Kids today are growing up in a completely different world to previous generations, including my own. There’s an expectation that smartphones, tablets and computers will play an increased role in children’s lives these days. This doesn’t come without risk though. I’ve looked after kids myself and fully understand the temptation to hand over a phone to stem a meltdown or buy 5 minutes peace, but I also understand that unlimited screen time brings problems too. So when I spotted StoryPhones I quickly realised there was a new experience for children.

What are StoryPhones?

StoryPhones are an entertainment system designed for children aged 3 to 8. They combine the functionality of traditional headphones with the capabilities of a portable audio player. Naturally, there is some hearing protection built-in with level limits you can set yourself. If you are familiar with Tonies and Toniebox, StoryPhones offer a similar concept but with the focus being headphones instead of a speaker.

The key concept of StoryPhones is the interchangeable StoryShields. These are magnetic discs that attach one side of the headphones. The discs contain pre-loaded stories, music, and educational content which are all sold separately. Children can easily swap out StoryShields to access a variety of content, ensuring endless hours of enjoyment.

What Stories are Available on StoryPhones StoryShields?

The creators of StoryPhones realised early on that content is key when it comes to making a product like this successful. The great news for parents is that StoryPhones secured a license from Disney. Classic family favourites like Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid are available to purchase for about €10 per disc.

Marty in a fetching pair of StoryPhones

Thanks to a partnership with Pinna, you can also buy educational StoryShields covering things like maths and reading development.

One particularly charming element of StoryShields is the ability to record your own discs. This means you can have granny or grandad read a story to your children even when they can’t be there to do it in person.

The StoryShields contain several chapters per story which are skippable by twisting the disc on your childrens’ headphones. Included with my StoryPhones was Disney’s Minney Magical Tales which contains 7 chapters and is just shy of 36 minutes long.

One final StoryShield story disc worth mentioning is ZenShield. This special disc contains some chapters to help your children wind down with white noise, rainfall, piano and more relaxing tunes.

Kid’s Whistle Stop Review of StoryPhones

I gave the StoryPhones a test myself before handing them over to my 3-year-old niece for the real test. I do have to admit, the setting up was a little tricky. While the StoryPhones are a normal pair of both wired and Bluetooth headphones, they also connect to a StoryPhones app. The app I found to be a little difficult to get set up. I think the trick is to connect the headphones as a normal pair of Bluetooth headphones before trying to find them with the app.

After my bit of testing, it was over to my niece.

First of all, she loved the look and feel. They’re sturdy and built to last, immediately getting tested with a strong grab, bit of twisting and a few drops too. But once she put them on, there was no taking them away from her. They are super comfy too, according to her of course.

She immediately got the concept of StoryShield, likely because her and her brother have a TonieBox. The lack of a screen was absolutely no problem. She gladly jumped up onto the couch and just listened to Disney’s Minnie Magical Tales that came with the pack.

I’m looking forward to seeing what she makes of them in the coming months. Here’s what I hope to see.

Benefits of StoryPhones

Beyond the testing myself and my niece did the other day, StoryPhones offer plenty of other features that you might find helpful.

Bluetooth and Wired Headphone Options

While the StoryShields story pucks are a great idea, StoryPhones are also simply a pair of headphones for your kid to enjoy like any other pair when needed. This means if you’re heading away on a long journey, they can be connected to a tablet for movie time. I’ve mentioned TonieBox and Tonies a few times, and I should point out these are two totally different companies.

However, thanks to StoryPhones including a 3.5mm headphone cable and TonieBox having a headphone jack built-in, you can even let your kids listen to TonieBox stories privately. This is good for them to have some alone time and chill out and good for you if you’re really tired of some stories!

I want to repeat one point from earlier too. The StoryPhone app lets you be able to set a volume level limit for your kids’ headphones to protect their hearing. You can adjust these as they grow too.

Reduce Kids’ Screen Time

While I mentioned using the StoryPhones as regular headphones with a tablet, the real beauty of these headphones is that they enable you to offer your child some screen-free entertainment. It’s getting harder to keep kids’ screen time under wraps but that’s just what StoryPhones empower you to do.

Audiobooks can greatly benefit childrens’ development and offer you another weapon in your arsenal to keep your kids’ entertained without damaging their attention span. StoryPhones encourages children to use their imagination as they listen to engaging stories. By immersing themselves in the world of audio storytelling, children develop their listening skills, attention spans, and ability to follow complex narratives.

StoryPhones: The Verdict

I struggle to find a flaw with StoryPhones. At €99, perhaps the initial outlay for these headphones is a little on the steep side. That does make them €10 more expensive than a TonieBox. However, I see these as two totally different types of solutions for entertaining your children. I also imagine your kids will use StoryPhones a lot more making that investment worthwhile.

Once you have the headphones, the StoryShields are very fairly priced on average at €10 a pop.

Personally, I love the idea of anything that reduces screen time for young children. While tech-free time and physical activity outdoors remain crucial, there’s a time and a place for screens. But having an alternative might just encourage you and your kids to explore something that pushes their imagination a bit more.

StoryPhones are incredibly flexible in terms of functionality but durable in terms of build. For these reasons I expect these to be the goto kids Bluetooth headphones in your house for years making them a great purchase. If you’re specifically looking for TonieBox headphones, any wired headphones will work. If you buy these, they’ll work too and offer you similar screen-less entertainment on the go for your kids.

StoryPhones are available on Amazon.co.uk, along with a wide range of StoryShields. They can also be found in Harvey Norman, Arnotts and Brown Thomas.

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Marty
Founding Editor of Goosed, Martin is a massive tech fan, into movies and will talk about anything to anyone. - Find me on Mastodon