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.
Video review: Lovevery's The Helper Play Kit in action
What is inside The Helper Play Kit for Months 25, 26, 27?
Sustainable Sink with Bio-Based Cups + Plates
What child doesn't love a toy sink?! This one is sourced from sustainable materials and is fre of BPA and phthalates.
Upon receipt you'll assemble the sink and add batteries. I would suggest reading the care instructions that come with it to make it last.
For play time, add only water. It recycles the water back through the pump while your child plays.
Our personal experience:
We've had this play kit for about 6 months now and this item is still in the box… I know that probably sounds crazy, but hear me out!
We follow Montessori (loosely) at home, and as a result got a toddler tower / kitchen helper when my daughter turned 1. Meaning she's had access to play at our real kitchen sink since then. Our kitchen set up made this the preferable option for us.
Our sink has a chef's faucet, meaning my daughter can actually reach/pull it where she wants it to go and it's a light water pressure unless it's pulled down fully. Thus we just don't have a need for this item and I'd rather keep it in the box until I decide if I want to gift it or leave it at a grandparents house.
With that said: I know for a fact that kids LOVE sinks like this. Seriously, I've NEVER heard of a kid who didn't enjoy an item like this! I know parents who have introduced an item like this as young as 7-8 months old. And I've never seen one made with cleaner/safer materials.
The average cost of this item on Amazon is about $25. Some are a little pricier at $30 like this one because the plates/cups change colors. Others like this one come with lots of toy cutlery and food items to practice washing. And others like this one have everything previously mentioned, plus a spot for hanging items which I personally like.
Drop + Match Dot Catcher
Color sorting meets connect four – working fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, and planning skills.
Dots and legs are made from FSC sustainably harvested wood with water based non toxic paint finish, plastic is BPA and phthalate free, and it comes with an organic cotton bag for storing.
My daughter LOVES this item! She did master it very quickly, but continued to play with it for SO long. I love it because it's something she can engage with on her own at this stage, and as she gets older we can use it for a game of connect four or something similar we come up with on our own. It's an item I see lasting for years. Furthermore, the wood coins are great for other montessori inspired color sorting and math activities.
There is nothing quite like this item on Amazon so I have 2 suggestions for your:
Option 1 ($13): This was the only similar item I could find that offered more than 2 colors – it has 4 – and provided the same fine motor/planning experience. However, unlike Lovevery's you don't get to “release” the board in the same way, which is definitely one of my daughter's favorite things about this item. furthermore, it's all plastic and pretty small which may cause some parents concern around toxicity and choking hazards.
Option 2 ($13): Basically the wooden version of the previous option; but comes with only 2 colors instead of 4. Also not sure what type of paint is used (paint can be super toxic and full of VOCs).
Felt Flowers In A Row
A fine motor and pretend play activity that also works early mathematics skills!
The wool flowers are beautiful and durable.
My daughter adores these flowers! First, they are just so lovely and well made. She immediately lit up when she saw them and began smelling them. I showered her how to undo the velcro holding the bouquet together and insert the flowers into the wooden stand. She loved practicing putting them into the wooden block holder and is still mastering putting them back into the velcro bouquet strap.
Honestly, I feel like we've barely scratched the surface of what we can do with them! One of my friends used them in a Spring sensory bin for her toddler. I've been collecting toilet paper rolls to tape to the wall and show her how to place them in the new containers going vertical. Once she gets the hang of that, I'll color the holders and have her match the flower into the colored holder as a color sorting exercise. And I have some ideas for early math concepts of one-to-one correspondence beyond just counting the objects separately as they go into the wooden blocks.
Amazon + Etsy Dupes:
Nothing *quite* like this item on Amazon or Etsy again! Similar(ish) dupes I'd say would come in close to $35.
Does offer wool felt bouquets that cost around $35-40 for 5 flowers. Though it's worth noting their stems are very thin and seem to be made of a wire which is quite different than Lovevery's. Lovevery's are DURABLE and toddler hand friendly – I'm not sure how the Etsy one's would hold up.
With that said, we have these wool felt balls I've talked about before and they would 100% bring the early math “one-to-one correspondence” concept to life! In fact, it's what we use them for, plus pretend play, plus color sorting making it the most similar from a skill matching level IMO.
Really only offers felt flower crafts – not a finished durable product like Lovevery's. So instead I found a set of 5 felt ice cream cones that could provide a similar experience if you cut holes into an old box to fit them. With that said, personally I try to avoid food based toys that I don't want me daughter eating so I probably wouldn't get that. She's never had ice cream, I don't like when it's hyped up on TV shows, and we don't have an toys of it at that moment just because it's not something I want her to get used to being around.
Double Sided Sunny Day Puzzle
Looking for a more complicated puzzle your child will actually love? This two sided wood puzzle is a winner!
This puzzle is definitely challenging (I got stuck) and you can arrange one side multiple ways! Making it an excellent opportunity to build resilience, troubleshoot, and problem solve. It's also an early step in spatial skill development. I had to talk my daughter through the physical rotation so her hands could connect with the mental rotation.
We LOVE this toy! Okay, so my daughter had similar “free style” wood puzzles from Amazon and never loved them. They felt flimsy/cheap and were very easy for her to solve. However this one has been super challenging!
She has successfully completed it multiple times, but I would say she's far from mastering it. When she gets frustrated, it's nice to see her ask for help or come up with other ways to use the materials. Typically she likes to stack and has come up with some pretty awesome towers using the long rectangular rod piece and balanced on the oval with a triangle on top!
It's the first puzzle I feel like we've gotten in nearly a year that challenges her – which I love! Definitely seems like it'll be good for at least a year.
Easier option ($17): We have this one and my daughter pretty much was over it around 18 months.
Moderate option ($10): I'm calling this the “moderate” option because it's a puzzle frame like Lovevery's and the easy option, but can also be used as a more freestyle tangram puzzle like the harder options (granted with way fewer pieces than those).
Harder Options ($15): This one I'd say is good for the preschool crowd. The color coded picture cards provide an easy map to follow, but unlike Lovevery's the pieces don't “lock” into a puzzle. This one feels like the slightly harder option if your child graduates past the previous one.
Anywhere Art Kit with Washable Tempera Paintsticks
A “no mess” water soluble nontoxic paint experience both kids and aprents can enjoy!
When I first looked at this paly kit I was honestly on the fence about it… I knew we wouldn't use the sink and then thought these were a little silly. Like my daughter has paints – why does she need these? But boy was I wrong! Hands down, one of her favorite items in this play kit!
What I found is around this age, my daughter has enjoyed toys less and less, and instead wants activities. At first she enjoyed exploring the paint sticks and wanted to dig her fingers into them and color her face. In those moments, I appreciated how easy to clean they were! Now she loves making pictures and practicing putting the caps back on. As always, I love that Lovevery provides storage for the items too!
Tempera Paint Sticks are going to cost you anywhere from $10-27 on Amazon depending on the quantity/colors. None come with the organic cotton carrier that Lovevery's does.
Map It Out Routine Cards
Struggling to get your toddler through transitions like dinner time to bathtime to brushing teeth to bed? Routine cards are a fantastic solution. Kids like to know what they can anticipate, and these help with establishing sequencing skills.
Visual queues like this also serve as a foundation for early literacy.
Ugh, I'm so disappointed/frustrated with this item!
Okay, so I used routine cards like this when working with autistic children and helping my friend set up her classroom for children on the spectrum at a montessori school. I firsthand know how amazing an item like this CAN be for all children. However, Lovevery really missed the mark IMO.
One reason I love Lovevery is how thoughtful the materials are – but these seem half thought out. When I went to/want to use them with my daughter, I have to go into the pile and pull them out, then there's nowhere to display the sequence. Plus they are too thick to even use with my own magnets on our fridge. Personally, I prefer to just read “Bedtime with Zoey” as a visual queue/sequencing for difficult night time transitions than deal with these.
As a result, my daughter didn't love them either and ended up tearing the box open so we don't have anywhere orderly to even keep the stack.
This set is $36 but comes with over 150 pieces that are magnetized. So you can actually put your sequence for the day on a fridge or magnetic closet door or mirror or white board.
If you prefer more variety, this set is $50 with over 180 magnetic pieces AND it comes with a trifold display board you can hang anywhere and move around with you.
For cheaper options you're looking at $10 that are basically flashcards on a ring. This is a daily sequence pack you can reorder and add to your keychain or on a lanyard for your child or hang somewhere in the room they spend most of the day. You can also get more detailed packs like this toilet training one that takes the child through the sequence of what happens in the bathroom. You could add a command hook to the bathroom at their height in the bathroom and let them use this as a visual reminder or reading material!
‘Making Muffins' Montessori Board Book
Lovevery really nails Montessori inspired books using real people and situations to teach practical life skills. Plus this book establishes a connection between the number symbol (1), written number (one), and real life imagery bringing the concept to life (picture of 1 bowl).
The book also uses rhymes to work on language, early literacy, and improve memory.
Lastly is a flap book, which kids love.
My daughter loves this book. Though I think she'd be just as happy with this Amazon dupe and I'd be happier with that one if I'm honest.
So Lovevery's books are frustrating for me sometimes. While I love the real life imagery and practical life skills they represent. I also get frustrated with the half thought execution. Lovevery is a brand that seems to pride themselves on being progressive and inclusive – which I love – but if you're going to take such a hard stance on that, then you should do it fully IMO and not just in the “trendy” way.
This is the third or fourth book from them that I've felt has really missed the mark. I'm not sure who proofreads these but they need to hire someone outside of the San Francisco bubble to offer some counter arguments, especially if the rumors about a bookline are true…
Again, nothing exactly like Lovevery's. The dupes come in around $9 though. Instead we have this book that teaches the sequencing concept of making muffins.
And then this book follows more montessori concepts of real life, it also brings the symbol/written/real life concepts to life that I mentioned earlier. It also kind of rhymes as each page follows the same formula, giving your child a change to fill in the blank and work on those other cognitive skills. This book is a flimsy paperback though if that matters to you.
Play Guide for Months 25, 26, 27
Sparknotes on your child's development at this stage, information on the included materials with ideas for play, and additional activities to you can do at this stage using everyday household items.
Is The Helper Play Kit from Lovevery worth it?
This one isn't totally clear cut. Yes and no…
If you add up the dupes in this post you're looking at between $125-165 – so financially The Helper Play Kit from Lovevery is a good deal as it costs less than that!
Especially when you factor in that my daughter's 4 favorite items from this play kit all have something that only Lovevery offered. For instance, yes you could spend $13 for the colored/connect four game but I think it wouldn't engage a child in the same way Lovevery's does.
My personal opinion:
I'm happy we have it; but do hope this play kit gets an update because I think it could be so much better!
I got it knowing we probably wouldn't use the sink. I also think most families who want a sink probably already have one by this age range.
The book and routine cards fell short for me. We still get a ton of use out of the book anyway, and I know they always make good gifts. But the routine cards need a total overhaul IMO. Part of Lovevery's appeal is the convenience and Montessori inspiration and the routine cards do not feel convenient or orderly (montessori principle).
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.
How much does The Helper Play Kit from Lovevery Cost?
The Helper 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 Helper” Play Kit from Lovevery:
You can read the FAQs and full review of Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.