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 around four years now and Yoto Player and Mini for over two years.
As of 2024 I’ve started a Facebook group where I will be sharing lots of tips and free content for audio players including Tonieboxes and Yoto Players – you can join the group here.
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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.
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 and Toniebox discount codes
Where to Buy Yoto Player and Yoto discount code
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 four years and recently added a Yoto Player to our collection (over two years ago). 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 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 six, 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. Tonies have a range of accessories for their box both in the home and on your travels. Find out more in my blog post here.
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.
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.
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.
Yoto Mini Player
If you’re mainly going to be using the player out and about it might be worth considering Yoto Player’s Yoto Mini. We’ve had our mini around 2 years. We got this mainly as my daughter loves anything miniature and being able to take her toys around in little bags and baskets everywhere.
We’ve also found The Yoto Mini essential when we’ve had hospital stays and lots of hospital appointments. It’s small enough to pop in my bag and I love that I can use the app to play content from my phone onto the player.
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. Although, as I’ve mentioned you can play cards from your library from an app on your phone without needing the card.
Saying that, we’ve travelled with our Tonie Box lots over the last few 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 like the fact we were in control of what our daughter could listen to and wouldn’t accidently stumble on content we were unaware of.
Yoto do have Yoto radio which can be accessed from the Yoto when connected to the internet. It’s not a feature we’ve used. Lots of families love the new content and music available on the radio.
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. Note that for Tonieboxes the Tonie Creative characters are limited to 90 minutes of audio. If you’re looking for more then Yoto is the player for you. You can find fee audio content here.
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. A quick update (December 2023) to say that both players are still used daily in our home and I don’t see that dwindling anytime soon. To think I thought they might be a fad that she’d be over by Boxing day – how wrong I was!
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. Tonie are now starting to introduce some more meatier content but Yoto are still ahead on this front.
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 prefers non-fiction texts to fiction then Yoto has a much bigger selection of non-fiction titles including activity cards. We particularly love the Flags of the World card.
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.
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 have more new releases. They also have Yoto Club that we are a member of. Yoto have podcast cards that are from £2.99 and stories, music and activities start from £4.99. They also do many bundle offers. Therefore, if ongoing costs are an important factor for you then a Yoto Player might be your preferred choice.
The Yoto Club has recently been updated. It’s still only £9.99/ month or you can pay annually at £99/ year. Lately, I’ve been questioning out Yoto Club subscription. You can find my full thoughts here on whether I should continue my membership subscription.
Story Box Top Tip
My top tip is to carefully take the player (either Tonie Box or Yoto 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 and Toniebox discount codes
Where to Buy Yoto Player and Yoto discount code
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.
I’m very happy to answer any specific questions you have. Just drop me a message in comments or send me an email to email@example.com.
I’ve just started to add some of the questions I get asked by readers like you. You may find these further insights helpful. I’ll add more as I publish them. First up:
- Yoto Vs Tonie Player – Disney Content – Creative Tonies and Make Your Own Cards – FAQs – too much Disney content?
Finally, 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.