Parenting

My toddler is obsessed with this toy subscription box—here's why we love it

Lovevery's new Play Kits for ages 2-3 are a game-changer

A child opens a box of Lovevery toys Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

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Occupying my busy-body 2-year-old son takes a lot of work. Thankfully, Lovevery’s new Play Kits for toddlers have provided him with a variety of interactive, educational toys that keep him busy for hours. Yes, really—hours—which is a big help since I work from home with kids.

I’ve been a fan of Lovevery products for a while now. We used the Lovevery Play Gym with my son as an infant. We also are big fans of Lovevery’s colorful, heirloom-quality blocks and Play Kits for younger toddlers, so we had to try Lovevery’s new Play Kits, designed for kids ages 2-3. Here’s how it went.

What is Lovevery?

Previous play kit
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Lovevery makes subscription-based toy boxes for babies and toddlers. My son, pictured above, is seen playing with a toy from a previous Lovevery Play Kit for kids under 2 that we tested in 2019.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lovevery, that’s because the company is relatively new to the toy-making game. Lovevery 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.

The company has been making Play Kits for ages 1 and younger for a while now, but the Montessori-focused brand recently expanded into kits for toddlers. The kits come with a variety of age-appropriate toys and books and are broken up into the following age groups:

  • The Helper (25-27 months)
  • The Enthusiast (28-30 months)
  • The Investigator (31-33 months)
  • The Free Spirit (34-36 months)

A play kit subscription starts at $36 a month and boxes are shipped every three months until your child ages out. As of now, the play kits are not available for purchase one at a time and are only available through the subscription. However, you can purchase a gifted box for $80.

What we like

There’s a large variety of toys

connect 4
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The bright and colorful toys are durable, sturdy, and fun for the whole family to play with.

My son is 26 months old, so we tried Lovevery’s “The Helper” box, specifically designed for toddlers ages 25 to 27 months. There were a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” when we opened the box—and not just from my little guy. Even I wanted to play with these toys. Here are some of our favorite toys that came in The Helper box:

Drop and Match Dot Catcher: This colorful Connect 4-style toy was a hit right out of the box. It comes with 25 circular wood “dots” in a rainbow of colors (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue) and each of the five rows features a different color. I love that this helps him learn to sort his colors while also teaching him to strategize. There’s a slider bar at the bottom, so even your toddler can easily release the dots once the catcher is full! Releasing the dots on the floor and “cleaning” them up, aka dropping them back in the slots, provided endless fun to my son.

Super Sustainable Sink: I’m not sure what I was expecting to come in the box, but this sink, made from eco-friendly materials, was a true delight to find. Not only does it come with a playset of toddler-sized cups and plates, the sink actually runs real water. Research shows that pretend play can have positive benefits on developing young minds, and this toy checks all the boxes. The top part of the sink detaches from the bottom, which is where the water goes. The faucet plays water sounds when in use, so it requires two AA batteries. They’re included, but they only last a day at our house. That’s likely a testament to how much my son (and even my 7-year-old daughter) play with the sink, so make sure to have some extra batteries on hand. (And I know, a water toy indoors seems like a parent’s worst nightmare. But this one is worth it—and makes very little mess at all.)

Arlo art
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Art and little kids usually involves a big mess, but not so with Lovevery's portable and washable coloring set.

Anywhere Art Kit: Another mess-free toy for the win is the art set, which comes with five non-toxic paint sticks, several sheets of paper, and a fabric carrying case with a zipper to hold everything in. Painting with a toddler is messy business, but this portable art kit makes it so much easier. If not for living in quarantine, I could easily see us bringing the art kit to a restaurant or on an airplane to occupy my son.

That’s not to say he didn’t love the other toys in the box, but these three were the clear favorites. However, the Double-sided Sunny Day Puzzle was a favorite of mine. It comes with seven different shapes and two different puzzles. My son, who is obsessed with taking things apart and putting them back together again, really enjoyed working with the puzzle pieces to find the right spot. And, as a mom, there’s nothing more I love than watching him think about what to do next.

Also included in the kit was a rhyming and counting book, a set of routine cards, and a set of five felt flowers that individually insert into the accompanying pegboard vase.

Manuals are easy and helpful for parents

manual
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The well-made instruction manual is clearly labeled and goes above and beyond the usual pamphlets that are included with toys.

Lovevery always includes a thoughtful Play Guide for parents in the Play Kit subscription boxes. This is the second time I’ve tried out a Lovevery Play Kit for my son and the explanatory guide is a standout little booklet of information for parents and caregivers. It’s chock full of the research that went into the toys, how to use the toys, and an overview of everything in the box.

Most toy manuals are useless, providing little to no information about how the toy integrates with your child. Lovevery takes it a step further but taking a deep dive into the ins and outs of the toys—and how to use them with your children. The manual is made from sturdy paper, has clearly-labeled tabs, and is a nice touch for parents and caregivers.

It encourages play with older siblings

I mentioned my daughter, who is going into second grade this fall, also loves to play with the Lovevery Play Kit toddler set. Although she doesn’t play with the toys independently of her brother (and at age 7, I don’t expect her to), there is enough variety that older kids can have some fun with the Lovevery set, too. It’s a nice way for my two kids, despite their five year age difference, to enjoy playtime together.

What we don’t like

Not every toy is a winner

There aren’t many things we don’t love about Lovevery’s new Play Kits for toddlers. But, while I do appreciate the variety included, not every toy was a hit with my son. He didn’t show much interest in the routine cards. Each card shows a young child doing a basic activity, with the matching phrases printed below, such as “wash hands” or “brush teeth.”

However, every kid is different, so that’s to be expected in some ways. The “Making Muffins” book by Lovevery was also a bit of a dud, but that’s likely because many of the other toys are more interactive than the book and cards.

Is it worth it?

Arlo in a box
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Even the box is fun!

One-hundred percent, yes. Kids accumulate a lot of toys over the years, many of which don’t last that long, are cheaply made, or they grow bored after a while. Lovevery’s Play Kits for toddlers are the perfect way to make sure your little one has access to a rotating mix of age-appropriate toys.

Get a subscription to Lovevery’s Play Kits for toddlers

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