Toniebox and Tonies: Bringing Story Time Back
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Before everything closed down at the beginning of 2020, I used to take my kids on playdates to the library for storytime. My girls would have so much fun singing, dancing, and listening to the Librarians read stories. Due to closures and social distancing play dates moved to zoom and there have been no more library storytime play dates. My girls miss these library play dates.
No matter how hard I try I cannot seem to replicate the experience at home, but during The Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite @ Home event, my oldest daughter and I found an educational toy that has provided a perfect substitute, and a toy they absolutely love and use every day. (You can read my review of 2020’s Sweet Suite @ Home event HERE.) I am of course talking about the company Tonies, and their Toniebox and Tonies! Below is my review of Toniebox and Tonies, and why my kids and I love them so much.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Tonies, and contains Tonie affiliate links. My family and I did receive a Toniebox and Tonies in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What is a Toniebox and Tonies?
In short, a Toniebox and Tonies are a screen-free educational toy. A Toniebox is a colorful squishy portable speaker, and a Tonie is a hand-painted and magnetic figurine that when placed on the Toniebox plays music and tells stories. But while that is the short of it a Toniebox and Tonies are so much more.
How Do They Work?
Using a Toniebox and Tonie is actually pretty simple. You will need to create an account on Tonies.com or download the Tonies app to your phone to set up your Toniebox. I set up my account online and then downloaded the app, but I want to say set up took about 5 minutes and was super easy. You must have Wi-Fi, but parent’s also have control of the Toniebox via the app to adjust volume, etc.
The setup instructions were very simple and easy to follow. As for how your Toniebox and Tonies work they are just as simple and easy to use. The Toniebox comes with a charger, but once charged you can take your Toniebox on adventures. (Up to 7 hours of battery life.) You place your Tonie on the Toniebox, and you can tap the sides of the Toniebox to move forward, tilt the Toniebox to fast forward or rewind, and press the ear buttons on the Toniebox to raise or lower the speaker volume.
Tonies are where the magic happens. There are so many different Tonies to choose from. (Over 50 Content Tonies right now.) Each Tonie is different and plays different songs and tells different stories. There are Disney Tonies like Cinderella, Finding Nemo, Frozen, etc. There are also Tonies that sing nursery rhymes, or one’s that tell stories like The Gruffalo.
Now, while my daughter loves the content Tonies I love the Creative-Tonies. Why? Because you can record our own voice and load those files onto the Creative-Tonies! The easiest way to do this is through the Tonie app, and you can record up to 90 minutes of your own content. Once loaded your child can hear your voice whenever they put the Creative-Tonie on the Toniebox. Through the Tonie app, you can also invite others to download the Tonie app and give them permission to record onto your Creative-Tonies.
The Big Reasons We Love Tonies
It is so easy for kids to use the Toniebox and Tonies, and I love how it fosters imaginative play without a screen. My girls love to put their favorite Tonie, the little brown puppy who plays children’s songs, on the Toniebox during mealtime, and their storytime Tonies on right before bedtime. We also take time out during the day to put the puppy on and try and recreate the storytime we used to have at the library.
My 2-year-old even knows how to work the Toniebox and loves to pick her own Tonie to listen to. I love Creative-Tonies. Creative-Tonies are amazing for families. For us, this means when my husband is working late he can record a goodnight message, from his phone to the Tonie app, so our girls can listen to it before they go to sleep. The Creative-Tonies give individuals who are far away another avenue/chance to connect with their loved ones. I seriously could go on and on about how we love Tonies.
Where are Tonies products available, and how much do they cost?
Toniebox’s and Tonies can be found on Tonies.com, Target.com, BN.com, and Amazon.com (Affiliate link) Cost wise the whole Tonie system is not bad. Individual Tonies cost $14.99 and Creative-Tonies are slightly cheaper at $11.99. Right now on the Tonie USA website, a starter set that includes a Toniebox, 1 Creative-Tonie, and 1 content Tonie costs $99.99. Target is having a sale where for $99.99 you can get a Toniebox and 3 free Tonies. (This includes Disney Tonies. The Target website says the sale ends on 10/14/2020.)
On Amazon, you can get a Toniebox, 1 Content Tonie, and 1 Creative Tonie for $99.99. (I will note Barnes and Noble is more expensive when it comes to Tonies. 1 content Tonie costs $17.99.) I am going to say it. Tonies are worth it. I am not a person who likes to spend a lot of money on toys. Tonies are worth every penny you will spend on the system. Personally, content Tonies will be going on my girl’s Christmas lists and probably in their stockings.