Disclosure: We were kindly sent a Yoto Player and some of their audio books in exchange for an honest review. As always, all photographs and opinions are my own.
I’m a book lover. Ever since I was a small child once i’ve started a book i’ve not been able to put it down. Its a well known fact in our house if I get a book on the go it’ll be hard to prise me away from it. I’ve tried to instill that love of books and reading in the children too. In world where screen time is now at a high – compared to when I was a child and we had four tv channels and had to wait a week for the next episode of something – I think it’s more important than ever to be able to enjoy and immerse yourself in a good book.
I’ve regularly read to all the children, and we have HUGE collection of stories but out of all of them, Ottilie is definitely the most into her books – everything by the wonderful Julia Donaldson is a winner at the moment. It may have been a result of last years lockdown – when there wasn’t much to do (home learning aside) we could spend hours looking at books and reading to her. It has more recently become a thing at bedtime that we had to bribe her with one or two stories, otherwise she would have us there reading to her all night.
For this reason I had starting looking into audio book players for children – I thought it might be nice way to help her to cuddle down in bed – and allow us, after reading her a couple of stories, some time to actually eat tea and start our evening. I had heard amazing things about the Yoto player from some lovely mum friends, who couldn’t speak highly enough about them, and when Yoto asked if I would like to review one I jumped at the chance.
I mentioned that Ottie was very into Julia Donaldson at the moment and Yoto very kindly sent me one of her collections, along with some fairy stories, some meditations and the complete series of Happy Families – on a nostalgic note, Mrs Wobble the Waitress was one of my favourite childhood books and I remember my mum taking me into the small book shop that used to be in town to regularly add to my Happy Families Collection.
The Yoto arrived well packaged, in non plastic packaging (first thumbs up), and the cards were also well packaged.
Set up was easy via the Yoto app – which talked you through setting up step by step (another thumbs up from a technophobe). Ottie soon realised it was super simple to work it – literally popping the card in the box and off you go. She was a such a huge fan of the Julia Donaldson Gruffalo book – which not only came with the story, but also a read along version which tells you when to turn the page if you have the actual book, but also a lovely song of the Gruffalo. The rest of the collection are similar with songs and games after the initial story. The screen also displays a picture of an image from the story.
The Yoto can be parent controlled in the app – it has a nightlight when placed screen downwards, which you can change the colour of, and you can control sleep and wake times and volume limits too.
In terms of controls on the player, it has two simple big buttons – you can use these to adjust the volume, skip back and forwards between chapters (if you want to pause the story you can also just remove the card) and you can also switch between radio mode (options in the app), podcast mode (options in the app) sleep sounds, and story mode. The player can also be used as a bluetooth speaker, which we’ve used with our amazon music account.
The Yoto app also has free content you can download – and their store has a HUGE range of stories for little ones right up to age 12 – Izzie who is 11 has her eye on the Enid Blyton Mallory Towers books. She has been trying plugs through them for ages, but with her dyslexia she can be quite overawe;med by large books – the audio books are perfect for her as she can enjoy the stories without it being like homework. The boys have also asked for some of Roald Dahl books, and we have gone onto purchase the second Julia Donaldson collection ourselves as the first one was so well loved. The affords come with little cardboard sleeves that Izzie has attached to the inside of the wardrobe door and Ottie loves picking her story at bedtime now.
Another super cool feature is their ‘make your own cards’. You an make a recording of anything and save it onto a blank card. We did this with one of Ottie’s favourite stories and it would also be a lovely idea to perhaps get a grandparent to read a story for them too.
Finally in terms of durability, I’ve been so impressed with the Yoto Player. Toddlers (or maybe just Ottilie) have the tendency to be rather heavy handed with things – ours is regularly moved about (it comes with a large disc shaped charger and once charged can be moved from room to room) and has taken a couple of tumbles but its really tough and doesn’t show any evidence of any knocks.
I had been looking into purchasing the Yoto player myself when this opportunity came along to review it – the one thing that had put me off was the price (we were past her birthday and christmas at this point and I wasn’t sure I could justify it as an off the cuff purchase).
From using it for the last month, I can 100% say it is so worth every penny – Ottie will take it off for quiet time and listen to stories, and the older three love the podcasts and jokes on it. The true test was asking Ell what he thought, and he agreed it was more than worth the price – and he’s the opposite to me – doesn’t spend money unless he has to!! I also love that we can take it away on holiday with us – if we get to go in 2021! Fingers crossed.
Thankyou so much Yoto for letting us review – I couldn’t recommend it more highly!