My son’s just at the age he can start listening to stories on his own, but I’m not in a hurry to hand over my iPhone to keep him entertained. So I was intrigued to read about Toniebox, a new screen-free content box for little kids.

The Toniebox works with figurines — like the Little Mermaid, Nemo, Minions, classic non-Disney fairy tale characters like Rapunzel, and some very cute original characters — all of which you buy separately. (Unless they come as part of your starter kit.) When kids place a Tonie on top of their box, it plays a corresponding story or song.

So, for example, if your kid puts Woody on top, they’ll hear some Toy Story songs and original stories with familiar characters.

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Related: 5 of the best headphones for kids, perfect for online learning

The new Toniebox lets kids choose their own content using figurines of familiar characters.

The Tonies screen free entertainment center and music player for kids. Lots of licensed characters plus originals like this cute fairy

 

Parents can still control the box from an app on their phone, but I think the Tonies are a neat way to let kids have some agency over what they listen to. They can also adjust volume, skip, or rewind by using controls on the box itself. And of course, switch out their own Tonies.

Concerned that your kid will instantly lose their Tonie? The creators (both dads, duh) have made each one magnetic so they at least stand a fighting chance of staying put.

Parents can also record up to 90 minutes of their own content, which is a sweet way to relay family stories or songs, especially from a grandmother or uncle who’s far away.

Find your own Toniebox starter sets for around $99 on Amazon, along with tons of characters and add-on accessories like well-rated, affordable foldable headphones for kids. 

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