This subscription toy box for babies and toddlers is a great gift
The curated play kits from Lovevery are full of age-appropriate fun for little ones.
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When my daughter was born in 2013, my tiny New York City apartment—and then the 1,400-square foot house we moved into—became overrun with toys. I knew that having kids comes with having a lot of stuff, but I wasn’t prepared for all of the playthings that filled every corner of my home.
So when my son came along in 2018, I took a more minimalistic approach to the whole baby-toy thing. Instead of filling buckets and bins with as many plastic toys as would fit, I refrained from buying too many trinkets for him to play with. Which is why I was intrigued by Lovevery, a toy company that advertises heavily on social media (my feed is full of its ads).
The company makes developmental toys for babies and toddlers, with the aim to help parents streamline the mess of toys through subscription play kits catered to a child’s age. I figured Lovevery’s kits were worth trying because I’d purchased the The Play Gym by Lovevery when my son was an infant, and he still plays with it as a toddler. So, despite the higher-than-I-usually-pay-for-baby-toys price—$80 to $120 for one kit—I decided to give the play kit thing a go.
What is Lovevery?
In terms of toy brands, Lovevery is relatively new to the game. The company was founded in 2015, unlike longtime toy companies like Playskool, which came about in 1928, or Hasbro, which was established in 1923.
Lovevery was created by two parents, Jessica, who helped grow Happy Family into a nationally recognized organic baby food brand, and Rod, a "builder of companies and movements with environmental and social impact," according to the Lovevery website. Using research and expertise from a panel of Montessori teachers, professors, psychologists, and more, the two friends formed Lovevery, a children's toy company focused on products that help bolster developing brains.
Lovevery also claims a commitment to making nontoxic toys from certified organic materials, including cotton, and sustainably-sourced wood.
How does a Lovevery subscription work?
Lovevery makes play kit subscription boxes for babies and toddlers up to age 2, targeted with much narrower age windows than a lot of toys on the market—as little as two-month increments. That means that each package comes with a hyper-age-appropriate mix of toys for your little one to play with.
Boxes for children under 12 months of age start at $80 and increase in price up to $120 for the toddler play kits, with shipping included. If you're willing to fork over the money up front and purchase three boxes at once, you can snag a 10 percent discount on your order. That knocks the price down to $72 or $108. The play kits are marketed as being "as low as $36 per month"—which is a bit of trickery if you ask me.
The baby kits, at $72 with the 10 percent prepay discount, are designed for babies' ages in two-month increments, and the toddler play kits, at $108 with the prepay discount, are designed in three-month increments. So $72 divided by two and $108 divided by three yields that $36, but in order to get that you have to pay for three or more boxes up front.
The ordering process, at least, is more straightforward. You create an account for your child, providing details like their first name and birth date. This information helps determine which play kit is best for your child's age range. When you sign up for one box at a time, you are automatically subscribed to receive a new box every two to three months, depending on what stage your little one is in, and you will be charged before it ships.
You may cancel your subscription at any time, as long as you remember to do so before your next box ships. And, returns are accepted within 30 days of purchase, as long as items are in the original packaging. If you would prefer to try just one box and not be bothered with the subscription aspect, you may purchase it as a gift. Once you place your initial order, it takes five to seven business days for the kit to arrive.
A list of what comes inside of each curated box can be found on the Lovevery website, so you can take a look at what you’re getting before you order. This isn’t the case with all children’s toy subscription boxes, like KiwiCo, and I liked knowing what I was buying beforehand.
What comes in the Lovevery subscription box?
As my little guy was 17 months old at the time of ordering, I purchased The Pioneer Play Kit designed for ages 16 to 18 months.
The toys came nicely packaged inside a large box that can be used to store them when you’re ready to clean up. Upon opening the box, I was greeted with a list of each of the products inside, which I found very helpful. The box doesn’t only contain toys, per se—I received two books among the 12 items.
My son loves carrying around (and throwing) the “Organic Cotton Big Kid Ball,” a plush ball covered in white fabric with a colorful pattern, and running the two tiny wooden cars down the “Race and Chase Ramp,” a wooden car ramp that’s lightweight enough my son can carry it from room to room. One thing I noticed right away is how much more high quality these toys are than others we have at home. They feel very sturdy and, so far, have withstood my son’s not-so-gentle tosses across the room.
The “Fuzzy Bug Shrub”—a green canister with three bugs, similar to embroidered patches, that can be velcroed to the cannister’s exterior—is a big hit with my son, too. And I love all the fine motor skills practice he’s getting from opening the container’s lid, taking the bugs out and sticking them on the outside, then repeating the process all over again. He hasn’t quite mastered the “Threadable Bead Kit” yet, where you loop large beads onto a string, but this is a toy that we can use in the months to come.
Is Lovevery worth it?
At $120 a box—and 12 total toys included—each product costs about $10 (or $9 with the prepay discount). Although the overall price was a bit of a sticker shock to me at first, these toys are well made and curated precisely for my son’s developmental level, making it a good investment for my family. Plus, a wooden car ramp toy of similar quality would cost at least $30 on its own. I also appreciate the extra steps Lovevery has gone to produce safer products for little hands (and mouths). Other brands like Green Toys and Hape also spell out their commitment to making non-toxic toys for kids, and are similarly pricier than most mainstream toys.
What makes the Lovevery Play Kit worth it is the variety of age-appropriate toys that come inside—with no guesswork or time-consuming shopping on my part to shop for them. Lovevery’s curated box of toys is a great way to keep new toys in rotation and spark new curiosity from my son during a crucial developmental period in his life.
Some of the toys we will use longer than others, like the “Race and Chase Ramp” and, eventually, the “Threadable Bead Kit.” The other more basic toys included in the kit, like the “Organic Cotton Big Kid Ball” and the "Mouse in an Organic Sleep Sack" (a small plush mouse inside of a tiny sleeping bag), will be of less interest to him as he grows.
These subscription boxes also make great gifts, and can be purchased as subscriptions (with 10 percent off if you opt for three deliveries or more) or one-offs that way for $80 or $120, depending on the recipient’s age. So, if you’re a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or family friend looking for a great (and simple) gift, a Lovevery Play Kit is the way to go.
Sure, you could buy any toy of the shelf (or the internet), but Lovevery offers a certain peace of mind to parents like myself who want safe toys that encourage young children to use their brains in new ways.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.