Originally published December 23, 2021. Updated July 25, 2023 with better alternatives. All of the updates are marked with this yellow background.
The Helper is hands-down one of our favorite Lovevery play kits. We have a lot of favorites, but this is in our Top 3 of all time.
The sink is a toddler favorite, tempera paint sticks are now a staple on our arts & crafts cart, and the double-sided puzzle is SO fun to include in our toy rotation.
I could keep going because the dot catcher, felt flowers, and routine cards are also amazing, but I’ll go into all the details shortly.
I have two goals with these Amazon alternatives articles:
- See if the Lovevery products are overpriced or are actually worth it
- Provide alternatives for families who love the concept of the play kits but can’t afford or justify the price of the entire thing
If you’ve been following this blog series from the beginning, you’ll know that basically every time, it’s cheaper to purchase the Lovevery kit versus recreating it on Amazon. And that’s something I honestly didn’t expect when I started this series!
It certainly makes me feel good because my own family has invested in the Lovevery play kits for years. However, if you can only afford a toy or two, I hope these Amazon alternatives help you find options that are affordable and age-appropriate.
Without further ado, here are my best Amazon alternatives for the Helper Play Kit, designed for months 25, 26, and 27.
Super Sustainable Sink With Bio-Based Cups and Plates
The super sustainable sink in this Helper play kit is one of our all-time favorite Lovevery toys.
While some toys have a lifespan of a few months, this one will be exciting and fun for your kiddos for years. There’s something about running water that captures their attention.
Before you know it, they’ve spent nearly an hour filling cups, pouring out the water, and holding their hand under the water.
All three of my kids also get a kick out of turning the faucet on and off. It’s the little things! 🙂
I do want to mention that for us, the faucet (which needs batteries to run) stopped working unexpectedly. I sent in a ticket to customer support about it, and within 24 hours, they had already shipped us a new pump at no charge.
They asked us to ship our defective one back, which I honestly appreciate. It means they’re going to investigate what went wrong to try to prevent it from happening in the future.
I also appreciate that they didn’t require me to ship the defective pump before sending us a new one.
I love the simple design of the Lovevery sink – it’s white with blue, green, and yellow accessories. I couldn’t find something with that minimalist, simple aesthetic on Amazon, but I did find a play sink with over 10,000 ratings and a solid 4 stars. It also has an added feature where the accessories turn colors depending on the temperature of the water.
Update: This is still the best option available on Amazon!
Anywhere Art Kit With Washable Tempera Paintsticks
I didn’t even know what tempera paint sticks were until we got this Lovevery play kit for my daughter. And I’m a die-hard fan now!!
They are the perfect size for toddler hands to hold, and they make painting more accessible (and less messy).
Yes, you still need to be right there to contain any wild painting behavior, but tempera paint sticks dry pretty quickly, and you don’t need to mix in any water.
Just scribble and paint like it’s a regular crayon, but the color vibrancy is super strong, and both of my kids LOVE using these.
The Pencil Grip tempera paint pens are a fantastic Amazon dupe, and they really do dry quickly (in about 90 seconds). The only word of caution is to make sure you put the lids back on when you’re done or the entire paint stick will dry out.
The Lovevery art kit also includes some small squares of paper and a fabric folder that zips shut. This origami paper is a perfect size. I could not find a good art traveling case alternative – some of my favorite picks are out of stock or say currently unavailable.
Update: Instead of trying to recreate Lovevery’s cool setup, I find it more economical to purchase an art set that comes with a traveling case. This option from Crayola includes a lot of elements, and while it’s not exactly like the Lovevery version, it really gets you to the same place – your child can get creative and take their art with them!
‘Making Muffins’ Board Book
The ‘Making Muffins’ board book follows the story of a toddler helping their parent make muffins. We love this one, and it’s another one of those items that’s truly unique to Lovevery.
When looking for a good Amazon alternative, I’m focused on replicating the key learning components of this book, which include counting and following a recipe to achieve an end result.
I’m so excited I came across this Cook in a Book series!! The book Pancakes!: An Interactive Recipe Book is a fantastic alternative that includes following instructions and counting.
There are even interactive components that allow the child to pull tabs and spin wheels.
While this book isn’t as laser-focused on counting and numbers, there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate it. The reviews are also great!
I own The Helper play kit, but I’m also going to buy a few books from this series because I think my kiddos will love them!
Update: This is definitely still my favorite alternative!
Drop and Match Dot Catcher
The drop and match dot catcher is beautiful to look at – it’s one of those classic Lovevery toys with bright colors and a simple design. That’s why I was so shocked this toy wasn’t an instant hit with my kids.
However, over time, I noticed they started interacting with it in new ways, and now they love dropping in the dots, sliding the bottom to let them all fall out, and starting over again.
There are really two challenges to this open-ended toy – maneuvering the circular pieces into the top of the toy and then working on matching colors (putting the red dots in a single row, for example).
Amazon let me down when it comes to finding an alternative that provides both of these challenges. You can opt for the traditional Connect 4 game, which will challenge your toddler to maneuver the pieces into the top, but it doesn’t involve much color matching.
And on the other hand, there are some great color sorting toys on Amazon, but they don’t look like the dot catcher, and they don’t include those fine motor skill challenges.
So, my official Amazon alternative pick is this wooden 4-in-a-row game, which offers up the same fine motor practice as the Lovevery dot catcher, but it only features red and blue colors.
Update: I have a better alternative! This color-matching game isn’t identical to the Lovevery version, but it still has many of the same components. You may even prefer this as the small pieces stay put!
Felt Flowers In a Row
The felt flowers in a row from Lovevery are fantastic to display on your shelves, and boys and girls alike love the posting component of this toy. Taking the flowers out of the base and “planting” them back in is so entertaining for them.
My daughter went through a phase where she loved to roam our farm and pick dandelions. She’d then come inside and present her bouquet to whoever would accept them. During that phase, it seemed like all she wanted to play with were these felt flowers.
And my son has always enjoyed the activity of “planting” the flowers in the base and then “picking” them. It’s an adorable toy.
The best Amazon alternative is this flower garden kit.
It’s made of plastic and is much more complex than the Lovevery version, but it does involve flowers and motor skills.
You can connect the green pieces to make a grassy base, and there are small holes to practice “planting” the flowers in the garden.
Update: I found a closer flower alternative from Glacier One, though it doesn’t include a wooden base. While your toddler won’t get the posting practice, the flowers look well-made and look just like the Lovevery version!
Double-Sided Sunny Day Puzzle
The double-sided sunny day puzzle is a very innovative toy on Lovevery’s part.
This puzzle has two sides with different scenes, but you can use the same pieces to finish both puzzles. All of the pieces are shapes, so you can start introducing shape words as you complete the puzzle with your toddler.
Plus, it’s a challenge! There are easier parts, like fitting the circle into the sun slot, but there are challenging parts, like figuring out how to assemble the house.
I just love this puzzle! It’s still an engaging activity for my 3.5-year-old, despite it being part of the 2-year-old play kit.
The best Amazon alternative is this wooden animal puzzle set. Instead of having traditional puzzle shapes, it uses smooth edges to create a scene.
My only complaint about this option is the pieces aren’t shapes, so you do lose that learning opportunity of pointing out “triangle” and “oval” and “square.”
However, fitting the pieces together to make a scene is still there, and this Amazon alternative offers four different puzzles.
Update: I found a fantastic alternative on Amazon from the brand HABA! This On The Farm Beginner Pattern Blocks Puzzle poses a similar challenge as the Lovevery puzzle by allowing your child to figure out how the pieces can fit into the scene.
I also found a great alternative from Melissa & Doug that features shapes and a similar house scene. However, the difficulty level of this option is a bit easier than the Lovevery and HABA version. But it’s still a very solid choice, and Melissa & Doug toys are pretty good quality for the price.
Let’s Map It Out Routine Cards
The “Let’s Map It Out” routine cards are great for talking about different parts of the day with your toddler.
Kids thrive on routines, and when you can use these cards to talk through them – and talk about what’s coming – it helps so much.
I’ve personally learned that my kids do so much better emotionally when I warn them about what’s coming. For example, instead of saying “time to take a bath!” I’ll say, “in 5 minutes, we’re going to take a bath.”
The response from my kids is night and day. These cards help you with those conversations, especially at the young age of 2. Showing the card as you explain what’s coming helps your little one understand.
I couldn’t find routine cards on Amazon that feature images of real kids, which I think is an important component of the Lovevery version.
However, there are illustrated options, like this one from Amonev.
The set includes 27 flashcards that cover everything from waking up to going to bed. These cards are also great for kids with autism or special needs.
Update: There is now a daily routine card option from Amazon that features images of real people! It’s from Richardy, and it includes 44 routine cards. This is a really great alternative!
Amazon vs. Lovevery Price Comparison
Here are all of the prices for the Lovevery Amazon alternatives. Keep in mind that Amazon prices fluctuate, so these are the prices at the time of my writing:
- Sink alternative: $36.99
- Anywhere art kit alternative: $19.99
- ‘Making Muffins’ board book alternative: $15.29
- Dot catcher alternative: $24.95
- Felt flowers in a row alternative: $19.73
- Double-sided puzzle alternative: $14.99
- Routine cards alternative: $10.99
Update: The total cost to recreate The Helper Play Kit on Amazon with the new and improved alternatives is now $142.93, or $22.93 more than the Lovevery kit.
I definitely think it’s worth investing in the Lovevery play kit because you’re going to save money and the quality of the items is much higher than what you can get on Amazon.
However, there are some incredible Amazon alternatives for this kit! I’m in love with the Cook In a Book series I discovered, and the puzzle alternatives look amazing. I think both of these would be wonderful to have in addition to the Helper play kit!
One thing to mention about the Lovevery play kits is that they come with a Play Guide for parents. It includes developmental milestones to look for as well as ideas for how to play during this stage.
I find these play guides incredibly useful and reassuring, and I also share them with our caregivers so they know how to utilize these toys and help my kids achieve important milestones.
Once again, the Lovevery play kit comes out on top – it’s a fantastic deal for what you get, especially when you consider the quality of the materials used.
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts on these alternatives in the comments below!