Why We Love Yoto Player & How My Children Use It!
Are you considering getting an audio player for your child? Is your little one asking you to play content on your phone (music, stories, games), but you’re not keen on letting them be on the screen? Do you want them to be able to choose what they want to listen independently? If you’re looking for a gift that will keep your kids occupied and happy, look no further than Yoto Player. It’s a collection of inspiring audio that kids can control.
The Yoto Player is an exciting device that helps children learn through its cards and features. It’s perfect combination of fun, educational materials, and technology will keep your kids engaged for hours.
And because it’s screen-free, you can get back your phone while they’re playing–which means less screen time and more quality time with your kids. Yoto Player is also great for parents who want to get some work done without worrying about their little ones accessing inappropriate content online.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the features of the Yoto Player and discuss whether it is worth the investment.
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you; when you buy through the links, we may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks!
In this post:
- What is a Yoto Player?
- What I like about the Yoto Player – Benefits
- An important tip before gifting!
- How to set up the Yoto Player?
- How does it work?
- Our favorite cards
- The Yoto App
- What languages does it support?
- What is the difference between the Yoto and the Mini?
- Where to buy?
- Is the Yoto Player worth it?
What is a Yoto Player?
The Yoto Player is an audio platform built specifically for kids. The device has a dot matrix display that brings audio to life through music, stories, and activities. It is designed for children aged three and up and is a great way to encourage learning through play. It is screen-free but has a pixelated dot display, where you’ll be able to see an image of a chapter or a song – this way, children can identify what they are listening to with an image. Even if they can’t read, they’ll be able to make the visual association.
The Player comes by itself, but you can buy cards with exciting content. So much content is available in the Yoto store that deciding will take work. They have an extensive library of cards and keep expanding and launching new cards every few months. So it is highly stimulating! (In the US, they even have a Yoto Card subscription which is very interesting – I wish they had this in Europe).
The Yoto Player is big and sturdy, and it is best to be paired with its adventure jacket. It is a carry-coat for your Yoto Player. The jacket is made of silicone, which protects the device, and has a handle allowing the child to move it safely and freely around the house and take it where he wants.
It can be used as a night light. When you tilt it on a surface, it lights up with a dim soothing light that can be seven different colors. Depending on their mood, they may require one or another. (You can manage it from your app).
Additionally, I’ve read it can be used as a Bluetooth speaker if you need it to. We haven’t done this yet.
What I like about the Yoto Player – Benefits
Before I explain the in-depth features of the Yoto, I wanted to share a few of the things I like most. Of course, it’s a sneak peek at what comes next ;), but it might be helpful to gather a few key ideas together for you at this stage.
The Yoto Player is a fantastic resource to have around the house. We’ve had it around since July 2022, and it has been great. The children can choose whatever they want to play. When they have the freedom to select and explore what inspires them, there is no limit to what they can do.
There are many things to like about the Yoto, but I’ll name a few that are the most important to me:
- Allows them to be independent – They can choose freely whatever they want to listen to. They don’t need my help to do so. They can pop in a book card and follow the story by looking at the book by themselves. Or they can listen to music without me having to give them my phone. I love this!
- Helps them know when it’s daytime or bedtime – If your children tend to get up earlier than you would like, you can use the dot display to let them know if it is ok to get out of bed or not (even if they can’t tell time). They can visually see by themselves if it is daytime (sun) or if they should be in bed (moon). You can decide which time is which.
- Discover and explore other languages – My daughter has been showing interest in French, and I got her the “First words in French” card, which is lovely. It weaves French words into the story naturally and encourages children to repeat and say words out loud. It is wonderful. Of course, there is also a great range of French cards that we will tackle in the future if this keeps up.
- Child-appropriate content – Everything on Yoto cards has been carefully curated. You have stories, music, podcast with news (appropriate for children), science experiments, timers, and more. You don’t need to worry as everything has been designed with them in mind.
- No ads – There are no ads here of any kind. I love this.
- Yoto Daily Podcast – This excellent podcast is where we hear some news, jokes, games, facts, and much more every day. It is free and fresh each day. I highly recommend it. You can even listen to it on your phone.
- Make your own cards – You can make your cards. You can have grandparents record a story, record yourself playing a song, or add content from the app—an enjoyable way to personalize their experience.
Important tip before gifting!
Before buying a Yoto Player, consider the age of the child. The stories, games, and activities are designed for kids aged three and up, so make sure to check the age appropriateness before buying.
It also requires Wi-Fi to download the content of a card the first time. My advice? Open the box and download the content before gifting it to a child. They will be eager to get started and listen to everything they can. But each card can take up to 30 minutes to download the first time (depending on your internet connection – ours was horrible on the day). The first day was frustrating for them because of our lousy connection and because I had not downloaded the content before giving it to them.
That’s why I highly recommend you open the box, charge the Yoto, pair it with your Wi-Fi, and have it download at least a few cards before you gift it to your little one. Please learn from our mistake 😉
This is what you find when you unbox the Yoto. It comes in a cardboard box with a sleeve. On the sleeve and box you have the main information about the contents and the steps you must follow to get it going. You’ll also find the QR code to download the Yoto app from the App store.
Inside you’ll find the Yoto, the charging dock, a small booklet with information, and a Welcome card with information on how to get started. Once you open it, you must set it up.
How to set up the Yoto Player?
Setting up the Yoto Player is straightforward. The app will guide you all the way.
These are the steps you must follow:
- Download the Yoto App on your phone. The app is available on both iOS and Android and allows you to customize your child’s experience with the Yoto Player. You need it to sync your device to your app.
- Register and create an account. You will need to create it with your email address.
- Start the Setup process – the app will guide you through all the steps:
- Device selection: select the player type you would like to set up. Choose between a Yoto Player or a Yoto Mini.
- Turn on your Yoto Player and place it on the charging dock.
- Press and hold both buttons for 5 seconds until you see a 6-letter code. IMP! You must make sure all cards are removed from the Player during setup.
- Enter the 6-letter code from the front of your Player.
- Join Yoto hotspot to continue.
- The Player is connected to Wi-Fi and ready to use.
- Play cards – To play cards, you first need to place the card in and allow the content to download the first time. It can take up to 30 minutes per card – so it can be a bit slow. Place all your cards one after the other, and leave the Player switched on, idle, on its dock, and online overnight. (This is why I recommend doing this before you gift it). This will give your Player ample time to download all the content, and the cards should play seamlessly when you return to it.
If you see a cloud icon on display, the content still needs to be fully downloaded. It requires a bit more time and should be nearer to your router. This should speed it up.
How does it work?
The Yoto Player is an interactive device that you can manage through 3 main buttons (and your app). But the children will only work those three buttons.
The three buttons are:
- On-Off switch – On-off and pause (if you quickly press it once)
- Left button – Volume
- Right button – Chapters (going forward or backward)
You can program additional commands on your Right button through the app. For instance, we have it set that with a First Press, we hear the Yoto Daily, and with a Second Press, we listen to Yoto Radio.
The Yoto Player works with pre-loaded cards with stories, music, games, and educational activities; some are interactive. The cards are designed for different age groups and cover various topics. In addition, they are interchangeable and can be swapped in and out of the device as needed.
The content will still play if you place the card upside down or backward. So you don’t have to worry about your child placing it wrong – it will still play. This fact is excellent for younger children who might ignore this and put the card in the slot any way they like.
When they take the card out, it stops playing. And when you pop that card in again, it will start playing from a few seconds before you took it out.
I love that you also have access to all your cards at any time through your app. It is a life-saver on car trips when you are not carrying your Yoto – you can always access your content.
Additionally, you can play the content of a card that you might have lost. You can play it on your phone or ask it to play it directly on the Player without the card. This command is brilliant. You can even link the content of a lost card to a Make Your Own card – but more on this later.
Content goes from 3-year-olds to 12-year-olds with books, music, activities, podcasts, and more.
We store our cards in a card folder from Yoto. In the beginning, I just had the few we had in a box – but some got lost around the house more than once. After getting the folder, it has been much better, and cards don’t get lost as easily because we now have a proper place to store them.
Our favorite cards
After half a year of having the Yoto, we’ve built quite the collection. Birthdays, Christmas, and just because have been great excuses to get more cards. These are the ones that my children have loved the most:
- Calm it down – This card we play EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. They love it to go to sleep. It is soothing and relaxing piano music and a beautiful way to end the day. It makes bedtime easy.
- Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl – Read aloud fantastically by Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, and Miriam Margolyes. This book by Roald Dahl retells classic tales like Cinderella with a darker twist. Recommended for ages 5-8, but I’d encourage you to read the book first and see if it is adequate for your children. Read with caution. (But we love it!)
- Space Adventure – This card is a collection of actual audio recordings from NASA that are the perfect companion to your child’s “space play .” If yours are into rockets like mine, this card is excellent.
- Vehicle Quiz by Duplo: Although I wish this card were longer and had more options, my son loves it. It asks you questions about vehicles, and you can hear and see the answer when pressing the Right button. It is fun.
- Break the Mould – This card is the book from Sinéad Burke read aloud by herself. She is a disability advocate, activist, teacher, and author. It is lovely, and her story is inspiring—a way to celebrate the power of being different and the importance of believing in yourself. There is only one of you, and you can make a difference.
- The Smartest Giant in Town – Fantastic read-aloud of the classic by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler. We love their books (you can check this article here), and this one was not one of our favorites, but the read-aloud is so good. The music, the emotion, my children ask me to play it often – and they never choose it to read before.
The Yoto App
The Yoto app is the key to unlocking the full potential of the Yoto Player. The app allows you to control the settings of the Player, access a range of parental controls, access your library of cards or the store, and enjoy some free content or create your own cards.
You have tutorials on the app that will help you and guide you to unlock all the potential, but I have rounded up the features I find more valuable on the app:
Daytime vs. Nighttime
The Yoto Player has two settings: Daytime and Nighttime. The Daytime setting is designed to be more interactive, with stories and activities that will engage and entertain your child during the day. The Nighttime setting is designed to be more calming, with stories and music that will help your child relax and wind down in the evening.
You can personalize each setting with the following:
- The time when that setting should start
- Light color
- Display brightness
- Volume limit
- Right button shortcuts
The Yoto Player also features an alarm that can be set for regular reminders or specific activities. For example, you could set the alarm to remind your child to put away their toys or to read a book. The alarm can also be used to trigger certain activities, such as playing a game or listening to a story. The alarm feature is a great way to help your child stay organized and on track. Of course, we also use it to wake up in the morning.
In the My Library section of the app, you can access the following:
- Your cards – All the cards you have ever purchased and played on the device you can access here. You can listen to them directly on your phone or remotely choose the Player where you want that content played. Fab!
- Discover – The Discover section is fantastic. You have free content you can access that is very handy. You have Useful Timers (Toothbrush Timer, Tidy-Up Timer) that we use daily, soundscapes to accompany your child’s playtime, and some snippets of content from the store. On special occasions, like Christmas, they even share free content related to the season.
- Make Your Own cards – The Yoto app allows you to make your own cards with your own content. You can record stories, music, or even your own voice. You can also choose from a range of pre-made templates to create cards quickly and easily. We’ve created a card with the Toothbrush timer, and they love to use it. You can give each track a pixel art icon so they can identify what is playing on the display.
- Podcasts – Access a selection of podcasts with diverse content for your children. The Yoto Daily is fantastic with news, activities, facts, and more. Other podcasts you can find: Sleep Tight Stories, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Everyday Feels, Fun Kids Science Weekly, and so many more.
- Radio – Access Radio stations for children like BBC, Fun Kids Radio, and stations from different countries in different languages.
- Sleep Sounds – You have an entire library of noises to sleep, white noises, and even a Yoto Sleep Radio with a blend of soothing sounds and songs for bedtime.
What languages does it support?
From what I’ve seen, the content for Yoto is mainly in English and French. You will find a couple of cards in German and Spanish – but they are mostly to learn those two languages with their essential words.
If your child speaks German, I suggest you explore the Tonie Box. It is the most popular Player of this kind in Germany and has a lot of content in that language. However, I did not choose the Tonie Box because the content is in figures and goes up to 8 years old. Since my daughter is 7, I wanted a player with a content range beyond her age, and that would last longer, and I also didn’t want to have plastic figurines all around and preferred the cards.
What is the difference between the Yoto and the Mini?
We have both Yotos, and both are great. We gifted the Yoto to our youngest when he turned four, and he loves it. It’s the one we mainly use at home. It doubles as an extra nightlight, so we always have it near their beds.
We gifted the Mini to my eldest when she turned seven years old. It is much smaller, and you can take it around more easily. She takes it on car rides, listens to it in the garden, and shares it with her friends. You have the same number of buttons, and the display is very tiny, but it does what it should. Unfortunately, you don’t have the nightlight option here.
Both players can play all the cards. Both have jacks for headphones (but we have yet to use them). The Mini is slightly cheaper. So knowing where you want to use it more and for who it is might help you make the decision.
Where to buy?
The Yoto Player is available for purchase online from the Yoto website, as well as from Amazon.
Here are some links depending on where you are living:
You can purchase it directly from the US Yoto Store or the Yoto Store on Amazon. We got the player and the starter pack because it was a very good deal. It comes with 7 cards and my children enjoy the Songs from the Playground, Hotel Flamingo and the Make your Own card that came in the set.
If you live in any country in Europe, you can find everything from Yoto on their European website.
Here you have the link to Amazon Spain as well. If you’d want from other Amazon pages from other countries, please check on your parent page if it is available 😉.
Is the Yoto player worth it?
The investment has been totally worth it for us. The Yoyo Player is an excellent device for children of all ages. Both my children, ages 4 and 7, enjoy it. It is fun and engaging, and the content library is ever-expanding. It promotes child’s independence and helps them know the time, and has valuable resources like timers. The child-appropriate content, from ages toddlers to over 12 years old, offers music, stories, activities, facts, and games that give kids something to do when they are bored or just want to relax.
The Yoyo Player is also very easy to use. It has an intuitive interface that makes it simple for young children to navigate through the various features of the device itself. There are no ads, and it’s screen-free, which means it’s a great alternative if your child likes watching videos or playing games on their device while at home or out and about with you. Of course, when they ask for a screen, you can offer them the Yoto instead.
I’m delighted with the Yoto, and I hope our experience helps you with any questions you might have. If you want to ask anything else, don’t hesitate to let me know! (You can also DM me on Instagram @thefairyglitchmother – I’ll do my best to answer your questions).
We wish you a lovely day!
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