The Realist play kit from Lovevery has some incredible toys, including the Montessori-style lockbox and one of our family favorites, the Quilted Critter Pockets activity.
If you’re looking at the Realist play kit from Lovevery, for months 19, 20, and 21, you may be wondering if you can recreate it for less. After all, the Lovevery play kits for toddlers are a little pricey at $120 per quarterly box. I’ve taken on that challenge for you and have found some great Amazon alternatives. How do the prices compare? Let’s find out!
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The Lockbox Alternative
The lockbox is one of those classic Montessori toys that help kids with problem-solving. This toy wasn’t one my kids gravitated towards on their own, but if I presented it, they’d take on the challenge.
It was frustrating at first for both of my kids, but with some practice and my own modeling, they started to grasp the concept. Each lock is different!
There are lockboxes on Amazon, but none of them have very many reviews, and some even have negative reviews in regards to the quality. I think the best alternative is this Montessori busy board with locking and clasping features. It’ll teach your child the same concepts, even if it looks a little different. You may even prefer the busy board format.
Geo Shapes Puzzle Alternative
The Geo Shapes Puzzle is a relatively new addition to the Realist play kit. It didn’t come in ours when I purchased it way back when, but I’ve since bought it from the Lovevery Subscriber Shop.
This puzzle poses a unique challenge that’s different from most shape puzzles. It’s a 3D challenge, and because it’s so unique, I had a hard time finding a good alternative on Amazon.
I did find one, but it only has 1 review, so I can’t speak to the quality of it. You can check it out here.
Quilted Critter Pockets Alternative
The Quilted Critter Pockets activity is a family favorite here. Both of my kids love anything with animals, and this quilted critter matching game is so unique!
Can you put the correct animal in its matching animal pouch? So fun!
This activity is uniquely Lovevery – there’s nothing like it on Amazon.
In an effort to find an alternative, I thought about what this activity is doing for your child, developmentally. They are learning to pair up matching objects (in this case, animals), and they also practice fine motor skills by fitting them in the pouches.
A commenter mentioned that the Realist explainer video discusses how this activity is more about putting things in pockets than matching. If you think of it that way, a fantastic alternative is actually an advent calendar.
My toddlers love doing this during the month of December, though they’ve managed to lose a few of the pieces, of course.
And if you prefer to focus on the matching part of this activity, check out these animal puzzles. They stick with the animal theme, the child can practice placing the animal into the proper puzzle space, and they also get to work on their fine motor skills when picking up the pieces and fitting them into the puzzle base.
Neither of these options are perfect alternatives, so if you are in love with the Lovevery toy, you have to buy their kit.
Grooved Pitcher and Glass Alternative
Practicing pouring is somewhat of a stressful skill to master, at least for me. I’m always trying to keep things clean, but Lovevery reminded me that it’s not always about staying clean. Getting messy is often just what a child needs for their development.
There are ways to practice pouring without making a huge mess, like doing it on top of a baking sheet or starting with dried beans instead of water.
After giving this a go, I realized how much my kids loved it! This pitcher and glass from Lovevery also help teach real-life skills, which is very Montessori-aligned.
A fantastic dupe for this is actually from Montessori Services, but I am trying to find good alternatives on Amazon. This glass pitcher, available on Amazon, is small and perfect for child-sized hands. It is glass, so you need to be careful with supervising.
Count and Slide Ring Chute Alternative
The Count and Slide Ring Chute is another unique Lovevery toy. I couldn’t find anything like it on Amazon, let alone any other sites.
I will say this toy still hasn’t taken off with my kids. My son is now 22 months and basically ignores this toy, even when it’s brand new in his toy rotation.
However, I’m sure plenty of kids love it, so if you want an alternative, I’d recommend Hoot the Fine Motor Owl, which teaches fine motor skills and features similar components.
‘Bea Gets a Checkup’ Board Book Alternative
Going to the doctor is a pretty common routine for young kids, and by a certain age, they understand what’s involved and where they’re going.
I really appreciated this book, which helped make the experience of going for a doctor checkup a positive one. Sometimes, my kids would get nervous during the appointment due to vaccines and shots (and the associated pain), but this book helped me talk them through it.
My daughter actually looks forward to going to the doctor now, and one time, she even brought this book along.
I found a similar book on Amazon called Leo Gets a Checkup, and while it is illustrated, it tells the same story for your child.
Really Real Flashlight Alternative
Last but not least is the Really Real Flashlight. Both of my kids go crazy when they see one of our regular old flashlights – they love pointing it at the walls, the floor, all over the place!
I love how Lovevery gives play ideas for this flashlight, like doing a flashlight scavenger hunt or lighting up a fort (all explained in the play guide).
That said, my daughter somehow unscrewed the battery component of this flashlight and lost the plastic topper piece. We only got to use the flashlight for a few weeks before it was rendered unusable.
The good news is basically any flashlight can work here, and I did find a good alternative from Melissa & Doug!
Lovevery vs Amazon Price Comparison
Is it worth trying to recreate the Lovevery Realist play kit by purchasing similar alternatives on Amazon?
Here’s a price breakdown of the Amazon alternatives. Please note that Amazon prices fluctuate, so these listed prices are at the time of writing. Please click on the product links throughout this article to verify the current price for you.
- The Lockbox Alternative price: $34.99
- Geo Shapes Puzzle Alternative price: $36.95
- Quilted Critter Pockets Alternative price: $21.99
- Grooved Pitcher and Glass Alternative price: $11.49
- Count and Slide Ring Chute Alternative price: $12.99
- ‘Bea Gets a Checkup’ Board Book Alternative price: $9.99
- Really Real Flashlight Alternative price: $13.99
The total cost to purchase Amazon alternatives for the Lovevery Realist play kit is $142.39, or $22.39 more than the Lovevery kit.
While the Lovevery kit may seem expensive, it’s actually a pretty great deal. Not only is it cheaper than the Amazon alternatives, but many of the items are higher-quality (organic cotton, more wood and less plastic).
If you don’t want to buy the full Lovevery kit for months 19, 20, and 21, I hope some of these alternatives help you out. They are all great for healthy development, and I personally really love that busy board with locks!
Need Amazon alternatives for other Lovevery play kits? Check out the main page for this blog series: Lovevery Amazon Alternatives for Every Play Kit.