Which Children's Audio Speaker
Is the Best Fit for Your Child?

Storypod Examines Important Factors and Benefits to Consider
In the Exciting New World of Audio Speakers for Kids

Why audio speakers? Why now?

          A perfect storm of factors has led to the rise of a new option for entertaining and educating children. More and more research has become available on the negative effects of excessive screen time on children’s brains. The pandemic has left many families scrambling for innovative and effective ways to support their children’s growth and development. Research is continuing to show the strong benefits that Social-Emotional Learning provides to young children, especially in times of stress and change. Stepping in to fill the void in the market are new audio speakers for kids. Spanning a wide range of functionalities, offerings, and safety ratings, these new devices aim to provide audio-based entertainment, education, or even both. 

What Storypod wants to contribute to this market and to families:

          We at Storypod acknowledge that we might be a little bit biased as to who makes the best kids’ audio speaker, but we’re glad that the market is expanding and creating more and more opportunities for children and families to choose from an interesting and differentiated number of options. We are parents, educators, and creators that want to help your children become lifelong learners and great readers. And and we want to provide them with this opportunity completely screen-free. We’re passionate about literacy and the lifelong benefits that it can provide to your children.

          We use Social-Emotional Learning, early childhood literacy skills, and the stages of child development to create Audio Experiences that are designed to support your child’s healthy growth from birth onwards. We consider ourselves “edu-tainment” because even though we provide a strong educational framework, we’ve designed our Audio Experiences to be something else as well: Fun. In our opinion, kids learn best when they are engaged and entertained. We’ve designed Crafties, read-along audiobooks, and trivia cards that help nurture your child as they progress through different stages of learning. 

Storypod vs. tonies vs. Yoto vs. TIMIO vs. lunii

          Wondering what stage your child is in? We provide caregivers with an easy, customized, online quiz that identifies each child’s unique needs, strengths, and areas for improvement! This allows us to work with caregivers to place each child at their best starting point on our screen-free pathway to learning.

Storypod’s online quiz takes into account:

  • Age
  • Grade-level
  • Developmental milestones
  • Interests
  • Recommendations from the CDC
  • Common Core Curriculum

Some factors that we think are important to talk a little more about:

Why audio-based options for children are healthier than screens 

          JAMA Pediatrics, a highly-regarded American Medical Association publication, found that children who spent more time on screens showed less expressive language and ability to rapidly name objects, decreased literacy skills, and even physical changes to the brain. When a child listens to audio-based options like podcasts, audiobooks, or stories on their speaker they are empowered to create and visualize worlds of their own, strengthening their brain’s neural pathways. 

What type of content does each company provide? 

          While each of the audio speakers compared here lists their content as being entertaining and educational, taking a closer look at the content they offer is a great way to help decide what will work best for your child. Storypod has created a Pathway to Learning to strengthen children’s education with STEM concepts, language learning, and early childhood literacy skills. We also offer more than just figurines. We provide physical books and trivia cards that support literacy skills (which tonies, Yoto, TIMIO, and lunii do not offer). Tonies and Yoto have great content libraries, there can be no question. If you want big names like Disney or Dreamworks, they offer extensive pop culture favorites. If you want interactive and fun educational content, Storypod focuses on providing children with a strong foundation of Social-Emotional Learning, active-listening skills, and early childhood literacy skills. While tonies and Yoto have your familiar and well loved Disney characters, Storypod’s content library includes classics -like fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and fables - as well as original stories in our Crafties and read-along audiobooks.

          Wondering what stage your child is in? We provide caregivers with an easy, customized, online quiz that identifies each child’s unique needs, strengths, and areas for improvement! This allows us to work with caregivers to place each child at their best starting point on our screen-free pathway to learning.

Storypod’s online quiz takes into account:

  • Age
  • Grade-level
  • Developmental milestones
  • Interests
  • Recommendations from the CDC
  • Common Core Curriculum

What educational framework does each company use?

           Just like choosing your child’s daycare or preschool, picking the educational framework that best works for your child is important. Storypod uses recommendations from the CDC and Common Core Curriculum, Social-Emotional Learning, early childhood literacy skills, STEM, and bilingual offerings. Storypod also offers an informational blog based on the latest research in child development. Yoto also has an informational blog with fun reads about their content library. While all players help nurture a child’s love of listening to stories, tonies does not list an educational framework being used. TIMIO incorporates STEM learning and lunii incorporates Social-Emotional Learning. TIMIO and lunii both have amazing language options (content in 8 different languages) which we think is absolutely wonderful and applaud both of them for.

What kind of interaction is provided to your child with each audio speaker? 

          While Storypod, Tonies, Yoto, and lunii all offer interactive play (which in itself helps to support your child’s development and literacy skills), playing with a figurine is a different type of interaction than responding to interactive questions designed to nurture your child’s academic abilities. Storypod’s Crafties, read-along audiobooks, and interactive trivia cards work to strengthen your child’s active listening skills, motor skills, and reading comprehension with interactive and color coded buttons on the speaker.

          All systems talk about interactivity, but truly there is no physical (or tactile) play with any system other than Storypod. Tonies stops playing audio the moment you take a figurine off the top, so children can't play with it and listen simultaneously. Yoto stops playing the moment you pull the card out of the slot, and the cards are not meant for tactile play. However, Yoto offers some interactivity with their screen-alternative. Lunii has no additional play-based figurines but offers interactivity in the sense that kids can choose different story paths. TIMIO has no figurines for tactile play.

Conclusion

          We know that families want to provide the best learning and educational experiences for their little ones. We want the same thing, whatever that looks like for your family! There are so many great audio speaker options to choose from and we hope that we can help you choose the one that works best for you. No matter your choice, Storypod applauds your decision to provide your children with healthy alternatives to screens. We want to emphasize that the bottom line for choosing an audio speaker should always be what will help your child the most. The competition between brands keeps the options available to you evolving. We challenge and push each other to be better so that we can all better support your children and your family.

References

  • JAMA Pediatrics, a highly-regarded American Medical Association publication
  • Social Emotional Learning is Essential for Child Development (From Parents)
  • Competitor websites
  • Social-Emotional Learning (From Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning)
  • Media and Young Minds  (From the American Academy of Pediatrics) 
  • Screen time and kids: New findings parents need to know  (From ABCNews)
  • Back to School amidst the New Normal: Ongoing Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Children’s Health and Well-Being  (From Kaiser Family Foundation)

          Wondering what stage your child is in? We provide caregivers with an easy, customized, online quiz that identifies each child’s unique needs, strengths, and areas for improvement! This allows us to work with caregivers to place each child at their best starting point on our screen-free pathway to learning.

Storypod’s online quiz takes into account:

  • Age
  • Grade-level
  • Developmental milestones
  • Interests
  • Recommendations from the CDC
  • Common Core Curriculum