Last Updated: April 15, 2022
When you have a new baby, it can feel like the toys you’re choosing are the most important thing in the world. Will they learn? Will they be challenged!? Are they missing anything? In your quest for the best for your baby, you will probably run across baby subscription boxes that include toys and accessories. So if you’re wondering if the Lovevery baby subscription box is worth it or which is better Kiwico’s Panda Crate or Lovevery? Here’s everything you need to know about the Kiwico vs Lovevery play kits.
You can of course skip both! And just buy what you need as you need it, or use the kits for inspiration of what open-ended toys your baby or one year olds might be into at certain ages. But if you’re looking to choose between Lovevery or Kiwico, here’s a breakdown comparison of what you get, price (including sales and promo code options), value (quantity of items compared to price), quality, frequency, ages and length of use, and if it’s worth it. Jump ahead:
A third option is the Monti Kids subscription. I won’t be comparing the MontiKids in this breakdown however, because the price point is much higher which really puts it in a completely different bracket!
A great book for the early years, is the Wonder Weeks. While it’s often misunderstood as a milestones book, it’s more about understanding play and growth phases of your baby. And at what ages they might start to be interested in different items, different kinds of play etc. And with that exploration, you’ll soon enter the world of baby play kits! Suddenly it seems like everyone is offering a baby toy monthly or quarterly toy kit. And you’ll start getting Instagram ads and feeling like oh boy if I don’t order one of these am I depriving your child? (Hint: No).
Lovevery vs Kiwico Panda Crate
In comparing Lovevery and Kiwico’s Panda Crate, I looked at price (overall price, price per toy/item, and sales/ promo availability), Value – what you get, quantity of items, and quality. And age ranges and length of use.
|Toys per Box
|Lovevery – Baby
|every 2 months
|Avg 7 toys, 1 book
|Lovevery – Toddler
|every 3 months
|Avg 6 toys, 1 book
|Kiwico Panda Crate – Baby/Toddler
|every 2 months
|Avg 5 items
First up, price. The play kits cost is a wide range, but here is what you would pay if you bought all six crates:
KiwiCo Panda Crate: 0-12 Months – 6 crates – $222 for all 6 crates
Lovevery Play Kits: 0-12 Months – 6 crates – $480 for all 6 crates
Kiwico has been in the subscription business for a long time! But their first foray into the under 2 years age range wasn’t until fall of 2019. They’ve long been popular for their Koala Crates and Kiwi Crates for ages 2-7. Check out my Kiwico Koala Crate Review here.
Kiwico is about half the price of the Lovevery boxes, but you’re also getting fewer items. Kiwico also offers promo codes frequently, plus if you sign up for more than one box you get a big discount.
You’re definitely getting more items and more expensive items with the Lovevery kits and the price point reflects that. So it’s a bit hard to compare, in that it’s somewhat comparing apples to oranges (or maybe comparing apples to pears). Lovevery also offers toddler play kits through age 3 (46-48 months is their last kit).
Overall, if you’re looking at price and affordability, Kiwico wins this category.
Value & What You Get
The main difference between the Lovevery kits and the Panda Crates are that the Lovevery Kits are set toy kits that do not change. You can buy specific boxes, and you know that if you buy the first 6 boxes, you will get the following toys. Whereas with Kiwico, you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get in the Panda Crates each month. They have examples of what they send. So if you’re wanting to plan ahead for toys to not buy your kiddo, gifting etc it’s a little harder to know what to expect with the Panda Crates. Which is also the case if you already have toys that have been given to you, there may be months that aren’t as useful. And while the Lovevery boxes could change over time, you know exactly what you’re getting in your box!
However, you also have the option of buying a few of the first months Panda Crate boxes through the Kiwico Shop vs the subscription option. When you buy individual crates from their shop you know exactly what you’re getting! But from then on, you will get more of a grab bag of toys and items, not necessarily what you saw in a picture of a sample box.
Lovevery Play Kits
Here’s what you get for the first six crates that cover the first year, and come about every two months.
Kiwico Panda Crate
And here’s an idea of some of the items you might get in the first few boxes. You will get six boxes total, that come every two months.
Panda Crate Bond with Me (0-2 months)
- tummy time mirror
- black and white cards set
- muslin swaddle blanket
- milestone pillow & cards
Lovevery The Looker (0-2.5 months)
- black and white cards set (& holder)
- wooden book
- black and white mittens
- silicone rattle
- sensory toy & links to hang up
If you compare the first kit for Panda Crate vs Lovevery, you’ll see that you get many more items in the Lovevery kit, and they feel more play-based. For the Panda crate, most families will already have swaddles taken care of at this point. And the milestone pillow and card is cute, but you may also prefer to pick out something more unique to your family if you’re planning to do a monthly photo. So you’re really getting two useful toys vs The Looker kit you’re getting six toys.
Panda Crate Sense with Me (3-6 months)
- crinkle tag toy
- soft rattle fabric blocks
- knot ball
- teething ring
- bath book
Lovevery The Charmer (3-4 months)
- crinkle bag
- wooden rattle
- rolling bell toy
- silicone teether & cloth
- soft book
- framed mirror
- black & white cards set & mirror card
- rubber triangle teether
- hand to hand discs
Once again if compare the next boxes sent – the Panda Crate Sense with me and. the Lovevery Charmer, you’re getting twice as many toys in the Lovevery kit. And the price definitely reflects that. This next Panda Crate also does a better job or sending items that they can actually play with instead of what felt like filler items of the blanket and milestone items in the first kit. So as you get going, the Panda crates do send more toys. One of the example the Panda Crate 13-18 months kits includes: Stacking cups, shape puzzles, cylinder blocks, counting cards, book.
“Book upgrade” if you want the book add-on for each box you have to buy it separately for $10.95 a box.
Overall for value, I have to give this one to Kiwico Crates. They really know how to hit all the boxes necessary at a certain price point. So I love that they’re bringing this level of play and Montessori style to a wider audience in an affordable way!
Lovevery Kits have a very high end feel and they’ve really thought of everything from a very high level and cohesive nature. The color schemes, the way individual toys work with future items etc. It’s all very seamless and if I could start completely over, I would consider, saying “don’t buy us any toys, friends and family!” and instead budget for one of these kits. If you add up the amount you spend on toys in the first year anyway, you might fall somewhere in the same price range regardless!
So even if you look at the items included in the kits and buy your own, the quality and design of theses items really shine! So this one goes to Lovevery over the Panda Crate.
Age Range & Length of Use
Age range and length of use for play kit items is very dependent on individual children. Each baby is different. But as the The Wonder Weeks book that covers infant play and childhood development suggests, there are many distant stages or “leaps” our babies go through. The leaps they describe are from 5 weeks to 1.5 years old. As a first-time parent, I loved this book. As long as you take it as interesting ideas and don’t confuse it with actual milestones, you’ll be good. I really enjoyed this book for considering what toys and activities my baby might enjoy next. So combined with play kits like Lovevery and Panda Crate, the toy ideas really seem to fit baby and toddler play desires.
As parents, you will likely discover that your child falls more into specific interests in some areas before others. For example some babies are more into sound items, hand work, and “language” much more than movement and gross motor. And other babies engage more with movement to start, and their hand work develops much later. So if you apply this same understanding to the way your child interacts with toys (and play kits), some of the kits might feel a little hit or miss at different age ranges or be items that you come back to later.
Overall, I would give the age appropriate and Length of Use award to Lovevery. Their included toys are extremely well thought out and have an open-ended Montessori bent to them. And they are really built to last. So they will be items your kids will continue using in different ways for a couple years, and if you plan to have more than one child, then you will get even more use of them. The Panda Crate items are still quality toys, they just have a bit of a different feel (much like the Koala Crate craft and toy items). They are wonderful and a great value and your baby will definitely play with these items and love them! But you can tell Lovevery spent a ridiculous amount of time fine-tuning their kits for developmentally appropriate items. So if Koala Crate came in with a B grade, Lovevery is in there getting that A grade. Which is not to say your family won’t love Koala Crate as well.
The Verdict: Panda Crate vs Lovevery
Overall, I think both the Panda Crate and Lovevery play kit subscriptions are great and worth the value at their individual price points. Yes, you’re getting more high-end wooden and Montessori items with the Lovevery kit and you’re paying twice as much for these great item. And the Panda Crate you’re getting more of a sample of the Montessori style items at a much lower overall price point. So you get what you pay for and if the Panda Crate is in your budget go for it! At the list price point and with the available deals and promo codes, you really can’t go wrong with this crate.
As for the Lovevery play kit, I would say if you haven’t already been gifted or handed down many toys and you don’t want to have to do much planning and purchasing of individual toys, this play kit toy subscription can almost be a one and done toys solution for the first years! Of course you will likely find yourself getting more things. But it really does cover all the bases in terms of what your baby will be interested in! And if you plan to have more than one kid, then you might really get a lot of use out of these toys.