The Yoto Player is the 21st century response to the tape player or vinyl. In equal measures nostalgic and innovative. It is one of a few recently launched audio technologies for children which celebrates oral storytelling.
The Yoto Player itself is a compact but sturdy and made from plastic. It has a rubber bottom to help with the impact of any clumsy slips or drops from little hands, and the pixel display on the front is entertaining for children and nostalgic for parents (who may remember pixelated games from their childhoods).
The audio controls are intuitive enough to use (both myself and my son managed straight away without needing the instructions.) The sound is also fairy decent without becoming overbearing for children.
It comes with a magnetic charger which connects to the charging point with a satisfying clink and you also have a European adaptor in the box (for trips abroad hooray!) You can use the Yoto Player straight out of the box (whilst charging) and when fully charged it lasts around 8 hours. The set-up is very simple. You download the app and follow the instructions to connect to your internet.
Once you are connected to the internet simply slip a pre-loaded card into the slot and the Yoto Player will download the content and play it. Get ready to listen to stories, interact with the audio game cards and enjoy and explore the free daily content that is available for Yoto (they have their own radio station and fresh content daily). Once the stories have been downloaded, you can disconnect the Yoto Player from the internet and take it with you on adventures (on long car journeys or visits to friends and family). It also has a headphone jack meaning multiple children can enjoy different devices should they choose to.
Once the card is removed from the dock the content stops playing and children of all ages can easily slot the card in and out of the slot. The Young Londoner was delighted by having the power to change the content over when he removed the card, suddenly the Gruffallo would change to Charlie and the Chocolate factory and then on to Phonics.
There are a lot of cards available to purchase for the Yoto Player. These can be found on the website and cost varies from £4.99 per story (a similar price to audiobooks) They also organise the cards into age appropriate content and have music, games, podcasts and books available.
The Yoto player has 140 hours worth of space so you can download a variety of content to enjoy at your leisure.
Our favourite stories were the Dinosaur who Pooped series – primarily because it involved a dinosaur and poo which fascinate this young Londoner. I was also very impressed with the phonics feature which encourages children to pronounce certain sounds and begin their journey towards learning to read (always a bonus to have an entertaining toy that is also educational and aids development).
I also like to think that using the Yoto Player develops listening skills (and most preschoolers need to improve their listening skills.) Developing a love of literature is important from any age and the Yoto Player certainly encourages this. The Yoto Player record your own cards means you can personalise the content you listen to (or send a special someone a voice message or a sing-song). We’ve read books aloud together and recorded them to listen to on the create your own card. It has been fun.
And the cards are easy to store – you can buy a Yoto card storage case which is basically similar to CD cases and presents the cards in child friendly secure way.
The Yoto Player is £79.99 and can be purchased via their website here.