Toniebox became insanely popular all over the world, as parents are trying to minimize screen time. After testing Toniebox along with other popular audio players, I do think that Tonies are the easiest to use for younger audiences and with expanding library of Tonies it suits even late elementary school children just as well as toddlers.
As usual, this is NOT a paid review. I bought all the Tonies and Toniebox with my own funds, so the review can be as unbiased as it can be.
What is a Tonie Box? What are Tonies?
The idea is simple. Tonie Box is a speaker box that can also connect with individual headphones. It has a magnetic top that connects with individual tonies.
What are Tonies? They’re little figurines that have stories or songs on them. When you connect a Tonie to a Tonie box, they can play the stories or songs, creating something between an audiobook or podcast.
A lot of the Tonies are focused on well-known characters like Paw Patrol, Disney, Peppa Pig, or Gabby’s’ Dollhouse, but there are also more traditional stories and an option to record your own tonie – a creative tonie. If you have an audiobook you like, it’s an opportunity.
You have to connect your Tonie to a wifi or app when you’re setting it up. Once it’s all set, every new tonie you buy will just automatically play and you will not need to be connected to WiFi to use the Toniebox after the initial install.
Tony Box is lightweight, padded, and has multiple options for carry cases if you’re planning on bringing the box to the car. The box will automatically shut off 10 minutes after it stops playing, saving the battery. The battery life is great – it works for about 7 hours.
It will also shut down when you remove a Tonie from the top of the Toniebox, the audio content stops. You can switching forward and backward a track by tapping on the side of the box and the ears control the volume. My little kids figured it all out, so it’s honestly super simple.
The best age for starting with Tony Box is between 3 and 6. You can start earlier at 2, but I noticed that my 2 year old prefers the singing tonies more, and story-based ones are often becoming a background noise while the kids play.
That said, we got the magnetic Tonie shelf to keep all the figurines in one place and because we thought it looked cool. It’s a great way to organize the Tonie toys!
Our Favorite Tonies:
There are Content Tonies which are pre-loaded with different songs and stories and Creative Tonies which can be filled with your own recordings.
When you first buy your Toniebox make sure to check out the “starter sets,” as they come with a Tonie box plus 3 or 5 Tonies included. It’s cheaper than buying the Tonies individually. I got the National Geographic starter set with 3 tonies and it saved me money.
I do think that Tonies can get addictive. We started with just a few tonies and now we have quite a collection. The boys were 2.5 and 4 when they first got theor Toniebox and apart from Paw Patrol that are popular since the kids are obsessed with Paw Patrol, some Tonies that I thought would be their favorites aren’t and vice versa.
My 2.5 year old is obsessed with the Terrible Tudors tonie from the Horrible Histories series and he keeps asking for “the bad guy” to be played. It’s definitely recommended for 7+ ages and I agree (I read Horrible Histories series mid-primary school), but he loves it. He prefers the educational tonies over more Disney and popular character ones.
My 4 year old always asks for Gabby’s Dollhouse tonie or the Storybots.
Amazon has a subscription option for new Tonies. It’s slightly cheaper than buying them separately (especially the special edition ones like Mythology that were more expensive) and a fun surprise for kids.
Other top choices of my kids are
Conservation Crew: Turtle, Panda
National Geographic Tonies: Whale, Penguin, Dinosaur
Dragons Love Tacos
Surprisingly, the Mickey Mouse tonies were a total fail. They tried them once and never wanted them again. The same thing happened with
As I said when comparing Toniebox to Yoto Player I wish that there were more options for language Tonies. There are some in German and French, but a lot of Spanish stories are basically the same story told in English in Spanish which gets repetitive unless a child is actively tapping on the box to find it (and let’s be real: if they can hear the same in English they would because why not).