The Toniebox first arrived into our house back in early 2020 when my kids were aged 15months, 3 and 5. I have been singing it’s praises since the day it arrived and my kids have collectively gotten endless hours of fun out of it. We have gathered an amazing collection of Tonies over the years that the kids love. In a world where tablets and screen time are so prevalent for young kids, audio players are such a lovely screen free alternative. Audio players encourage kids to use their imaginations, boost their vocabulary and encourage a love of stories. During the Summer my two older boys were keen to get audio players for the car/travel to listen to stories. I like the independence having their own audio player gives them. As they get older my kids want to listen to completely different things, and one Toniebox was not longer cutting it! The Yoto player was not on my radar back in 2020 when we first bought our Toniebox. When I started to research the two over the Summer, I actually felt the Yoto Mini was a better option for my now older boys (aged 6 & 8).
Both audio players offer unique ways for children to engage with stories, music, and educational content. Below I compare the Toniebox and the Yoto Mini Player, highlighting their respective pros and cons to help you make an informed decision on what the best option might be for your child and family.
- Interactive Storytelling: The Toniebox employs physical figurines called “Tonies” that children can place on top of the box to start a specific story or song. This hands-on approach enhances children’s engagement and independence. From an early age I think the Tonie is a great way to teach much smaller kids about cause and effect when the put the Tonie on and off the box. The Tonies themselves can also be played with and used in small world play.
- Sturdy Build: Toniebox is known for its robust and child-friendly design. It can withstand drops and rough handling, making it suitable for even the youngest users. The Tonie characters themselves are robust and more substantial than the Yoto cards – making them suitable for much younger kids and toddlers.
- Offline Play: Once the content is downloaded onto the Tonie, it can be played offline, making it an excellent choice for on-the-go entertainment during car rides or flights.
- Wide Content Library: Tonie offers a diverse range of content, including classic fairy tales, songs, nursery rhymes, educational stories, Disney and even customizable content where parents can record their own stories. Although initially the Tonie characters were geared more for younger kids, the Tonies library is always expanding and titles for older kids are now also available, including some of the Roald Dahl stories which my kids love.
- Price: The Toniebox and the Tonies can be relatively expensive, especially when building a collection of figurines. I recently had to replace my Toniebox (as it died) – I paid €52.50 for my first Toniebox in 2020, they are now €89.99. Do keep an eye out as Eason often have discounts on them.
- Content Costs: While some content is free, additional stories and songs typically come at an extra cost. The Tonie characters themselves have also gone up in price quite a bit over the years and now average at €16.99 per character.
- Audio Quality: The Toniebox volume can sometimes vary depending on what Tonie is being used. Sometimes the volume can be quite low at times which can frustrate my youngest when his brothers are talking!
- Size: When compared with the Yoto Mini, the Toniebox is considerably bigger to carry when travelling. It depends on your planned use. If you plan to mostly use it at home, this won’t really affect you. If however you travel loads, it is awkward to fit in your handbag or backpack and it the charger is large and specific to the Toniebox (vs the Yoto which can be charged with a USB C wire)
- Battery: battery life of 7 hours on a full charge which is ideal for around the house, but if travelling means you need to bring the charger (As compared to 20 hour battery life on the Yoto Mini).
The Yoto Mini Player
- Interactive Cards: Yoto Mini Player uses physical cards with NFC technology to play content. Children can insert cards into the player to start stories, music, and more, fostering hands-on learning.
- Parental Controls: Yoto provides an excellent app that allows parents to monitor and control the content their children have access to, ensuring age-appropriate material. You can also see what your child is listening to. The Yoto app is really comprehensive with lots of great features.
- Expandable Content: Yoto frequently adds new cards and content to its library, keeping the device fresh and engaging. There is a huge range of cards available for all age groups. The library has a more extensive range of books and stories suitable for older kids when compared to the Toniebox.
- Daily Podcasts and Sleep Radio – Free daily Yoto podcast, Yoto radio and selection of audio content via Yoto app.
- Battery Life: Lasts up to 20 hours on a full charge.
- Portability: The Yoto Mini Player is compact and portable, making it a great companion for travel and easy to throw into a backpack.
- Charging: The Yoto Mini can be charged with any USB C cable – which means it can be charged on the go (and in the car).
- Price: The Yoto player comes in cheaper than the Toniebox retailing at €69.99. The cards themselves start at €3.99 and can also be bought in sets meaning they work out cheaper.
- Controls: The controls are the Yoto can take younger kids a little longer to get the hang of when compared to the Toniebox. Yoto recommend the device for children 3 and up. Placing the cards in and out of the player is obviously a little more fiddly than a Toniebox – so again, not suited for very young children.
- Rewind/Fast Forward: There are no rewind or fast-forward buttons on the Yoto Mini – but you can skip and move between chapters.
- Cards are easier to lose: But….if you do you lose a Yoto Card you can either play the content from the Yoto app on your phone or upload it to a Make Your Own Yoto Card either (in order for this to work you need to have played the card once before so that it’s stored in your app). In contrast when or if you lose a Tonie it’s gone forever.
In conclusion, both the Toniebox and the Yoto Mini Player offer innovative ways to engage children with audio content. Your choice may ultimately come down to your child’s age, preferences, and your budget. The Toniebox is known for its physical interaction and durability, while the Yoto Mini Player excels in educational content, more titles for a greater age range and is more portable. Ultimately, both devices provide valuable opportunities for children to learn and be entertained in a screen-free manner, making them excellent choices for tech-savvy parents seeking quality audio experiences for their little ones. For longevity, the Yoto player probably comes out on top for us. It’s a device that grows with your child and will stand the test of time. We still have lots of love for our Toniebox and we bought a replacement one during the week as we have an extensive collection built up that my 5 years old loves to listen to.
All views are my own – I purchased all products covered in the post above myself. This post is not an ad or affiliated in anyway with Toniebox or Yoto. Just an objective view of our experiences.
Where to purchase:
If purchasing a Toniebox keep an eye out on Eason – as they are sometimes on sale. The characters make great little gifts if family members are looking for ideas for birthdays.
When I bought my Yoto Mini Players I bought them from the Yoto website. I searched the internet far and wide and found a 10% off code online that I used. You can use my ‘refer a friend code’ ‘LL-1AHJKAY5’ to get 10% off your first order. Yoto have a refer a friend policy where you can earn points to use against purchases in the online store. You also earn points everytime you make a purchase, or if it’s your birthday!