With Nola's birthday 5 days before Christmas (highly inconvenient, yes) we have turned our heads towards looking at presents that she may like. Nola is a fidgeter, she is always doing something, normally at speed. Even falling to sleep she is so wiggly and fidgety right until her eyes close. I thought an audio story devise would maybe help her settle a little easier. A friend of ours has a different brand of story box which we had played with but when I looked further into getting one I found Yoto. I was drawn to Yoto, I liked it's simplicity, how much smaller it was (without being hard to handle) and that there wasn't much 'stuff' (that for us wouldn't really be used and would be awkward to store) that came with it.
I put up a poll on Instagram between Yoto and another player and oh my, my DMs filled up with questions about the Yoto. Obviously, at this point I knew nothing so asked Yoto themselves so I could feedback. I was thrilled when Yoto asked me to try it out myself, so here is my review...
What is this Yoto you speak of? So, a Yoto player is a screenless (It does display a cool little pixel image to represent the time/setting/ story etc) audio player controlled by cards (that are like credit cards - super robust for curious hands) or through the app. It is super safe for kids having no camera, no microphone, no ads and easy to use parent controls - being able to set a max volume is a life saver for us, Nola likes her music LOUD . The Yoto Player is super easy to navigate with just two buttons that press or twist, Nola is still practicing, Ez (5) and B (10) sussed it within 10 mins.
One of the key points for me, when choosing the Yoto, was that the design as well as the card content could grow with Nola. The current library currently holds titles from the likes of Julia Donaldson to Roald Dahl. A super sweet feature is the 'make your own' cards. You can download mp3 audios or record yourself reading a story. Imagine, working late but your kiddo still being able to hear you read a story, or maybe family who live far away being able to send a message and a story. Maybe (god forbid) we have another lockdown, Nanna can record her childhood favourite for some sweet bedtime listening. I honestly nearly cried at the idea. We have a Nanna and two Aunties giving ours a go at the minute and we were super pleased that it is pretty fuss free. Nanna (for e.g.) just has to record herself on her phone, using whatever recording app she already has and then send it to me. Then I just add it to a 'make your own' card using the app. So straight forward. Also, these cards can be added to or reused super easily. The only tricky thing is that the 'make your own' cards all look the same so it is hard to tell which is which unless you label it. It would be great if you could choose from a selection of prints when you buy...or even customise.. A photo of Nana on Nana's card (I am not sure Nana would be too impressed there though!). A little sticker or label will do for now though.
The extra features are what take the Yoto to another level for us. Can you remember Groclocks? So, similar to that you can set a night and day time with visuals that show on the screen letting your small know when it is time to sleep and when it is wakeup time. Also, flip your Yoto Player onto its front and on comes a nightlight (which you can customise in the app - obviously Nola chose the lilac option). B and Ez (and I) love listening to the daily podcasts and Nola loves dancing to the Yoto radio (a selection of music, new and old, from a range of genres all suitable for little ears). Using the app you can allow a Bluetooth connection so that you can play music from your phone too. The app library allows tasters of cards as well as access to free material. In comparison to other kids audio speakers, the cost of the cards are much more affordable as well as, the option of buying packs of selected cards and saving on your overall cost. (The initial price of the speaker is a fraction higher but once cards are purchased the Yoto becomes a more affordable option).
Overall we LOVE Yoto and would highly recommend one, ours has been a game changer for getting Nola to sleep at night. We now read to her, then she cuddles up with a teddy to listen to her story and she actually relaxes and lays still! I think our bedtime meditations really helped established the new routine so I would also recommend this card! We have also taken to having the radio on in the background when painting or popping on the podcast at teatime.
Visit www.yotoplay.com to get your mitts on one!
Yoto Player and cards kindly gifted