Because I’m so into audiobooks, I’m always paying attention to new platforms that make it simple to listen.
About a year ago, I started hearing about the Yoto Player and every time it popped up, there were just RAVES about it.
Finally, this year, I mentioned I wanted to try it out and I got a FLOOD of messages from people who absolutely loved theirs.
We love ours!!! The girls pick a book to listen to after we are done reading at night. They usually fall asleep to a meditation, book, or music! And they just launched some Disney stories. We will also use it all throughout the day.
We have a Yoto Player and love it! I am weird about having Alexa type devices around the house. This is the perfect way to listen to audiobooks but one of our favorite things is the podcast each morning. They share facts, play little games, share jokes, and do birthday shout outs. It also has a music station which is like the best playlist shuffle ever.
WE LOVE OURS. Each of our three kids has one. We started with one, and each kid fell in love with the one and we ended up with one for each.
And that’s just a handful of the gushy reviews that I got – people REALLY love their Yoto Player.
After all these reviews, I ordered one to try out and my girls were instantly obsessed with it. They carried it all over the house and listened non-stop as they colored, worked on puzzles, ate meals and went to bed.
So. . . what is a Yoto Player?
All about the Yoto Player
Basically, it’s a little audio player that’s screen-free and microphone-free.
It has a slot in the top and you insert a card to listen.
You’ll (mostly) have to buy cards in order for your child to HAVE something to listen to (think of the cards like a CD or cassette tape).
There are several different kinds of cards for the Yoto Player:
They range in price from about $5-12. You can play some of the free materials (like podcasts) from the app on your phone through the player, but if you want your child to be able to listen without your help, you’ll want a card for it.
You can also get “Make Your Own Cards” and those let you program whatever audio you’d like on to them. So if you own audiobook MP3 tracks, you can create a card that lets your child just pop the card in the Yoto Player and listen at their leisure.
You can also record your own files, so if you want a grandparent to read aloud a story that your child can listen to repeatedly, you can do that too and then have it on a card.
(Audible files are designed to not be accessible like this, but the Yoto site says there are third-party programs that can convert them to a usable file. I haven’t tried this out, so I can’t vouch for it).
There is also a daily mini podcast that Yoto puts out with jokes and riddles and funny stories that you can play each day by just tapping the right-hand button on the Yoto Player.
Similarly, they have a music station that will play kid-friendly songs with the tap of a button.
One fun thing is that there is a pixel display on the front and when it’s playing, there are little images that go along with it. So, for instance, each chapter of Winnie the Pooh has a different image and that makes it simple for my 4 year old to tell me “I want the rabbit chapter” and I just spin the button through the tracks until it shows me a picture of a rabbit and I know it’s the one she wants.
You can use headphones with it and it has a charging dock so it can charge but then run on that charge for about 6 hours.
The cards also work without Internet, as long as you’ve popped the card in beforehand while it was connected, so you can take them on the go.
And the Yoto Player has a clock on the face if there isn’t a card playing and it has white noise/nature sounds if you want to use it as a sound machine.
Even more features? You can use it as a nightlight AND you can use it as a “time to wake up” clock where you can set the time that the clock switches from day to night (and vica versa) so your young children know if they can get up or if it’s still time to be sleeping.
Lastly, you can also use it just as a Bluetooth speaker, so you can stream anything from a phone or tablet to the Yoto Player without your child having access to a screen.
Basically, it’s just PACKED with awesome features, and they keep adding new ones.
And you don’t have to worry about scratching CDs or ripping cassette tapes or your child playing on a tablet when they’re supposed to be only listening to audiobooks.
The Cons of the Yoto Player
Of course, it’s not perfect.
It’s on the pricey side, for one.
The Yoto Player costs $100 which is a big deterrent for many families.
And you’re somewhat limited by the audio options they have available (and how much you’re willing to pay to add new books or music to your collection). You CAN add any audiobooks you own or library ones if you’re able to download them in an MP# format, but it’s definitely some work to get them transferred and cards set up for them.
Basically, you either have to pay for cards or spend a decent amount of time getting them set up yourself.
(In my ideal world, Yoto would have a library more like Scribd with lots of included audiobooks and you could just make cards of the books you wanted and then switch them to new audiobooks when you were done with them).
But overall, I think it’s the COOLEST device with lots of great features and very easy for kids to use without the temptation of a screen. I can see why people love them and my girls are absolutely hooked.
Do you have a Yoto Player? I’d love to hear what you think! And if you have any questions, I’m happy to try to answer!