Add it to the growing list of screen-related parenting dilemmas: You want your kids to be able to play their own music, but you don’t want them to fall down a screen time rabbit hole while rocking out to Caspar Babypants. You could unearth your old boombox, or let them play with Jooki. Like the music players of yore, this one doesn’t have a screen and hypes up the “magical music player” element that lets kids choose what they want. They can listen simply by placing one of the included action figure/figurines on top of the speaker. Great! Until they lose all the figurines. (Just kidding — you can buy more!)
As the parent, you use the smartphone app (or a laptop) to download music or stories onto Jooki. Everything is then stored locally on it, like any other music player. Create playlists and then link them to a specific “smart” figurine or token (they call it a “star”). For example, your kid wants to hear Fleet Foxes. All they do is put the fox figure and — bam — the sleepy sounds of Robin Pecknold. No screens, all kid-controlled. The Wi-Fi/Bluetooth-enabled device can also stream music from popular services like Spotify using the app. So it’s a jambox for the backyard, too.
Of course, because it’s aimed at your kid, Jooki provides full parental controls (volume limits, turn-off timer, etc.), a rechargeable battery, and is spill proof — because 3 year olds. The one hitch is that it’s not available until June 2017. But that’s just in time for your next cookout.
Jooki Jukebox For Kids ($159, Available for Pre-order June 2017)