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Yoto Player – A Kids Smart Speaker?

A few weeks ago I was over at my sister’s house and saw her kids playing with the Yoto player. After a few questions, I realized that it was basically a device that could play books to your kids, but without the temptations of a screen. Cool, I thought. Fast forward a few weeks and my own Yoto player dropped on my doorstep. Is this device all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s take a look!


Out of the Box

There isn’t a whole lot to unpack here. Once you get the box open you’ll find your Yoto player and a really nifty charging base that the player nicely sits on, grabbing to it with magnetic clips. After reading a few pamphlets and opening up your “Create Your Own” Yoto card, you are basically ready to go. First things first – getting the dang device set up, the worst part of any new electronic these days. Still, that was a breeze. Setting up the application on my smart phone and then setting up the Yoto player was really easy. Before I knew it, I had the device setup and I was browsing the various capabilities of the Yoto.

So What Can It Do?

It does a lot more than read books, I can tell you that. While that is the obvious selling feature of the device, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much more it could do. We’ve always wanted to get one of those coloured alarm clocks for our kids. You know the kind – if it’s red, you stay in bed. If it’s blue, you are free to get up! The thing was, any of the decently made devices were pretty expensive, and it was hard to justify that cost for something that just changes colours. This feature comes built into the Yoto player, and can be setup within the application on the smart phone, Simply set which colours you would like to use, and when those colours should change, and you are good to go! Our kids have been using this for two weeks now, and for our youngest who is 4, colours is much easier than numbers. It’s been amazing.

But there is still more that can be done.The Yoto player does more than just play books. There are cards with games and activities, cards with music, and so much more. And the fund doesn’t stop there. There is an entire online application that allows you to download other great resources like podcasts, nature sounds for going to sleep, and more. The Yoto player is more than just books, and I think that’s a really good point to make.

Outstanding Build Quality

As this is a device for kids, it obviously needs to be built well – and that is where the device shines. It’s built for young kids. It is almost like I want to use the phrase, “Built for kids, by kids” because that is exactly how it looks and feels. The device is really big and chunky, has two large dials for changing volume or skipping forward to backwards. The light strip along the one side is great for that night light feature, and cards easily slide in and out of the slot. It’s outstanding, and it’s built so well.

Why this Device Matters

It’s easy to choose other devices over this one – any Google enabled alarm clock can do much the same, with a subscription to Spotify or Audible. So what sets Yoto apart? It’s the screenless, ease of use experience. My kids get a lot of screen time, mostly due to the fact that I review so many games and such. Having no screens attached to the Yoto is absolutely fantastic. I don’t need to be on screens to load it up, and they don’t need to be on screens to change out cards. It’s a really great way to wind your kids down, and limiting screen time in my opinion is never a bad thing!


So now we get to the crux of the conversation. The Yoto player isn’t a cheap investment, but I do firmly believe it is a good one. After shelling out for the device (and perhaps the silicon holder if you want that), there are more purchases that can be made. Books are available on the Yoto website, starting at $7.00 for a single book and going up from there. You can also buy book boxsets – we have some coming as we speak!

If you are looking to invest in your kids, and want to eliminate screen time, the Yoto player is a good bet. We love ours, and continue investing in more books for it!


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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel