This list comprises my favorite music players for toddlers, including ones that I own, ones that my friends and family own, and ones that we have played with at the library and daycare.
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Our New Favorite Toy
My son got the Tonie Box player as a gift. I wouldn’t have thought how essential music players were for kids. Now that I’ve seen my kids play and interact with it, it is one of my number one recommended toys for toddlers!
Toddlers can interact with music players through buttons, characters, cards, and more. They offer all of the fun without any screens.
Music players are SO versatile for kids now. They have features you can look for 🔎:
- Streaming capabilities (Disney, Spotify, etc.)
- Nap time/quiet-time training lights
- FM radio
- Alarm clock
- Parental controls
- Child mode, child lock, or kiosk mode
1. Tonie Box
The Tonie Box is what started the music revolution in my house. It’s a red box-shaped speaker with a magnetic top. Place a character on the speaker, and the music starts playing.
The controls are super fun – tap the sides to go forward or back. Control the volume with pinchable buttons. There is also a headphone jack to grow with your child.
The box is lightweight and padded on all sides, ideal for energetic toddlers.
Creative Audio Characters let you record your voice, download free content, or transfer your audio tracks for endless listening possibilities.
Best of all, Tonie doesn’t need Wi-Fi after the initial setup, so take it wherever you go.
2. Yoto Player
The Yoto Player is super simple to use but has many cool features for parents.
You buy audio cards that play music and songs. You can listen to your favorite characters like Disney, Pixar, etc. Kids put the cards in the card slot to play them.
There are simple control buttons to skip songs and adjust the volume. There is a pixel display that animates the audio without being a screen. There is a headphone jack for older children.
The Yoto player has Bluetooth connectivity, blank mixtape cards to upload your favorite songs to (or record stories in your voice), kid-friendly podcasts, and kid-friendly radio stations.
Best of all, the Yoto player has a built-in sleep training nightlight!
Pro Tip: Use a music player for soothing stories and sleep tales during bedtime and quiet time.
3. Yoto Mini Player
The Yoto mini has all of the same features as the Yoto player but in an adorable hand-held version. The Yoto Mini player is perfect for traveling on an airplane with a baby.
My family members have these players, and they can’t get enough of them. They will quietly sit and listen to their books and songs during quiet time at home while mom grabs a cup of coffee and kicks her feet up with her book.
4. Jooki Music and Stories Player
Jooki not only has physical tokens to play music and songs, it also connects to Spotify.
Jooki supports wireless headphones with 8 hours of playtime on a single charge.
The physical tokens magnetically attach to the device, playing different songs and stories. Jooki’s tokens are fully customizable. There are no pre-set tracks or stories.
With Jooki, moreso than Yoto and Tonie, you don’t have to buy set of cards and characters for content.
Create a playlist on Spotify and associate it with one of the colorful tokens or characters.
- Tokens are great for slightly older kids (associate playlists with colors).
- Characters are perfect for little ones (associate songs and stories with characters).
5. Timio Player
This might be the simplest player for the youngest listeners with no Internet required. It comes with five pre-loaded magnetic discs that stick to the base. Click the pictures to change tracks.
In addition to the five pre-loaded discs (a generous starter kit), you can buy other disc sets as well.
You can set the Timio player to eight different languages to make it an educational device, or perfect for bilingual households.
With its sturdy design (though it might be thrown far with the handle by energetic kids like mine 🤣), this player is a winner. It includes stories, favorite songs, lullabies, and white noise options.
Remember, the player runs on batteries, so rechargeable batteries are a smart investment (these are the ones we use at my house).
While there’s a headphone jack, this player suits those under three best who likely won’t use headphones (that’s my take).
6. eKids Portable Mother Goose Mini Boom Box
If you’re not sure if your child will enjoy a portable speaker, this is a great idea to try one at a low price point.
There are only seven built-in songs, but it does have a play/pause button and a dial with a display to choose the song.
Your little one can experience music and have control over what they are listening to without having to break the bank with a fancy player that they might not necessarily use.
7. Echo Dot Kids
Amazon’s kid-friendly smart speaker is designed with older children in mind.
The device includes a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ for access to books, games, and educational content. The subscription can also be used on other devices for ebooks, games, movies, and TV shows.
Parents have complete control through the parent dashboard, including setting usage limits.
Kids can interact with the Echo Dot, asking Alexa questions and playing their favorite music.
The “drop-in” feature allows parents to make announcements throughout the house, and kids can make phone calls to approved contacts.
Parent-To-Parent: this device would be suited for older kids who don’t need as much content filtering, especially with the Alexa features.
8. Fisher-Price Classic Record Player
Experience a wave of nostalgia with the classic Fisher-Price record player!
Thinking about this toys brings back my own memories of playing with this toy at my grandma’s house.
The record player may not be fancy, but it’s an instant hit with kids because of the tactile and sensory nature of the discs and player.
It includes five double-sided records, that are conveniently stored in the player, giving you a total of 10 songs to enjoy.
9. Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Remix Record Player
A new take on the old classic… But is it as much fun? I don’t think so.
The reason I included it on the list was because it’s a great toy for infants to learn sounds and basic songs. It does have a 3-stage curriculum, but ultimately is designed for babies under a year.
10. VTech Rock and Bop Music Player
This is a budget-friendly portable CD player that’s a great way to introduce kids to music on the go.
It technically has a screen, but the price point is hard to beat, and the screen is minimally distracting (IMO).
The player comes preloaded with music to practice numbers, letters, colors, and more.
Be mindful of the optional headphones and their cord.
For a similar price point, I recommend the eKids Mother Goose Mini Boombox, which offers better user-friendliness and a more engaging sensory experience. However, if you want the option to use headphones or see if your child will wear them, this one is worth considering.
11. Leapfrog Let’s Record Music Player
This little device lets kids record their voices and songs, adding a personal touch to their music experience.
While the music selection is somewhat limited, the player comes pre-loaded with educational content, songs, and stories, making learning fun.
Here’s a surprise: it also doubles as a portable Bluetooth speaker. Parents can stream their kids’ favorite songs directly to the device.
12. eKids Cocomelon Karaoke Machine
Finally, we have my son’s favorite: the Cocomelon Karaoke Machine.
There are many Cocomelon Karaoke players out there, but this one stands out with its amazing features. It is a slightly higher price than some of the others, so make sure to compare the features closely if you are considering a cheaper model.
It comes with 24 built-in Cocomelon classic songs and a built-in mic for singing along or simply listening to the music.
The microphone has two modes and allows you to sing with the music or use it alone.
Plus, it’s Bluetooth enabled, allowing you to play content directly from your device.
I must admit, this device is a bit complex for a 3-year-old. It has many buttons and settings that can frustrate my son without assistance.
But despite that, my son happily plays, sings, and listens for over 30 minutes at a time 😱, which is a big win.
Warning: The microphone cord is not removable and stretches longer than 6 inches, which is a strangulation hazard. I always supervise my 3-year-old when he’s using it.
- Features suitable for younger toddlers: For a child ages 1-3, a speaker with simple on/off controls, up/down volume, and physical tracks, characters, inserts, CDs, etc., for changing music is best.
They might not understand how to control the music player until closer to 3. That being said, my little guy loved exploring the little buttons on the Tonie even before he really understood how to use them.
- Features suitable for older toddlers: For older toddlers ages 3-5, a speaker that can skip songs and has an internet connection for streaming or doubling as a Bluetooth speaker is great.
Ease of Use
Take it from me, once your kid gets a taste of the power of controlling their music, they aren’t going to want your help anymore! That is a blessing and a curse because too many controls can make it difficult or impossible for your child to play music independently.
Each toddler develops differently, so look at the control options carefully and determine what your child’s ability level is. In general, you want to look for a simple user interface that easy for little hands to operate the speaker independently.
When picking a device, storage is key! You’ll want enough room for songs, stories, books, and podcasts. For younger toddlers, 50-100 songs are plenty, but as they grow older, they may want entire albums or podcast series. So, consider the internal storage of the speaker you choose or the storage of the cards or discs that come with them.
Battery Life and Rechargeability
The Tonie Box’s battery life is amazing. I have only had to charge it a handful of times. A rechargeable battery is a nice feature if you have little ones because you don’t have to worry about a cord (strangulation hazard) or a plug (electrocution hazard). It is important to look for players with extended playtime so that you don’t have to take the speaker away mid-session to recharge.
Connectivity Options and Portability
My one complaint about the Tonie Box is its size. Now that my kids are getting older, I’d love to be able to take it with us as a travel toy, but it is really clunky. I also wish it had Bluetooth connectivity to play music through it (for dance parties and whatnot 🎉). My suggestions for portability are the Yoto Mini, Jooki, and the Timio.
Find a durable and lightweight music player. Use it as a toy–not like a speaker out of reach– and let your little one engage with music. Tonie’s durable design can handle impacts, chewing, drooling, and spills. My kid threw the red box, and it bounced off the wall, yet continued playing like nothing happened 🙃!
No Small Parts
Any object that can fit through a toilet paper tube is a choking hazard. Avoid music devices with exposed parts like earbuds, removable knobs, corded headphones, and unsecured batteries. Ensure small handheld devices (like old-school MP3 players) are not a choking hazard for children.
Choose a speaker with child-friendly features like volume limiters to protect young ears. Keep the volume below 70 decibels to avoid hearing damage. Use a free decibel meter app to measure volume if your music player doesn’t specify the maximum volume.
Pro Tip: Music players are some of my kid’s favorite toys, but if you’re looking for specific toys and activities for babies and toddlers, check out my toy and activity guides for 4 months, 9-12 months, and 14 months.
Final Thoughts on Music Players for Toddlers
Any music player benefits your child’s development, allowing them to experience music without relying on screens.
Physical buttons and controls engage their senses and provide a fun interactive experience.
I would choose the Yoto player if I had to buy one again. It offers the original player for home use and sleep training, as well as a portable option for on-the-go.
I hope this list has been helpful! If you have a baby and want to introduce them to music, don’t forget to check out my lullabies.