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Yoto Player

(Yoto $99.99)

If you dislike handing off your phone or ipad to your preschooler to listen to music or stories, you're going to love the Yoto! The Yoto is a screen-free entertainment center for kids. It's a new speaker cube that can be used with total independence by kids as young as 3 and also enjoyed by those who are a lot older. It has a radio that plays popular and children’s music that they can tune into without your worrying about what else is coming on. The listening library plays on story cards with dozens of well-produced readings of classics like James and the Magic Peach and Treasure Island. Currently, the listening library includes stories by well-known children’s authors, many of them skew older, for kids 8 and up and this may be an appealing listening device for that age group. It's also a safe choice for younger kids with quite a few younger titles and you can add your own readings to the mix. Check out their listening library on the Yoto website.

You can also buy collections of classical as well as popular music cards. We especially like the idea that kids with a creative flair can use blank cards and fill them with their own singing, instrumental performances, or stories. Currently, the listening library includes many stories by well-known children’s authors generally enjoyed by kids 8 and up. For further listening, you can record music and stories in your voice that kids can enjoy when you are not there to read a bedtime story or sing a favorite song. There is no screen, although there are lights on the box that may be a comfort at bedtime. There’s also a clock that you can set up and some free content with the Yoto app. Designed with large dials, it’s easy for kids to adjust volume and skip forward/back. It's portable with a rechargeable battery and even supports Bluetooth. What our test family (both parents and 5-year old boy) liked best is the independence and power this new technology allows. Our kid tester likes to put a story or music card into the Yoto and listen while he builds or plays with his toys. This solo time has become a morning ritual that he and his parents enjoy.

Note: The Yoto is sold with and without cards on Amazon. You can select and order a selection of cards separately from them. The Yoto site has an offer of the player with a small pre-selected set of cards. You may prefer to pick your own starter set of cards.

Ages: Early School

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2020

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