As The Rockstar Dad, it was essential for me to find a great music player for kids. Music has been a significant part of my life and I wanted to enrich my toddler with exposure to it from an early age.
Kids develop a keen interest for music from the beginning. They often wonder “What is that sound and where is it coming from?”
They can try to learn how to play a musical instrument, but more commonly (and easier), parents can simply introduce music to them as a source of inspiration and relaxation. At the very least, it’s a great avenue of entertainment with a bit of technology that doesn’t require any screen time.
And rather than just playing music directly from our phones, we decided to do some research and get our son his very own dedicated music player. This turned out to be a wonderful decision and we wanted to share what we found.
How to Choose The Right Music Player
Picking the right music player can keep your child entertained for hours. Here are a few things to look out for.
Ease of Use
Check that the interface, playback and control buttons are not difficult to use for those little fingers. Are there too many buttons? Is there a screen to help them understand what they are controlling? Is it touch screen? Are any options for creating playlists or bookmarks. These are quite useful features. Kids are smart, but they do need items to be designed intuitively for them not to get frustrated with it.
This factor will determine how much music you can load up for your child. There are generally two types of music players. Hard-drive-based players store all the files on the device themselves. They generally are larger/heavier, have more capacity, but are more fragile. These may not be suitable for younger children. Flash-based players connect with external flash cards, which store the files separate from the player. These are lighter, easier to carry around, and have no moving parts.
In either case, it is important to look at the capacity. A music file is usually around 5mb in size on average. So based on that, you can roughly store 200 songs per 1 GB of storage. If you’re concern with not know how much space you need, then a flash-based player is more flexible and you can just buy more memory cards as needed.
Supported Audio Formats
MP3 is the most widely used format for music, but some have capabilities to play MP4, WMA, WAV, FLAC, AAC and more. It’s good to be aware of what the devices can support before purchasing.
This can depend on the player, the headphones/speakers or even the audio files themselves (size of files). If you’re able to test it out beforehand and listen to it, that would be the best way to find out but that option is not always possible. However, for most kids this is not an important factor. As long as they get to hear their favorite tune of the moment for the hundredth time, they are happy. For older kids, an option for digital signal processing (DSP) can allow for adjustments to their personal liking.
A sturdy player that can endure the general wear and tear and the inevitable drop to the ground will be important for kids. Check that the built quality and the materials used is substantial, much like you would look into when purchasing your phone.
This one is harder to check without extensive use, but read reviews to see how long the player lasts. More functions generally mean shorter battery life. Some use rechargeable batteries, while others are charged by plugging it in.
Depending on what purpose you want to use the music player for, you may want some additional functions available. Some typical extras are as follows:
What is The Best Music Player For Kids?
The Yoto Player (Best All Around)
This connected screen-free speaker is one of the best-designed music players available and our favorite for sure. The simple setup gives kids the opportunity to easily control it on their own. It’s primarily targeted for kids age 3 to 12 but it’s really compatible for all ages (even parents).
The player uses cards with preloaded music or audio books directly from Yoto or custom cards that you can create on your own. With no screen, the Yoto player relies on a set of colored graphics for visuals. This along with the color of the lights are adjustable and it can also become a night light next to your bed.
With roughly 8 hours of playback time, it comes with a magnetic charger and is extremely durable. You can use the Yoto Player as a speaker for your phone through blue tooth as well.
We bought this for our 2-year-old for Christmas last year and he subsequently blasted his favorite 3 songs nonstop for the next few weeks. You might think that would be annoying, but the joy that showed towards the Yoto Player actually help us to embrace these 3 songs.
Fisher-Price Classic Toys Classic Record Player (Best For Toddlers)
How many of you grew up with this classic record player from Fisher-Price? While, the latest version is slightly different from the original, the aesthetics and functionality are still the same. This is a great introduction to music and how music is played.
It comes with 5 records that are neatly stored inside the player and features 10 classic song: Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Au Clair De La Lune, London Bridge, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone, Children’s Marching Song, Camptown Races, Hickory Dickory Dock, and The Farmer in the Dell.
There is a knob to wind up to power the music along with a moving arm that engages with the records. The bright and fun colors will definitely catch your kid’s eyes and the functionality will keep them entertained for hours. At least it did for ours.
Wiwoo MP3 Player for Kids (Best For Younger Children)
This cute bear paw music player is specifically designed for kids, with bright colors and easy to press buttons. But don’t let the simple look fool you. The Wiwoo is jampacked with features including a shuffle playback function, audio recording, 7 EQ styles to choose from, 3 games, FM radio, and photo/video viewing capabilities.
The colors on the 1.8″ display screen are bright and easy to view and the battery can be up to 25 hours. It supports micro SD cards up to 64GB in size. There is even an auto sleep function which parents can set up for automatic shut off.
For all that it provides, the Wiwoo MP3 Player is an incredible value and a great choice for the younger kids.
Sony NWE394/B (Best For Older Children)
Sony’s classic MP3 player is a reliable media player that is easy to use and appealing to kids of all ages. In addition to the high-quality audio playback, it can also store and play photos, videos, eBooks and FM radio with it’s 8GB internal storage. Files can be easily transferred from PC or Mac with a drag and drop feature.
The beautiful 1.77” color LCD screen is powered by a lithium-ion batter than can last more than 35 hours of nonstop audio and 4 hours of nonstop video playback. There is an equalizer and dynamic normalizer function as well as a built-in alarm clock.
If you want to splurge a bit more, the Sony NW-A105/B is an upgraded version of this with the ability to use external SD cards. But you can’t really go wrong with this reputable player
Apple iPod Touch (Best For iTunes)
For those who are all about Apple products and want an extension of the iphone or the classic iPod for their children, the iPod touch would be a great solution. This is basically a dumb-downed version of the iphone with a vast selection of apps and games in addition to the music playing abilities.
It’s equipped with the same A10 Fusion chip as in the iPhone 7, a 4-inch Retina touchscreen, an 8MP camera, and Apple iOS. So this device is powerful and very well built. True to standard Apple design, the usability is intuitive and it integrates seamlessly with your iTunes playlists.
There are various colors as well as capacities of 32GB, 128GB or 256GB available. It also has standard 3.5mm audio jack, something the iPhone does not have.
The Apple iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle are great low cost options if you can still find them.
Are Music Players Worth The Investment For Children?
Introducing your child to music can be more valuable than you can imagine. It’s not really measurable by just the purchasing price. If you can halt their crying eyes or slow down their running and jumping by just turning on a song, that alone is worth the efforts. Think back to the songs you heard when you were young. You were probably dancing with a big smile without a care in the world and your child will do the same. Whether you get the best music player for kids or not, music can have a positive impact on anyone’s childhood.
Are Headphones Safe For Kids to Use?
In general, headphones are safe to use provided that the volume is regulated. There are some players that have volume limits that you can set as a parental control that can help. Probably avoid earbuds as they tend to produce more concentrated audio because it seals off the ears completely.
Where Can I Get Music For my Child’s Music Player?
You use to have to burn music from CDs in order get a digital version. Nowadays, you can find many online platforms and subscription apps to purchase and download music from. Check out Amazon Music, Apple Music, itunes, Soundcloud, Spotify, and Youtube among many other places to get your songs.
Can MP3 Players Get Outdated?
As technology continues to evolve, certain devices could become obsolete. This is not so much the case for MP3 players. I still use my original iPod from back in the day. For kids, all they really need from a music player is to play music. A dedicated music player free of all the bloated functions or apps that are one phones will be useful to your child for years to come. And if you chose one that also allows for online streaming options, that can be more future (or present) proof as well.
Enjoy Hours of Entertainment
Now that you’re equipped with some knowledge on music players for kids, pick one up and start dancing your days away with your little ones. Their infectious smile will definitely rub off on you as well.
And if you still can’t decide, take our suggestion and go with the Yoto Player. You won’t regret it.