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- Lovevery is a new toy brand created by early childhood development experts that offers curated play kits with age-appropriate toys sorted into two- to three-month age groups.
- You can subscribe to a plan or buy kits separately; subscriptions start at $36 a month and solo kits start at $80.
- Each kit comes with a number of toys as well as a comprehensive guide that helps parents present toys and activities at the right times and in ways that are most enjoyable and stimulating for their children.
- Lovevery toys are designed to entertain, but also to help a child's rapidly developing brain form connections between the billions of nerve cells just waiting to link up.
- What are Lovevery play kits?
- What they're like to use
- What makes Lovevery stand out
- The bottom line
Finding the best toys for babies and toddlers can be a serious challenge.
If I had a nickel every time my son or daughter pushed a toy aside and instead played with a spatula or shoe, I'd have enough money to go buy another toy they might reject.
So how to find the very best toys for a young child? With my son Ben, who is now 5 1/2 and onto Lego bricks, writing and illustrating stories, and (limited) use of technology, it was a genuine struggle. My wife and I wanted to make sure he had great toys that would make playtime both fun and meaningful in terms of mental and motor development, and usually, this meant doing a lot of research and buying things on a one-off basis. We found plenty of great toys, but his collection was never as cohesive as we would've liked, and it grew a bit too large after a while too because we were constantly playing a guessing game with our purchases.
In the past year, my wife and I have found that trusting toy curation to the team of experts Lovevery works out quite well. The experts come from the fields of psychology, development, occupational therapy, and education, so when these folks set out to create a company that produces toy and activity kits that would help foster brain development, they went all in.
But calling Lovevery a toy company would be like calling a forest a place with trees. Yes, there are trees, but there's so much more going on among them.
What are Lovevery play kits?
Lovevery play kits are broken out into six kits (or subscriptions, if you choose that plan) intended to be swapped out every two months for babies, and into four kits intended to be swapped every three months for the brand-new toddler kits. Each kit contains carefully selected items that will engage, entertain, and enlighten youngsters.
There's the Looker Play Kit intended for newborns and babies through the first eight weeks of life. It contains things like a soft silicone rattle, cards with simple high-contrast images, and mittens with geometric patterns. Most of the objects in the Looker kit use only bold black and white colors because that's what a newborn's eyes can see, and the toys are designed for use by a little human who's not yet using his or her hands with any sense of control, or is just rolling over and still acting largely by instinct.
As for the instincts that make them put toys into their mouths — each item included in these kits is made with nontoxic water-based paints or dyes, organic fabric, sustainably-sourced wood, and other safe, eco-friendly materials.
For older children who are between 11 and 12 months, the Thinker Play Kit contains a colorful doll, weighted balls, books with full-color images, and multiple toys that require manipulation and basic dexterity.
Basically, what each of these kits contain are objects that are developmentally appropriate for kids of the respective age. But kids don't simply move on from the earlier toys when they outgrow the kit's intended age group; instead, the way a child engages with the toys evolves as their abilities and interests expand.
What they're like to use
Our daughter Scarlett still loves many of the toys she has played with for a year, and now she carries them around while walking and talking (well, babbling) instead of kicking at them as she lies on her back on a play mat. The lasting power of these toys makes the $40 monthly expense seem quite affordable for my wife and I, especially compared with what we'd spend buying toy after toy that'd be rapidly discarded for a spatula.
As kids enter their first full year, their development continues rapidly, but each child will hit milestones at different times, so the toddler kits are spread over three months instead of six, with four kits making up the whole year.
"Year-two play kits cover three months of play to accommodate more divergent development paths [with] more complex products," explains Emily Tetz, director of marketing from Lovevery.
The toddler kits are larger and include more items in each box, allowing parents (or caregivers) to consider which toys to introduce over each three-month period to meet the abilities of a growing child and coax out their best efforts at problem-solving and critical thinking. This might be hard to believe, but don't worry, the kids will have fun in the process — they'll just form some new neural pathways while doing it.
What makes Lovevery stand out
While the kits are great, the play guide that comes with each kit is what truly sets Lovevery apart. The guides, which include full-color images and are broken down into easily-digested sections ("What and When," "The Playthings," and "More Activities") show parents and caregivers when and how each toy or item should be introduced and advise on how an adult can help a child engage with the item.
Going beyond the toys themselves, these guides also explain what's going on with your child ("Learning to control his arms and legs" or "Recognizes people who take care of him," to name two examples out of dozens), what each toy is designed to help with (like sensory exploration or making connections), and even what you as a parent are likely experiencing at each stage.
The guides even offer ideas for other activities beyond using the toys themselves, helping educate a parent or caregiver on how to make interactions meaningful and beneficial for both parties.
The bottom line
Now, I'm not a doctor so I definitely suggest talking to yours before incorporating these toys into playtime. In my experience though, Lovevery makes wonderful toys and well-curated kits that my daughter loved playing with. But to my wife and I, they're more than that. They're developmental tools that greatly benefits the child and caregiver who's also engaged in a learning process.
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