Originally published July 22, 2021. Rewritten and republished on March 22, 2023 with lots of new and improved alternatives!
The Inspector Play Kit from Lovevery, developed for 7-8 months old, has some amazing toys in it, including our all-time favorite stacking cups.
Our family has been long-time fans of the Lovevery kits – they’re high-quality, backed by research, and aesthetically amazing. It’s like home decor, not baby toys!
The Inspector includes nine toys and costs $80. While I loved and bought this play kit (and all the others) with my own money, you can’t help but wonder: could I recreate it for less on Amazon?
Interested in other age ranges? Check out the other play kits in our Lovevery Amazon alternatives series!
Ball Drop Box with Wood Ball Set
The ball drop box was a huge hit with my son. In our full Lovevery review article, I included a little video clip of him playing with it. It would entertain him for a long time!
One thing I love about all of the Lovevery wooden toys is they’re FSC-certified and sustainably harvested. Lovevery has even posted a commitment to make their products 90% renewable, biobased, or recycled by 2025 (Lovevery Commitment).
I don’t have quite as much faith in products from Amazon, but I will say I found an incredible Amazon alternative for this Lovevery ball drop box!
In the original version of this article, my alternative pick was from Elite Montessori. That’s still a great one, but I’m changing my top pick to the one from Adena Montessori, since it has more reviews and is Prime (faster shipping).
It also comes with 3 balls like the Lovevery version.
‘My First Signs’ Board Book
I love the Lovevery board books! They all look so good together on a shelf with their vibrant color scheme, and the ‘My First Signs’ book is a stand-out.
I’ve always taught my kids sign language before they’re able to verbally communicate what they want.
This book was a great way to reinforce our favorite signs, like “more,” “all done,” and “please.”
The closest alternative I could find on Amazon is Baby Signs: A Baby-Sized Introduction to Speaking with Sign Language by Joy Allen ($5.18).
This is still my top pick!
It doesn’t feature real people like the Lovevery book does (it’s illustrated), but the concepts are the same. It’s also quite popular on Amazon with over 12,000 ratings (4.5 stars).
‘Things I See’ Texture Cards
The ‘Things I See’ Texture cards are a really fun activity to do with your baby, and they last a really long time.
Yes, you can introduce them around 7-8 months, but even my son who is 18 months loves these cards. He’s almost more interested in them now than he was at 8 months.
The texture on the cards is just like those touch-and-feel books. My daughter’s favorite was always the cat. 🙂
I found a pretty similar item on Amazon – My First Touch And Feel Picture Cards: First Words ($11.69).
I selected the first words cards because they seem most similar to the Lovevery ones. But they have several other versions, including animals, colors and shapes, things that go, farm, and numbers and counting.
While that’s still my top choice, I also really like these cards as they introduce Spanish, too.
Nesting Stacking Dripdrop Cups
The stacking cups in this Lovevery play kit can be used in so many different ways, which we loved.
You can bring them in the bathtub since they have holes in the bottom – my kids loved watching the water drip or pour out depending on how many holes the cup had.
You can nest them or turn them upside down and stack them.
When you get the Companion Play Kit for months 22, 23, and 24, you can put the felt stars between each cup as you stack them.
Our daughter loved doing that and then using the tweezer to pick up the felt star after she uncovered it.
The best Amazon alternative for these stacking cups is the First Years Stack Up Cup Toys ($7.49).
They also have holes in the bottom for water play, and you can stack them upside down or nest them right side up.
They’re also made without BPA, lead, or phthalates, just like the Lovevery ones. They may not be quite as aesthetically pleasing, but they serve the same purpose. Plus, you get 8 cups with the Amazon option and only 6 with the Lovevery one.
While I still think these are the best alternatives on Amazon, you can actually buy the Lovevery cups from Target ($20.99) without having to buy the whole kit!
The First Puzzle in the Lovevery kit never really took off with my son, but that’s because he didn’t realize it was a puzzle (at least, I don’t think). No matter how many times I showed him, he still just pulled off the top piece and treated the knob like a chew toy.
Note: they’ve updated the knob piece of this puzzle since we bought it. It used to be wooden, and now it looks like rubber or plastic. Better for chewing! 🙂
That said, we still had fun with it, and he liked it when I uncovered the cute, smiling baby face.
I found an even better alternative for this one, which is the Familiar Faces Peekaboo Knob Puzzle ($14.50). Instead of an image of a baby, it has a mirror, but I think that’s super cute!
It’s also just one component, which is nice and simple for this age.
Felt Ball Set
The felt balls that come with this play kit are great for pushing through the ball drop, carrying in the treasure basket, and just rolling on the floor.
Both of my little ones were fascinated with rolling balls when they were this age (and still are), and the felt balls are a fun new texture to touch and explore.
Most of the felt balls on Amazon are really tiny, but I did find these 1.6-inch balls from Glaciart One ($13.73). You get 10 of them, and while I’m not really sure you need that many, it’s the closest alternative I could find.
Another option is purchasing this object permanence box, which comes with a couple of felt balls that fit in the top.
Kids love putting things in containers. (At least mine did.) This treasure basket is a very versatile item in the play kit, useful for storing the balls (or other small toys) and for playing.
My son would often walk around the house, carrying this basket and putting things in it. It’s so cute!
And I’m so excited to share that I have a WAY better alternative than what I had in the original version of this article!
This small woven basket ($11.99) is almost identical to the Lovevery version.
The small stainless steel drinking cup in this play kit was kind of confusing to me at first because at 7 months, my son was still drinking out of bottles.
However, I was surprised when I put some water in this cup and helped him drink from it. He did so well, and I never would’ve tried it without the nudge from Lovevery!
The original stainless steel cup mentioned in the first version of this article had a handle, which can be problematic. Lovevery actually recalled their prior version of the cup, which had a handle. They worried it could somehow come apart from the cup and cause a choking hazard (no known cases of this – they were proactive about it).
I think these stainless steel espresso cups ($13.99) look just like the Lovevery version, and hey – you can use them for espresso, too!
Lovevery vs. Amazon Price Comparison for “The Inspector”
Here are the prices* for the Lovevery Amazon alternatives I found:
- Ball Drop Box with Wood Ball Set alternative: $19.95
- ‘My First Signs’ Board Book alternative: $5.18
- ‘Things I See’ Texture Cards alternative: $11.69
- Nesting Stacking Dripdrop Cups alternative: $7.49
- First Puzzle alternative: $14.50
- Felt Ball Set alternative: $13.73
- Treasure Basket alternative: $11.99
- Drinking Cup alternative: $13.99
*Amazon prices fluctuate often. The prices listed are the prices I saw when I wrote this article. Please check the price at the time you read this!
The total cost for The Inspector play kit alternatives is $98.52, or $18.52 more than the Lovevery play kit.
I do 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 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.
For every Lovevery play kit we’ve reviewed so far, buying alternative items on Amazon has been more expensive overall. Plus, you lose the cohesive, aesthetically pleasing look of the Lovevery toys.
That said, if you only want a few of the toys in this kit, you can definitely save some money by going to Amazon and getting some alternatives.
I always mention, though, that you can resell the Lovevery toys when you’re done for a really good price on Mercari or Facebook marketplace.
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 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: