Please recommend a toddler MP3 player.
August 12, 2010 8:38 AM   Subscribe

My almost-2-year-old loves carrying around toys that make music. We are bored with the same 3 songs. Can MeFi parents recommend MP3 players that are toddler-tough (can be dropped, thrown and is big enough to not get lost) with big buttons (but no volume control) that have an external speaker (but maybe a headphone jack for later)? We want to load our music on it rather than buying a pre-loaded one. (Working with iTunes would be a nice plus too.)

According to Amazon there are many on the market. Some are $16 (good!) and others are over $100! I'm not sure if all of these do what we want though.

The SweetPea seems to get a lot of blogger buzz but I'm not sure if that is a reflection of quality or good marketing.
posted by k8t to Technology (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Our toddler was gifted the Playskool Made For Me, which I didn't realize was so expensive. it comes with a lot of kids music preloaded. You're supposed to be able to load it up with your own MP3s, but the software to do it is PC-only, and all of our music is on iTunes on a Mac, so we never did that.

Also if your 2-year-old is anything like our son, no matter how much music you load on this thing, you will get requests for the same song over and over and over.
posted by Jugwine at 8:44 AM on August 12, 2010

Best answer: We've had the SweetPea for about four months so far, and I'm generally a fan.

Pros for us: large, durable, seems fairly water-resistant, generous memory capacity, flexible and easy-to-use controls.

Cons: the speakers sound a little tinny, and aren't super-loud even at maximum volume. Also, it's not Itunes compatible, which can be a pain for downloaded tracks. Lastly, there's a 3+-second delay when you start it up that I find annoying, and that has interfered somewhat with my daughter's figuring out the cause-and-effect of the buttons. Other than that, though, highly recommended.
posted by Bardolph at 9:07 AM on August 12, 2010

We bought the SweetPea player for our two-year old a couple of years ago. It worked fine for what it was - the controls were clunky, and I'm not sure it still works (it's in a box in the garage I think). But it was sturdy, and the maximum volume was a safe level. After a year, we switched to the Sansa Shaker, which again, didn't last more than a few years, but was easier for him to change songs.

It was also less expensive than the Amazon price, so I'm not sure what's going on there.
posted by bibliowench at 9:13 AM on August 12, 2010

Best answer: We have the SweetPea, it's taken a lot of abuse and still works. I like that the volume doesn't get very loud. The buttons aren't great but my 14 month old knows how to move ahead and behind in the playlists and likes hitting the buttons.

I should actually reprogram it to be just one big playlist, switching playlists is too annoying.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:26 AM on August 12, 2010

I use ipod shuffles for my kids and have for years. No one has killed one yet. We use them with headphones (program it for limited volume) for mobile and also plug into computer speakers. I know this isn't exactly what you're asking for because you can't really walk around with the speakers. Thought I'd throw it in just in case.
posted by kch at 12:02 PM on August 12, 2010

Best answer: We have the SweetPea that my 16 month old enjoys. It seems tough, has hidden-menu volume control, and is drag-and-drop mp3 loadable via usb, to one of three switchable playlists.

Yeah, it was pricey, but I think it was worth it.
posted by fings at 12:28 PM on August 12, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah, we have a nano filled with his music, but we want something more plastic-y.
posted by k8t at 12:32 PM on August 12, 2010

I got my kiddo a sansa shaker and it was great til he was old enough to want song info and playlists. One fun thing is that you can change what song is playing by giving it a shake. The music is stored on an SD card which is pretty easy to manage.
posted by lemniskate at 12:52 PM on August 12, 2010

I've had a Sansa shaker sitting in my office drawer for years now... what a fun idea for using it! I'm giving it to my 4 year old tonight.

Her favorite song: Voodoo Child, by Rogue Traders (yes... from the Dr Who episode where the Master takes over the world)
posted by MikeWarot at 1:08 PM on August 12, 2010

Wow Mike Warot, I was just asking last night who the hell likes Rogue Traders music. And now I know - four year olds!
posted by Wantok at 4:53 PM on August 12, 2010

Response by poster: Got the SweetPea. Thanks all.
posted by k8t at 8:54 PM on August 12, 2010

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