Tonie Box or Yoto Player?

Have you been considering purchasing an audio player for your little one? If you have then it’s likely you will have come across Tonie Boxes and Yoto Players. Kids story boxes have been a great addition to our home. We’ve had a Tonie Box for more than two years now and have recently purchased a Yoto Player.

Which One Is Best?

Let me go through what we love about story boxes for children and what some of their similarities and differences are so you can make the right choice for your child.

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Which Audio Player Should I Choose?

As I’ve already mentioned, we have both and we think they are both incredible. However, all children are unique and depending upon how your child enjoys exploring the world will help guide you to which player is likely to be the best for your child. You want to think about what the main purpose is for purchasing an audio player.

Where to Buy Tonies

Where to Buy Yoto Player

In this blog post I’m going to go through some of the reasons why I’d pick one over the other in certain situations.

We’ve had our Tonie Box for over two years and only recently added a Yoto Player to our collection. For us this worked well as Floss, our daughter, really engaged with the physical characters of Tonies – she was two years old when we first had it.

Tonie Box - Tonies - Creative Tonies - Audio player - Gruffalo - Stickman

Tonie Box vs. Yoto Player

If you’d like to know more about the basic functions of Tonie Box check out my blog post here. As she’s got older, now five, she is enjoying her Tonie Box and uses it daily but is also enjoying the range and older stories available on the Yoto Player.

When Will You Be Using The Audio Player?

Firstly, it’s important to think about when your child might be using the audio player. They’re great for a wide range of circumstances such as car journeys, anytime during the day, rest time, meal times and of course bedtime.

Audio Players at Bedtime

For us, bedtime has been completely changed with the use of audio players. Our daughter, like many children, finds it difficult to get to sleep on a night. I’m sure lots of you can relate! We do our bedtime routine with Floss and before we leave the room she selects either a Tonie character or a card for the Yoto Player that she will then listen to until she falls asleep.

For me this has been amazing as I’ve been able to get on with the household chores while she’s happily entertained gently before she falls asleep. The other time we’ve found an audio player to be very effective is if Floss wakes in the night. She always used to call for us. Now she pops on an audio story independently while she falls back to sleep. Genius!

We’ve found that sometimes, especially at bedtime, it can be helpful to use choices to support leaving her room. For example, rather than saying it’s bedtime now and sometimes leaving the room can be tricky. Instead we might say which Tonie/ Card would you like to choose out of these two to play while you rest before sleep.

If you are mainly going to be using the audio player at bedtime I’d consider whether your child would find a physical character soothing or over stimulating when I was making my choice.

Independence

Both players we love for the independence it gives to our daughter on making her own choices. There can be lots of times when children don’t get to make their own choices and for us anything that promotes Floss’s autonomy is a positive thing for us.

Yoto Player and Card

Both the Yoto Player and Tonie Box can be used independently by children age three plus but content for both are suitable from birth – you’ll find age suggestions on each Tonie character and for each Yoto Card.

Adventuring and Robustness!

If you’re the adventuring family then Yoto Player has the handy Adventure Jacket you can get to make your player more portable. Although the Tonie Box doesn’t have a handle, it’s more than capable of dealing with rigorous play and being taken out and about!

I ABSOLUTELY wouldn’t advise it, but our Tonie Box accidently took a tumble down the stairs and still worked perfectly fine after. If you have a child who is a little more rough with their play and toys then the Tonie Box might be more what you’re looking for.

If you’re mainly going to be using the player out and about it might be worth considering Yoto Player’s new Yoto Mini. We’ve just had our Yoto Mini Player arrive. It’s not unboxed yet. We got this mainly as my daughter loves anything miniature and being able to take her toys around in little bags and baskets everywhere.

Yoto Mini is a compact version of the Yoto Player – you can still use the same cards for both Yoto Player and Yoto Mini. The cards can fit nicely into a little wallet holder for easy transportation. Saying that, we’ve travelled with our Tonie Box lots over the last couple of years. They do some cute little storage cases for your Tonie characters and the Tonie Box and storage cases are lovely and robust.

Audio Player Safety

Yes, you need a WiFi connection to be able to set up both players, but once you have your content connected you can then use both without WiFi. As a family we liked the fact we were in control of what our daughter could listen to and wouldn’t accidently stumble on content we were unaware of.

The Tonie Box allows you to adjust the volume percentage that comes from the box and we’ve found this particularly useful at bedtime to promote a more tranquil, sleepy environment. The volume can be adjusted on an app from your phone.

Headphones can be purchased for each audio player and these can have the volume limits set to ensure they are safe for children.

Audio Player Apps

Both audio players can be controlled using apps. Something I’ve found incredibly useful with the Yoto Player app is that it stores all of our content on my phone too. So, if I need a super quick distraction or a little entertainment I don’t need to have the player with me and still have access to the audio content on my phone.

Whichever audio player you choose you can upload your own content using the apps. This is one of our favourite aspects of the players.

Particularly, during Covid lockdowns it was a great way to be able to get grandparents and other family and friends to keep in touch through telling stories and singing songs which we were then able to upload onto our daughters player. It would be an ideal way to keep in touch with relatives and friends from across the world too.

Audio Player Age Range

For us the Yoto Player was a natural progression as Floss got older and we wanted more depth of content to stories for her. However, as I say, she still ADORES her Tonie Box, so the two work very well together for us.

We found the Tonie Player perfect for when Floss was younger. The characters were really engaging and she would use them in her play even without the player. She really enjoyed having the character while reading the actual book to her too.

Floss is at that stage where she’s still very much into picture books but she’s beginning to explore the world of chapter books as her passion for reading thrives. With this we’ve found that the Yoto Player was a great aid with this progression; giving her that slightly longer content that she was looking for.

Depending upon what age your child is would definitely impact upon which player I would choose.

What Does Your Child Like?

Floss is a total bookworm and adores a wide range of book genres in both physical and audio books. Depending upon how your child engages with stories may help you to decide on a suitable audio player.

If your child loves sitting and listening to stories then either audio player is likely to be a win. However, if your child isn’t one for sitting with stories then the Tonie characters might be a great way to help your child engage with audio content. Check out my blog post here on incorporating Tonie characters with small world play.

Tonie Characters

Generally, we’ve found Tonie Box have around five new characters a month added including popular Disney stories and stories such as Fireman Sam, Oi Frog series, Miffy and Paw Patrol. Creative Tonies are £11.99 and pre-loaded content Tonies are £14.99.

Yoto Player Cards and Yoto Club

Yoto Player seem to have a few more new releases. They also have Yoto Club that we are a member of. Yoto also have podcast cards that are £1.99 and stories, music and activities start from £4.99 to around £8.99. Therefore, if ongoing costs are an important factor for you then a Yoto Player might be your preferred choice.

The Yoto Club is a great idea where you get two new cards sent to you each month or pick from eight different cards. Certainly a brilliant way to boost your collection and is just £9.99/ month so you make a big saving on card prices depending upon which cards you select each month.

Story Box Top Tip

My top tip is to carefully take the player out of the box and get it charged and set up before you wrap it up to gift. The players are very easy to set up. The instructions are nice and simple when you’re on your own and feeling calm. Everything becomes a little more blurry with ‘little helpers’!

Where to Buy Tonies

Where to Buy Yoto Player

My One Wish

I would absolutely wish to see more diverse audio content available for players. For this to happen, we need to be requesting it and telling companies what we’d love to see. I would love for an audio player to team up with the wonderful indie publishers Owlet Press.

Still Unsure?

I’m very happy to answer any specific questions you have. Just drop me a message in comments or send me an email to lisa@busybusylearning.com.

Many children will love audio players, but like all things it may not be your child’s ‘thing’ or you may get a character or card that they just don’t engage with or enjoy. There are groups on social media such as Facebook where you can trade players/ characters/ cards in online communities.

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