AD – Review. In our house there isn’t a day go by without music and dancing especially with our little dancing queen Molly-May! With lots of friends and family in Germany I followed the journey of the Tonie-Mania for the last couple of years on Instagram and was delighted to hear that the Toniebox finally made its way to the UK too. This clever box full off audio fun is the perfect partner for children to enjoy hours and hours of fun. They can listen to popular stories, sing and dance along to their favourite songs or even hear a bedtime story from their loved ones, the Toniebox can do it all.
The Starter Set comes with a Toniebox, a Creative Tonie in the same colour with room for 90 minutes, so you can upload your MP3s, audiobooks or even narrate your own stories. A charging station to charge your Toniebox battery as well as an easy-to-understand instruction manual.
And you only need to follow a few simple and quick steps to get started:
Setting up a Toniecloud account over at my.tonies.com took less then 3 minutes and there you are able to adjust settings on the volume control, add all your Tonies into your library and invite others to come and join your Tonie household so they can upload audio to add to the Creative Tonies too.
There are two types of Tonies, a normal Tonie which has pre-recorded stories or music for example we received ‘The little Mermaid’ which has the story alongside 3 songs to listen to, and then there is a Creative Tonie which has up to 90 minutes for you to add your very own content for your child to enjoy. You can either upload audio via your Toniecloud account or you download the Tonie App which acts like a voice recorder so you can narrate your own adventures, tell your favourite stories or recored a special message. The app uploads the audio automatically to your Creative Tonie.
This is where the bilingual part comes to play and I can expand the library with all my old childhood classics like Pipi Longstocking, Benjamin Bluemchen, Bibi und Tina and many more alongside some brilliant Music Tonies with German kids songs.
It really is child’s play when it comes to using the Toniebox, the creators have put a lot of thought into it so even a younger child is able to use it with ease (the box is recommended from age 4+). To turn the box on all you have to do is press one of the ears and turning it off is even easier, if nothing happens for 10 minutes, the box switches off automatically.
Once you place the Tonie on top of the box the LED lights up green and your good to go if you want to pause your Tonie just take it off the box and when you put it back on, it will start again from the same place (as long as another Tonie hasn’t been placed inbetween).
The ears also double up as volume control (the small one is – and the bigger one +). To skip back and forth between chapters or songs, tap the box on the side. To fast forward or rewind, simply tilt the box to one side. If your Toniebox runs out of batterie the LED lights will turn orange and once its all charged up again its back to a green light.
You can check for new content after you taken off your Creative Tonie and squeeze one of the ears for three seconds. Let go when you hear a sound, and then put the Creative Tonie back on to listen to all the new stuff. LIVE FUNCTION: This is such a clever idea! With the live function you can record special messages on the app and add it to the Creative Tonie so when we are in Germany Daddy can record something for the children to listen to before bedtime. If the live function is on and we added Mr. C. to have access to the Toniecloud his message will play first thing when the kids put the Creative Tonie onto the box next. The kids especially do get homesick and she misses her Daddy a lot if we stay away for a couple of weeks each time so this is a perfect surprise for her to listen to and be reassured again that Daddy is missing her too!
A little Tip: If you don’t want the bluetooth on your Toniebox to run all the time you can press both ears for 5 seconds until you hear a signal and the LED light flashes blue. Then you press only one year until it flashes white and the box lets you know that the ‘Offline Modus’ has been activated. To turn it back on you simply press both ears again until the LED goes from white to green and the voice message ‘YOu put me back online’ plays.
The Toniebox has a decent battery life of 7 hours, so it is the perfect travel companion for the kids! With us visiting family in London every months and taking plane trips to Germany it might even replace the iPad in the long run (obviously only with use of some headphones) at least thats my plan!
And my favourite feature ever (and a pretty clever bedtime tool): Once the bedtime story has finished, the Toniebox will automatically turn itself off and go to sleep itself so I don’t have to creep in to turn it off myself!
What we thought about the Toniebox?
We have been using our new Toniebox for over 3 weeks now and Molly-May (and even Finn) are still smitten by it. I uploaded some of her big cousin’s cover songs from The Greatest Showman on it and her eyes lit up when she heard Harley sing and she dives right into dancing and singing along to his tunes. I also loaded up her Creative Tonies with some German audio books and even let her German Grandma and Godmothers recored some stories for her to listen to. This is great for her to keep the german language going all year around and I hope it will help her bilingual education! Initially I thought the price of £69.95 is a bit steep but considering you get a free Creative Tonie with the Box to get started (worth £11.99) and me seeing how much use we get out of it already, I do really see it as a longterm investment and it is defiantly worth it. Even if you already have a collection of audio books at home for the children, chances are that the children don’t listen to those often are pretty big, because its easy to forget. With the Creative Tonies their together in one place! It is easy to just switch stories after a while to whatever their favourite is and add to your collection with other Tonies at the same time. The Tonies who retail at £14.99 are a fantastic present to add to the children’s wish list for Birthdays or even Christmas (I am already eying up the Creative Tonie Father Christmas to buy and fill with lots of Christmas stories and songs!). Our Toniebox gives Molly-May the independency to choose any story or music to listen to, in her own terms without any help.
What could be improved about the Toniebox?
Despite there being a good library of Tonies in the UK shop available (and judging by the ever growing German collection there is more to come) it would be nice to see more pre recorded minutes on the Story Tonies whom compared to the German Story Tonies have less content. I also would welcome a control setting for the sound the Toniebox makes when you skip a song or tilt to fast forward/backwards especially when Molly-May has her indecisive 5 minutes what song she wants to hear! Other then that with the second point being a very personal opinion I think this is a fantastic compact audio system which will be loved for years to come in our house!
The multi award winning Toniebox (£69.95) comes in 6 different bright colours and a big variety of exiting Tonies (£14.99) and some really funky looking Creative Tonies (£11.99) – from Easter Bunnies to Grandpas and Fireman there is something for every taste, which you can check out over at www.tonies.com.
You can also head on over to my Instagram Highlights for some more detailed images about the product!
Disclaimer: I have been sent a Toniebox & Tonies for reviewing purposes, but all thoughts and opinions are mine.