In today’s busy world, and parents everywhere take on a million tasks including professional work, house tasks, and parenting, so the easiest thing in some many cases is to give one’s child an iPad and let them be mesmerised by the screen for hours. It can be a challenge to find alternative activities that keep a child’s attention, entertain them, and help them in some way. I feel this guilt and struggle too. Aware of these difficulties, German company Tonies created the Toniebox, a fun, and easy-to-use device for kids to listen to books and songs at their own pace.
The Toniebox is a cute and squishy cube that serves as an audio speaker. It’s made specifically for children ages three to seven, from its colourful look to its very easy-to-use design, so they can listen to their favourite songs and stories without parents hovering over them. The box is highly customisable, from its colours to the “Tonies”, that is, the little characters adorning them, which include childhood staples like Disney princesses and Shrek. There’s also an app for parents to add the stories they’ve bought and also to save the creative things their children make with the toy. The Toniebox is made with sustainable and water-repellent fabric and rubber. In all, it’s a toy designed to be a screen-free and immersive experience, fostering creativity, imagination, and the traditional love for a great story. It’s also lacking in bright lights and anything distracting, with an all-around very classic look.
Tonies founders Marcus Stahl and Patric Faßbender met when their kids attended the same school and bonded over their desire to bring back imagination in its purest form. Both of them were concerned at how often small kids were stuck on screens, unaware of the world’s wonders around them. Storytelling is one of humanity’s most powerful tools, and it has fueled creativity for thousands of years and across cultures. For millennia, people have gathered around a fire to tell stories of amazing places, brave heroes, and terrifying monsters; we’ve also grown up reading about exciting stories old and new. The Toniebox is a beautiful attempt to keep that tradition alive while helping kids discover new worlds on their terms.
The pandemic has immersed all of us into screens, even our little ones, and it’s a habit well worth disposing of. As we’re building a “new normal”, it’s important to make habits that let our children’s imaginations loose – and giving them stories to fall in love with is a beautiful step in the right direction!