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Meet Tonies, The New Screen-Free Toy That Will Make Storytime Majorly Magical

Separating your kids from their screens just got waaaay easier.

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Raise your hand if you’re a parent who went into 2020 resolved to cut your kid’s screen time. Sure, you knew it would be an uphill battle, but you felt ready for the climb. And then … your analog-only parenting plans were thrown off a cliff.


Meet your parachute, parents. It’s called the Toniebox and it’s a smart speaker for kids that launched in the U.S. in September. Like a bunch of good-on-paper kid products out there right now, the brand’s big idea is to provide kids with hours of not-boring entertainment without using any screens. But unlike other products we’ve tested, tonies actually delivers, and it creates a magical storytelling experience for both parents and kids.

How This Kid-Thing Works


The Toniebox looks the part of a smart speaker, but with a kid-friendly twist — a magnetized figure, or "Tonie," that sits on top of the cube. Kids choose a Tonie and place it on top of the box to get a specific audio story experience. There’s a quick in-app setup that takes a grown-up about five minutes, and once that’s done, your kid (from age 2-ish up) can operate the box by themselves. Tilt the durable speaker to fast-forward or rewind, and squeeze the Toniebox’s ears to adjust the volume. And yes, there’s a headphone jack.

Why We’re Into It


Kids (especially little ones) like screens because they’re one of the few entertainment experiences they can control themselves. Tonies ticks the same box, but without all of the visual stimulation. It keeps your kid engaged with an awesome auditory experience, from music and sound effects to great voice actors. What we love about tonies is that the experience truly captivates kids of different ages and interests, simply through the power of story. The Tonies library includes toddler-right options such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and other lullabies, classics from the world of children's literature, and plenty of primo Disney content from Cars, Frozen, Toy Story, and more.

Extra Credit


This kid-thing earns extra credit at CAMP because of the "Creative-Tonie," a blank Tonie included with the Toniebox Starter Set that lets you record 90 minutes of your own content, using an easy app. It's perfect for family members you haven't seen in months to be able to share a special story or song from afar (grandparents love this). We also love the idea of doing a family "table read" of a favorite bedtime book, featuring different voices, sound effects, and music. And yes, you can use this to make up and record your own happy ending to 2020.

Get your Toniebox today!