What is a Toniebox?
The designers of the award-winning Toniebox wanted to create a way for children to experience storytelling in a digital age that stimulates their imagination while being educational and fun but also, and this was the main point, a screen-free experience. Basically, it is a cleverly designed hybrid between a musical speaker and a toy.
Designed for children aged 3 years + (I would say the ideal age range is 3-6) we received a Tonie Starter set (they come in 6 bright colours) which includes a Toniebox, UK mains docking station/ charger, 1 x Creative Tonie and setup/safety leaflets. No need for batteries and minimal wiring. RRP is £79.95. (For £15 OFF use our REFFERAL CODE rfz-uyg-vxy-vjy). Shipping is free over £25, and our Set arrived the next day. Toniebox offer a 100-Day Happiness Guarantee so if you purchase a Toniebox or Bundle you can return it within a 100-day period. There is also a 10% discount for email sign up email and check out the 4 for 3 Tonie deals and bundle sets.
NOTE: I like that when you add your Starter set to the basket up pops the options for which skin tone Creative-Tonie you’d like to accompany your box.
The brightly boxed Tonie is attractive looking in bright pink, made from sustainable cushioned fabric that is very usefully water repellent. The padded edges mean that it can take a bump or drop. Construction is robust and high quality, there is no sign of seams, and the top is magnetic (to hold the Tonie’s in place) and has a useful headphone jack. The Toniebox is 12cm and lightweight so is portable (boasting 7 hours of battery life post charge). I like that its design means Norah could throw it onto her bed without me turning grey and tuck it under her arm to walk about the house. Some parents use their Toniebox just for part of the relaxing bedtime routine but we tend to have stories/music on while Norah is colouring and playing. Did you know that listening to audiobooks helps improve literary skills and vocabulary?
NOTE: You can connect the Toniebox with multiple WiFi networks. This is great for kids that often stay in multiple homes.
Initial setup and mytonies App.
There are two ways to set up your Toniebox, using the mytonies App or my.tonies.com/setup. To complete setup, you will need a 2.4GHz WiFi connection, your Toniebox, and the Toniebox Charging Station. I won’t edit and paste the steps because that is what the website is for – here they offer a handy step by step video tutorial.
I find setups annoying, I break tech. This took me 10 minutes, I found it easiest to do through the App, after creating an account then going through the setup. Then your Toniebox is all setup and ready for Tonies! Place a Tonie on the Toniebox and it will begin downloading its content and the LED will begin blinking blue. Once your Tonie is finished downloading all of its content, the LED on the Toniebox will change to solid green and an audio chime will play. Now that Tonie can play even without a WiFi connection. We advise you use your creative Tonie first as they will explain how to use the Toniebox to you and your child.
NOTE: Have your Wifi password ready and consider setting up prior gifting to your kids otherwise they will be impatiently climbing on top of you.
The App (Free) is simple to navigate having only two pages – your personal menu and the shop which makes me feel in control of the content. Your page has your account info and search bar on the top left (with access to support and useful FAQ’s) then 3 accessible areas. The Tonie box where you can control the volume and light settings, the Tonies Library and free content area where you can personalise your Creative-Tonies.
The Tonie story characters.
There are 137 Tonie characters to choose from, retailing at £14.99 each, including Disney and Paw Patrol stories (the site offers content recommendations for 0-3/3-8/8+). It pays to review what each character contains before purchasing. Norah loves the Brave and Little Mermaid figures as not only do they have a story but some of the original songs from the Disney Classics. Tonies contain about 30 – 60 minutes of audio content. Pre-loaded content means NO adverts. Win. I also like the Narrators voices, they have been chosen well and are pleasant to listen to.
Creative-Tonies have up to 90 minutes of recordable space for you to upload your own content (stories from Grandparents? Perfect.) Or add to them the free content on the mytonies app. We have downloaded lullabies and fairy tales to ours. You can also send recordings to the creative Tonie using the app no matter where you are. What I love is that Norah has been playing with the figures as she would her other dolls.
NOTE: We have the £5 Ikea metal bookshelves and the Tonies magnets hold them in place, so put one of these at grab level for the perfect storage solution so they don’t get lost or bumped around in a box.
How easy is it to operate?
The Toniebox is designed FOR children. Norah thinks it looks like a cat – the grey ears on the top turn the volume up and down. Big for Up Little for Down. You tap Left to Skip Back and Right to Skip Forward a chapter. Tilting fast forwards the audio. Take the figure off to stop the story. By the way, considering it’s a device for children, the sound quality is top notch. It is a very tactile control method, great for children developing motor skills and something they can do independently. After 10 minutes of inactivity the Toniebox automatically turns off.
For me, that is why I would pay more for a Toniebox rather than a cheaper Amazon Speaker and Prime Music or Audible subscription as your child can hold, operate and interact with the box and the Tonies. Personally, the Toniebox is an ideal buy for younger children (3-6) as it encourages both listening, play and learning. The App is simple for parents, as is the child-focused design and operation. Because of this, we feel the Toniebox is a wonderful addition for your child’s playroom.
You can buy the Toniebox online on Amazon, the Tonies website or in stores.
A Toniebox or Yoto player?
If you’re on the fence about adding one of these devices to your home and can’t decide which one to get, here we’ll break down the unique attributes of each, and check out our Yoto review. Whichever player you choose, you’re likely to have lots of fun with the content and they really are a great screen-free way to keep kids entertained.
|Price £79.95 Character £14.99||Price £89.99 Card £5.99-£9.99|
|Battery Life 7 hours||Battery Life 10 hours|
|Creative Tonie||Make Your Own Card|
|137 Tonies play figures||1000 titles small cards|
|Completely screen free||Digital display with clock/night light|
|Soft cube/water resistant body||Solid plastic body|
|Touch control||Button control|
|Free App (simple features)||Free App (many features inc podcast/radio)|
If you are looking for a greater amount of content then Yoto is a good choice, having a larger variety of cards and free content. If you are looking for better child-friendly operation and design then Tonie wins, which also gets a bonus point for the multipurpose play characters. It’s hard to say which one is “better” and it really depends on the interests and attention span of your children. Perhaps for younger children or those with additional needs choose the tactile Tonie and if you have children of multiple ages in the house then a Yoto may be a better option.
#AD. We were kindly gifted the Toniebox for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.