Aimed at young children but ultimately controlled by parents, the Toniebox is a simple, no-screens Wi-Fi enabled interactive speaker designed to tell audio stories to fuel your child’s imagination and appetite for literary adventure.
How does the Toniebox work?
Built to withstand the inevitable bumps and tumbles from kids, the soft-padded Toniebox plays the songs and stories available in the ever-expanding library of kids’ classics. Little ones can have hours of fun with Room on the Broom, Gruffalo and Stick Man, or Disney favourites such as The Lion King or Jungle Book – to name but a few.
The audio content is played via the interchangeable stick-on-top-of-the-speaker handpainted figurines called ‘Tonies’.
Tonies are hand-painted figurines of a character relating to their specific story or song. The sturdy and kid-proof characters come ready to play with pre-loaded audio adventures or music.
Simply pop them onto the Toniebox and let the story unfold. The top Toniebox has a built-in RF reader to detect exactly who’s standing on top. The correct audio story is then instantly downloaded from the Toniecloud and the content starts playing immediately.
There are also ‘Creative Tonie’, little figures that come blank for you to upload 90 minutes of your own audiobooks and adventures, stories, and songs, so it’s a chance to really get creative.
Creative Tonies are a lovely way of involving parents who might still be at work when their kids are going to bed. By prerecording a story on a Creative Tonie, your little ones can hear your voice as they go to sleep, on the nights you can’t be there. The Tonies are expensive to buy, but overall, I think this player is a wonderful idea and a great way to get kids involved in books to spark imagination without the need for screens.
What’s included with your Toniebox?
The Toniebox Starter Set retails at £69.95 and is available in seven vibrant colours you kids will love.
Inside the starter set is everything you need to get cracking:
- Charging dock
- Creative Tonie Figurine
- Instructions on how to set up your Toniebox
How easy is it to set up and use a Toniebox?
The Toniebox is pretty straight forward to set up once you have everything to hand. You’ll need your phone, tablet or desktop, Wi-FI network and password details, and the Tonie on the docking station. The easy-to-follow steps prompt you to input info from the base of the Toniebox, and in a matter of minutes, hey presto – you’re all set to go.
Getting a story started is easy, just place your Tonie character on to the top of the speaker, and control the volume by pinching the box’s ears.
Once the story has been downloaded in full, you can move between chapters by tapping the sides of the device, and you can rewind and fast-forward by simply tilting the Toniebox to 45 degrees. I love that you can personalise the controls via your Tonies account, choosing which way the box should tilt to reward and fast forward, with the option of turning off this capability completely if preferred.
Where can I listen to my Toniebox?
When you put a Tonie on the box for the first time, the audio content will download to the internal memory of the Toniebox, and the LED will turn solid green once it’s ready. You’re then able to play your device anywhere, without a Wi-Fi connection, so it’s brilliant for taking on car trips or holidays away.
The audio quality of the Toniebox is superb, and the speaker can be played quite loudly, so it’s the perfect garden companion when friends come over.
There’s a headphone jack to give you the option to plug in headphones, for those quieter times.
What do the kids think?
My three-year-old daughter takes her Toniebox up to her treehouse in the back garden and has spent hours listening to stories in the shade of the summer sunshine. She puts it on at nighttime in her bedroom and first thing when she wakes up in the morning. Since she’s been using her Toniebox, we’ve found she’s happy to spend time in her bedroom in the morning by herself, while we quickly shower and dress before the day starts (and on the weekends, we even get a little lie-in!).
To find out more and to get your Toniebox, head over to the Tonies website now.