Toniebox review: Our preschool tester fell in love with this screen-free kids’ music player

Is the Toniebox worth it?

Whether you’re watching a movie, doing homework on a computer or video chatting with grandparents across the country, our daily lives are inundated with screens. While technology is a necessity for everyday life, parents everywhere are searching for small ways they can entertain and educate kids without a screen.

The Toniebox claims to be a screen-free listening experience that encourages kids’ imaginations without the use of overstimulating, flashing screens. Parents can feel comfortable letting their young children operate this music box independently, as it has safe parental settings and tactile play controls perfect for little hands. Plus, its portable design is convenient for taking on the go.

To see whether the Toniebox lives up to its claims, we put it to the test. Here’s what we found.

Testing the Toniebox

We asked a parent to test the Toniebox for several weeks and utilize each feature. While our tester had no prior experience with children’s music or storytelling speakers, their child was familiar with the Toniebox characters and songs.

What is the Tonie box?

According to Tonies, the Toniebox is your lovable storytime friend. It’s a screen-free music and storybook player without flashing lights and unsightly buttons. The soft and squishy cube encourages cuddly playtime and learning.

Unlike a Bluetooth speaker or smart speakers, which have access to thousands of songs and audiobooks, the Toniebox only lets children access specified songs and stories with their favorite Tonie characters. Plus, parents have access to additional control settings in the app, such as maximum volume and access rights. The Toniebox is designed to be a low-tech listening device kids can manage independently while eliminating parental uncertainty and worry.

Toniebox price and where to buy

The Toniebox is available on Amazon. It retails for $99.99.

How to use the Toniebox

The Toniebox requires a quick and straightforward setup to connect to Wi-Fi and the Mytonies app. You’ll need to set up a Mytonies account, which is necessary if you want to create a personalized Creative-Tonie. Setup took us less than 10 minutes from start to finish. The Toniebox has up to seven hours of battery and comes with an easy-on, easy-off charging station.

Controlling the Toniebox is intuitive and kid-friendly. You can increase the volume by pressing the tall rubber ear and decrease it by pressing the shorter ear. Patting the side of the music box will skip a track, while tilting it left or right will rewind and fast-forward. The tactile play controls are suited for children of all ages and offer a sensory experience.

To choose the songs or stories, simply place one of the hand-painted, magnetic characters called Tonies on the top of the cube. For example, a Paw Patrol Tonie plays the show’s theme song and an engaging story, while the Cookie Monster Tonie plays songs children are familiar with from Sesame Street.

When purchasing the Toniebox, you can choose between several different colors or begin with a starter set. Each set comes with its own variety of Tonies that feature between 15-60 minutes of content, and you can also purchase individual Tonies separately. Examples of available Tonies include characters from “The Little Mermaid,” “Pocahontas,” “Toy Story,” “The Lion King” and more. There’s also a Creative-Tonie that allows you to record your own songs or stories.

Toniebox benefits

Aside from a cool aesthetic, we loved how many Tonies there are to choose from and appreciated each figure’s stories and music options. In our experience, the Toniebox is an excellent screen-free entertainment option that will help children learn independence. Parents never have to worry about what their kids are listening to with the control settings included.

Its portability is one of the highlights of the Toniebox and the main reason this device quickly became our favorite toy. Whether our little one was eating breakfast, putting on shoes, playing outside or in the car, the Toniebox went everywhere with them. It doesn’t need Wi-Fi after the initial setup and has a headphone jack for quiet listening with headphones.

You can tell the company created the Toniebox with children in mind. From durability to ease of use, it’s entirely kid-friendly. Our Toniebox even took an accidental tumble outside and survived with no issues.

Toniebox drawbacks

One of the most significant drawbacks is the lack of a Creative-Tonie in the starter set. We recommend choosing a starter set with a Creative-Tonie or purchasing one separately, as it’s an excellent feature. While we think the sound quality is suitable for a children’s speaker, it doesn’t rival a high-end speaker, and we wished the volume went louder.

A few users had trouble connecting it to their specific router. While it wasn’t our experience, it’s something to keep in mind. The Toniebox currently only has Tonies available in English and German, which we feel can be improved. Also, keep in mind that each Tonie has less than an hour of content.

Should you get the Toniebox?

Overall, we believe the Toniebox lives up to its claims of being a screen-free storytelling and music device easy enough for children to operate independently. This cute kids’ speaker is intuitive, fun and grows with your child as their tastes change and mature. Based on our experience, we recommend the Toniebox to anyone with children, especially those looking for screen-free entertainment to encourage children’s independence.

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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