Wondering if The Investigator Play Kit from Lovevery is worth it?
In short: yes! In this post, I'll share a video review, the cost of the The Investigator 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!
- Wondering if The Investigator Play Kit from Lovevery is worth it?
- Video review: Lovevery's The Investigator Play Kit in action
- What is inside The Investigator Play Kit for Months 31, 32, 33?
- Twist and Pivot Pattern Puzzle
You can read the FAQs and full review of all the Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.
Video review: Lovevery's The Investigator Play Kit in action
What is inside The Investigator Play Kit for Months 31, 32, 33?
Twist and Pivot Pattern Puzzle
This is a fun twist on a peg puzzle that my toddler loves!
Each peg is a different fine motor challenge. One has you twist each circle on. The middle one has two different pivot turns, each with two little circles. Finally, the last one has four different square pivots along the rod that move.
My daughter absolutely loves this item! It's probably her favorite puzzle in like a year!
The hardest one for her to master understanding was the screw style one. I also noticed that she wouldn't gravitate towards this puzzle if it was complete on her shelf. So I had to work with her to reset it so all the pieces were in a basket after she finished. This way when she went back to her playroom later, it wasn't a complete puzzle and she'd pick it back up again.
There's nothing exactly like Lovevery's twist and pivot puzzle, but this wooden peg puzzle by Hape is a pretty similar concept. It has four pivot puzzles instead of three, and then each peg is it's own jigsaw puzzle piece which is a fun feature. Depending on where you purchase it comes out to about $20.
With that said, the dupes pivot is basically the same for all four pegs; whereas each of Lovevery's pegs work a different skill.
Match and Tap Hammer Box
This is a great hand-eye coordination and fine motor activity!
The box comes with a handful of sheets with different patterns. Your toddler matches the colored pegs to the circle and hammers it in.
Once they've graduated from that, there's a slot for them to put the patterned shape upward, and then they can recreate the pattern on the box.
It's also a fine motor skill to slide the top of the box into the ridge. If they can't do that, it's good practice for them to hold the green tray in place while hammering too, and more realistic to actual hammering.
My daughter LOVED this! I taught her how to flip the tray with the hammered “nails” over, so she could either push them back out into the box, or hammer them back out, which she also really loved!
At 2 and a half years old, she uses the patterned sheets laid flush on the green tray, not upright. I think she'll eventually do it upright, I just haven't taught her that's even an option yet.
I couldn't find anything exactly like Lovevery's again, but this set is pretty similar. It's about $30 from Educational Insights and is a combination of hammering nails and screws. Aside from including a screwdriver and screws (Lovevery's doesnt'), the other biggest difference is that there are no color cards for “matching” but you could easily DIY that with a sheet of paper or colored stickers.
In this case, I think the dupe is actually better than Lovevery's!
The Liquid Lab is a great early STEM activity that I think will get a ton more use as toddlers grow older.
One beaker has the number 1, another has a sectioned point for 1 and 2, and the third has sections for 1, 2, and 3.
This is a great practice in pouring, learning that something can be the same amount but in a different shape, and so much more.
You can also color water and use it to learn primary to secondary colors.
This item is OKAY. I think we'll get more use out of it as my toddler grows older, but at 2 and a half years old, her preferred way of playing with it was to pour water between the containers, then ultimately into the tray which she calls a “pool” then has her animal figurines from an earlier Lovevery play kit swim in the pool.
Also, with this coming on the heels of the tea set in the previous play kit, she initially thought this was another tea set and kept wanting to drink from the containers. She doesn't really get the whole “transfer of volume” concept yet.
Most of the beaker sets include like 10 pieces of every type of beaker and cylinder you could want for like $10. However, if I were shopping for a dupe for this item, I'd opt for this science set for kids. It comes with a white lab coat, gloves, test tubes, funnels, tweezers, eye dropper, measuring cups measuring cylinder, beaker, safety gloves, and measuring spoons.
Countdown Color Timer
The countdown color timer is a great way to visually queue your toddler for what's coming next. The first 5 minutes are color coded per minute, then it goes two a larger chunk of color reflecting 5 minutes, then another larger color reflecting 10 minutes.
Once the timer is finished it makes a ding sound.
This is easily my daughters FAVORITE item in the play kit. She even brought it to the park to show all of her friends.
She calls it her “clock” and sets a timer for EVERYTHING. We personally used sand timers before this but having the audible queue is really nice since we didn't always watch the sand timers perfectly. It's also nice that she can see the minutes counting down since they are color coded.
This timer is pretty similar to Lovevery's and as an added bonus, it features a stand, magnetic back so you can stick it to the fridge, and a hanging hole if you want to hang it up. The big difference is that Lovevery's is color coded by the minute for the first five minutes, then a new color for the next 5 minutes, and another color for the last 10 minutes. Whereas this one only has three colors. One for the first 3 minutes, one for minutes 4-8, then one for the remaining minutes. It costs $24.
Things That Move Memory Game
Six vehicle matching card sets in a little box to build concentration and memory.
The vehicles on the cards are clay, not actual pictures of the real vehicles.
My daughter enjoyed these, but they are definitely a little underwhelming. We've been playing matching games for over a year by the time we got these, so while they are nice, they are also very easy to DIY, which is why I say they are a little underwhelming.
There are loads of vehicle matching cards games out there! This one has 24 pairs and is $14. It focuses on construction vehicles.
This one is 16 pairs of vehicles and costs $14 too.
This one is also 16 pairs of vehicles and costs $14, but the matching cards are all wood!
Jump-In Eco Hoops and Organic Cotton Bean Bags
Three rings and bean bags in red, yellow, and blue make a great gross motor activity!
You can practice tossing the bean bags into the rings or have them jump into the rings.
I was skeptical about these and thought they were kind of a silly item to include, but we actually have had SO much fun with them!
We of course use them for gross motor activities: tossing the bean bags into the rings or jumping into the different colored rings.
However we also use them for pretend play! Like pretending they are steering wheels, necklaces, earrings, and more.
We also are working on teaching our daughter how to hula hoop with them since she's small enough. We show her on our arms or legs.
This set of rings and bean bags includes four colors, instead of just three and you get two sets of each color for a total of 16 pieces. Granted, the materials aren't as green as Lovevery's. It costs $9.
However if I were shopping for a dupe, I'd get this one. It comes with six colors, and two sets of each color. In addition to the bean bag and rings, it also comes with cones for another game.
‘The Play Date' Board Book
This book is about a child who goes to a friends house for a play date.
This book is great if your child is shy or nervous about a playdate or has difficulty sharing.
If you watched my video on Things To Avoid When Selecting Books Carefully For Toddlers, Preschoolers, + Babies, you know that I'm hesitant to introduce any books that teach/assign value to events before a child can create their own perception of it.
Sine my daughter has never been nervous about going to people's homes or had a hard time sharing or dealing with kids who won't share, we don't read this book at the moment.
While I couldn't find any montessori style story books about play dates quite like Lovevery's, I did find this book about sharing that looks great! It also features parent education for helping kids share.
Play Guide Months 31, 32, 33
Ideas for how to play during months 31, 32, 33 backed by all the research you don't have time to read.
Is The Investigator Play Kit from Lovevery worth it?
This one isn't totally clear cut. Yes and no…
Yes, if you purchase every single dupe you are looking at right around $120 – meaning the price of the kit matches the financial value of similar items.
When you factor in that Lovevery is generally higher quality than most toys/dupes you'd find on Amazon, Lovevery has the competitive edge in pricing. Only by a smidge though.
My personal opinion:
With that said, if there are items you do not want – or your toddler doesn't enjoy in this play kit, because the dupes are so financially comparable to the Lovevery items, it may make more sense to just by those individually.
This play kit certainly had some MAJOR winners (timer, puzzle, hammer box, and rings/bean bag activity). However it also had some duds (matching cards, book, liquid lab).
With that said, I do think we will get a ton more use out of the liquid lab when my toddler gets older; I just don't think it's a great item for a 2-3 year old and probably better suited for 3-5 year olds and up.
How much does The Investigator Play Kit from Lovevery Cost?
The Investigator Play Kit is $120. It's intended for 3 months of montessori activities and toys. Their toddler play kits come quarterly. You can get a 10% discount on Lovevery play kits if you pay for a subscription upfront. This brings the price down to $108, or “$36 a month” as it says on their website here.
Shop “The Investigator” Play Kit from Lovevery:
You can read the FAQs and full review of Lovevery Subscription Play Kits here.
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