Over the past year, kids have probably been spending a lot of time in front of screens, either to learn virtually on a computer or to keep busy in front of the TV while parents work from home. But what if there was a screen-free way to engage kids? That's what Tonies does. It's an audio entertainment system that keeps kids entertained independently while limiting screen time.
In the Starter Set, you get a five-inch Toniebox cube with soft padding on all sides. There's also a Creative-Tonie figure that is actually where you'll store your uploaded audio content, an AC adapter, and a charging station.
A parent will need to set this up over wifi, creating a free account to access Tonies content and settings. You can either use the free Tonie-App or the Tonies website. Once connected, you can upload audio content to the Creative-Tonie figure by placing the figure on top of the device and selecting which content to download. The included Creative-Tonie includes one song and one story to download, but you can also add your own music or customized audio recordings. By purchasing additional Tonies figures, you'll have access to even more songs and stories. For instance, a dog figure includes 40 minutes of playtime and action songs, while favorite characters, such as Woody from Toy Story and Ariel from The Little Mermaid, include almost half an hour each of unique audio play. Just place the Tonies on top of the Toniebox to start the content. Remove the Tonie to pause. Use the Toniebox ears to adjust the volume, tap the Toniebox side to skip back and forth between chapters, and tilt the box to one side to fast-forward or rewind.
While you need to use wifi to set this up and download audio content, simply playing with and listening to the Toniebox does not require wifi. Just put the device in "offline mode" so that kids can listen to their favorite content at home and on the go. The Toniebox has seven hours of battery life, 8GB of internal memory, and a headphone jack for quiet play.
We like that there is such a wide variety of content to choose from, featuring familiar songs and kids' favorite characters. We also like that you can upload your own audio content, such as a favorite song or a recording of a grandparent reading a bedtime story. Parents will really like that you don't need wifi to listen, and kids will love collecting the Tonies figures and even using them for imaginative, and still screen-free, playtime off of the device.
Tonies and the Toniebox are for ages 3 and up.
The Tonieboxes are available in several colors: red, blue, grey, pink, green, and purple.
When testing this out in a NYC office building, there was a lot of wifi interference. Our Toniebox kept losing connection, and it took a few tries to download the audio content. It has to be really close to the wifi signal.
It takes three hours to fully charge the battery.
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