Spoiler alert: this play kit was the hardest to find alternatives for yet. Some of the toys in this kit are so unique that you just cannot find an alternative on Amazon – or the whole internet for that matter.
The Amazon alternatives turn out to be far more expensive than just buying the Lovevery play kit, so if that’s what you’re here for, head on over to Lovevery and get yourself a steal.
You’ll find out soon, but just the fact that this play kit has two stainless steel items in it – and the kit is only $80 – blows my mind. The only stainless steel key set on Amazon, made for little ones, costs $40. How did Lovevery do this?
OK, before I spoil the whole article, here’s the deal: the Explorer play kit includes eight toys and costs $80. Join me on my mission to find suitable Amazon alternatives and find out how much more it costs to recreate the kit than to just go for it and buy Lovevery.
Interested in other age ranges? Check out other play kits in our Lovevery Amazon alternatives series!
‘How I Feel’ Board Book
The ‘How I Feel’ board book in this play kit has been one of our absolute favorite books from Lovevery. It’s fun to read with your 9-10 month-old, but it’s still fun with my nearly 3-year-old! She loves going through, pointing out the emotions, and mimicking them. It’s also the cutest thing to watch.
I found a good alternative on Amazon called “Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions” (around $15). Like Lovevery, it uses real baby faces (not illustrated). It even includes a little guessing game – “Find the happy face!”
I think this book is a fantastic alternative if you can’t afford the whole Lovevery kit.
Finding inexpensive Amazon alternatives for the first blocks is surprisingly challenging because the kit only includes 3 blocks. Go to Amazon, type in wooden blocks, and you’ll find block sets of 80+ pieces!
Obviously, Lovevery keeps the price of the kit down by including only 3 blocks, but it’s also developmentally appropriate. Your baby can only stack so many blocks when they’re this little, and it keeps toy clutter manageable, which I like.
The smallest set of good-quality wooden blocks I could find on Amazon is from HABA, which includes 12 colorful cubes ($19.99). These are made of solid beechwood that comes from sustainable forestry in Germany.
Bright & Light Play Scarf
Play scarves are so versatile and fun, despite how simple they look.
Before COVID, I used to take my daughter to a 2-year-old music class, and there were all kinds of fun activities we did with these silk scarves. One of my daughter’s favorites was waving them in the air to practice “legato” and “staccato.”
You can also have fun with hide-and-seek, or my daughter’s new favorite – pretending to be a scary ghost.
The point is, this is a toy that lasts far beyond 9-10 months. You’ll be glad you got it!
I found a great alternative on Amazon ($8.95), though it does have 6 scarves, quite a few more than the Lovevery version. Again, Lovevery can keep its costs down by keeping the quantities minimal.
Clear Tube with Stacking Rings
The clear tube with stacking rings is a very unique toy from Lovevery – one that’s really difficult to recreate.
It’s obviously a play on the classic stacking ring toys, but the clear tube is what sets it apart. It opens up different opportunities for play that you don’t get with the typical stacking rings.
That said, I could not find any stacking ring toys with a clear tube.
The best Amazon alternative I could find is from mushie, a stacking rings toy made in Denmark ($17.99).
I love the aesthetics of it, and I personally think it’d be just as fun for your baby. My son is about 18 months, and he still loves playing with stacking ring toys like this one.
Montessori Egg Cup
The Montessori egg cup is a fun toy to introduce to your baby at 9-10 months, but in our experience, it doesn’t have a ton of longevity. Our son grew tired of this one pretty quickly – it’s like once he figured it out, he was done with it.
That said, there’s a great alternative on Amazon for this, and a lot of people love it. It’s definitely a Montessori classic.
Stainless Steel Jingle Keys
This item turned out to be a very challenging one to recreate – I thought it’d be one of the simplest, but here’s the problem: most “baby” keys are plastic.
The stainless steel ones I found are $39.99, or half the price of the Lovevery play kit! So that wasn’t going to work.
But part of the fun in these stainless steel keys is that they jingle, and you lose that with the plastic variety.
That said, the true alternative for this item is indeed the Kleynimals Toy Keys for $39.99, but our best price-friendly alternative is from The First Years Store for just under $5.
Honestly, if you’re going to buy the Kleynimals keys, just get the Lovevery box! There’s no point in spending $40 for just one item when you get that and seven more things for $80.
UPDATE: A commenter suggested metal measuring spoons as an alternative to this, and I think that is so genius! Baby will enjoy the clanging, and when they’re tired of playing with them, you have an extra set of measuring spoons! This metal set on a ring is less than $12 and has over 17,000 5-star reviews.
Stainless Steel Tip & Turn
I had to get seriously creative to find anything close to an alternative for this unique Lovevery toy.
There is nothing else online like the stainless steel tip & turn. This is honestly the first time this has happened to me – where I truly could NOT find a good alternative for a Lovevery toy.
I suspect this will get harder and harder as we get into older play kits, but I had to get creative to find something that would still offer the same amount of fun as this one.
The Stainless Steel Salad Bowl from Doma Vita is the best Amazon alternative I could find for this toy ($26.95). Hear me out: you can still put a ball in it and your baby will have a blast; plus, you can use it for serving salad.
It might be a stretch, but it’s the best I could do, OK?
Little Grip Canister Set
I love the concept of the little grip canister set, but this toy never took off with my kids. That said, every child reacts differently to the toys, and the different lids and sizes pose a unique challenge.
Both Mama Bears here searched high and low, and there isn’t a suitable alternative for this on Amazon. You could get some snack containers ($20.99), but it’s really not the same.
My sister has a suggestion to repurpose some things from your pantry, and I think that’s your best bet for duping this particular toy.
Clean out an old peanut butter jar, a baby food jar, and a Tupperware container. It’s not exactly the same, but at least it’s different types of lids and three different volumes.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but my babies always preferred playing with things that weren’t “toys” (water bottles come to mind…).
Lovevery vs. Amazon Price Comparison for “The Explorer”
Here are the prices* for the Lovevery Amazon alternatives I found:
- ‘How I Feel’ Board Book alternative: $15.07
- First Blocks alternative: $19.99
- Bright & Light Play Scarf alternative: $8.95
- Clear Tube with Stacking Rings alternative: $17.99
- Stainless Steel Jingle Keys alternative: $5
- Stainless Steel Tip & Turn alternative: $26.95
- Canister set alternative: $20.99
*Amazon prices fluctuate often – please refer to the product links to check the price at the time you read this article.
The total cost for The Explorer play kit alternatives is $114.94 or $34.94 more than the Lovevery play kit.
If we did a true alternative for those stainless steel keys, the actual cost of recreating the Explorer play kit would be $149.93, or $69.93 more than the play kit. The Explorer is, by far, the most unique play kit, and based on our search for accurate alternatives, I believe it’s the best bang for your buck!
This kit was SO hard to dupe – the items are high quality (hello stainless steel!!), and some of them are incredibly unique. If you’re looking for a high-value play kit, this may be the one to beat.
I also have to mention the aesthetics – all of the Lovevery toys and books coordinate, so they look really nice on shelves and counters. With the Amazon alternatives, it’s a bit of a mix-and-match.
Also, the play kit also comes with the Play Guide, which includes ideas for playing with the toys, tips on developmental milestones, and even some play ideas that don’t necessarily use items from the kit. I loved reading through the Play Guide and finding new ways to use the toys that I hadn’t previously thought of.
This was the hardest play kit to recreate so far. And, it kind of felt like a massive fail – you’re better off buying the Lovevery play kit!
If you simply cannot afford the whole play kit, I’d recommend getting the book, first blocks, and play scarves. Those items will last you far beyond 10 months (unlike that egg cup).
Do I think the Lovevery play kits are worth it? Definitely – I bought them all with my own money and have loved them for years. Plus, once again, they came out way cheaper than trying to recreate the kit on your own.
Whether this served as a confirmation that the Lovevery kits are indeed worth it, or you’re interested in a toy or two, I hope this article helps you find what you need!
More articles in this series: