What’s a Toniebox
If you’ve not heard of a Toniebox before then check out my blog post here, which will tell you all about this fabulous audio technology for children. In short, it’s an audio device that children can use independently to listen to stories, topic themed facts and music. The design is such that it’s supremely tactile, safe for little hands and easy to navigate by my 3 year old on her own!
After incredible success across Europe, tonies have arrived in the UK. They’re set to be one of the most sought after items on the Christmas wish list for 2019. Since launching in the UK they continue to be busy adding to their fabulous collection of Tonies. They’re also available across Europe and the US too.
Tonies are the little characters that you place onto the Toniebox that launch the media. You can even purchase Tonies called Creative Tonies that allow you to upload your own content! Tonies have an exciting collaboration with Disney and this August saw the release of Jungle Book and The Lion King Tonies – we were gifted these items to review. Both of these have been immensely popular with my little one who’s a real book worm and loves stories.
Getting Educational Value from your Toniebox
Rather than a simple review of these two new Tonies characters that retell the classic stories and have music from the films. I wanted to let you know how we use these in our home to learn through play. I’d love to hear other ideas you have, feel free to leave a comment or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small World Play and Story Sacks
The Toniebox adds extra sensory experiences to small world play set ups. Hearing the audio and having music to accompany the story can really help to bring stories to life. It’s interesting to see what words and phrases children pick up and adopt in their play. Being able to listen to the audio allows children to do hands on learning with the play resources available to them too.
Comprehension questions become more easily understood with concrete objects to help. While listening to the story, you could ask, what do you need in your world? Who are the characters? Where is it set? What props could we gather? You can easily pause the Toniebox by removing the character from the top to be able to talk about the story at different points.
Tonieboxes can be used as part of a story sack too. Here’s a link to how I set up story sacks. Incorporating the Toniebox with props from a story sack can be really helpful as you don’t have to concentrate on holding the book and turning pages. You can give your full attention to supporting your little one to engage with the story.
Tonies Dance Off
Lots of the story Tonies have songs before or after the audio story. You can also get Tonies with songs too. We love having discos and dance offs. It’s a great gross motor activity developing co-ordination and strength. We also love using the Toniebox to play musical statues. It’s really easy for one person to stop the music by removing the character from the top of the box. Floss loves to be the DJ in charge!
Arts & Crafts
Being able to immerse oneself in a story not only through its words but also through making and creating helps to embed the story in the minds of children. Building up a bank of characters, settings and story plots is essential for becoming a writer of stories. Making characters and scenery from the book while listening to the story aids in committing these characters and scenes to memory. The great thing about audio is you don’t have to focus your visual attention on it. Being able to listen and do is a really important skills that children develop in their early years. Opportunities to hone these developing skills is extremely beneficial.
Rest, Relaxation and Self Regulation with Tonies
Teaching our children how to rest and relax are crucial mental health protectors in this busy world we live in. Being able to enjoy an audio book and recharge our busy minds, or dancing and singing to your favourite songs are just as important skills as reading and writing. I hope to introduce a plethora of strategies to our daughter to help her find the time, space and enjoyment in relaxation; the Toniebox is one of these tools. A self directed one, that she is able to access independently.
Often, if Floss is tired or a little out of sorts, she will seek out the Toniebox and find herself a quite space to listen to her songs and stories. She now does this independently and you’ll usually find her snuggled up on the sofa with a cushion and a blanket in tow. The perfect gadget to help with self regulation of emotions. Often I’ll go and snuggle up with her, if she wants me too. There’s nothing better than listening to stories together all cuddled up.
Afternoon Tonies Tea
Another way we enjoy using the Toniebox is having a story over afternoon tea. We love afternoon tea. Whenever we are at home we always stop at some point mid afternoon for tea and a snack. It’s a real ritual, a marker in the rhythm of our day. A time to come together. Sometimes we chat, others I read from books either stories, non-fiction or poetry, but a couple of times a week I use the Toniebox for stories. Sometimes as parents you just need a rest and a few minutes to drink a cup of tea!
One of the many things I love about audio books is that it exposes children to a range of voices from around the world. I think it’s incredibly important for children to hear stories read from a range of people. Creative Tonies are wonderful for this as you can get anyone to read a story that your little one can play. Recently, our daughter had to have an operation and her family and friends recorded stories on their phones that I was then able to download onto her Creative Tonies. These are certainly her treasured stories now. Would be a lovely idea for relatives who live a long way away.
Finally, bedtime. We are a family of bookworms and could probably open our own library, so in no way would we be completely replacing books, certainly not at bedtime. However, audio books are great to help aid a calm bedtime routine. For some children a story or songs at bedtime really help them to unwind and relax. Unlike when you are reading a story, you don’t need to have light to be able to continue the story with a Toniebox and the Toniebox will also turn off on its own too. The prefect bedtime companion.
Buying Toniebox and Tonies
We were gifted a Tonie starter box and several Tonies. We have also purchased numerous Tonies and Creative Tonies ourselves as we have really enjoyed the product and get a lot of use out of it daily. I think it’s the fact that Floss can have such autonomy over it herself that is very appealing to her. Also, she loves the fact she can ‘play’ with the Tonie characters in any way she chooses off the Tonie box too.