Yoto in the Classroom

Yoto in the Classroom

Creativity isn’t just for playtime.

Classrooms also encourage kids to dream big, solve problems and express themselves creatively. And many UK schools are inspiring imaginative play and learning with Yoto Player. 

From classic stories (underscored by timeless lessons) to music, activities, and podcasts, audio lets kids explore their imaginations while learning more about themselves and the world around them. And with Yoto Player, kids can control their own listening without relying on screens. 

There are plenty of ways for kids and educators to use audio for creative learning. So we'd like to share some tips to help carers and educators everywhere get the most out of Yoto and Yoto Player. 

If you’ve got any suggestions based on your own experiences with Yoto, we’d love to hear from you! Just email hello@yotoplay.com

About Yoto Player

Yoto Player is a smart speaker that inspires tactile play and self-directed listening. Kids can listen to their favourite audio by inserting one of 300+ Yoto Cards into the top of their Player. 

The speaker will burst into life and a colourful pixel display will show what’s playing. Kids can push or twist the two large buttons to skip tracks and adjust the volume. The audio will pause when they take the card out. 

Yoto Player also has a clock and a nightlight plus free Yoto Radio and our Yoto Daily podcast. The Yoto App gives educators extra control over Player features and audio playback.

Getting Started with Yoto Player

We recommend creating a dedicated space for your pupils to listen to Yoto Player. You might like to set up a cozy listening corner or arrange kids around a table for some audio-led activities.

Think about how you’ll introduce Yoto Player to your class. The more excitement you can create, the better!

You could leave cryptic instructions about this new and mysterious device or ask pupils to guess what they think the Player is or does. Encouraging kids to imagine how Yoto Player might work will get them in a creative and curious mindset.

Once your pupils understand how Yoto Player works, you can set off on your first audio adventure! Here are five different ways to engage your pupils:

Audiobooks to Improve Speaking and Writing

Listening to audiobooks helps kids to speak more confidently and can develop their reading and writing skills. Also, children who listen to audiobooks tend to understand language well above their reading level.

We have some of the best children’s stories on the planet available in our Card Store! From all-time classics like Matilda, Alice in Wonderland, or Tom’s Midnight Garden, to modern favourites like Alex T. Smith’s Claude, Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum, or Konnie Huq’s Cookie books, there’s something for all to enjoy. 

Yoto’s audiobooks are broken up into chapters, and each chapter has its own display icon so they’re easy for kids to navigate regardless of their reading skills. If you’ve got a listening corner, you can reward well-behaved kids with a chapter or two of their favourite story.

Soundscapes to Inspire Creativity

Soundscapes can stimulate kids’ creativity by creating a sense of place and encouraging their brains to fill in the blanks. They can create a calming environment during study or inspire writing and drawing exercises.

For example, LifeScore’s Dreams of the Ocean and Dreams of the Forest blend cinematic music with field recordings of the sea and the wilderness, respectively. Try playing one of these and invite your pupils to close their eyes and imagine their surroundings. Once they’ve had a moment to think, have them open their eyes and draw their imagined environment.

This visualisation exercise also lends itself to creative writing, role playing and even mindfulness. There are plenty of other soundscape cards in the Card Store or you can use free audio found in the Yoto App. 

Tune in to Yoto Daily for Activities and Facts

When kids tap the right orange button once, Yoto Player plays Yoto Daily - our free podcast which updates every day.

Many families start their day with Yoto Daily, enjoying a morning blast of games, fun facts, and activities that get young minds whirring. And there’s no reason the same couldn’t be done in the classroom.

Tune in and let our host, Jake, lead your kids on a unique audio adventure. In previous episodes, listeners have learned about Martin Luther King’s Birthday, embarked on household treasure hunts, drawn characters from their favourite stories, and more. 

We’ve also got plenty of other children’s podcasts to choose from in the Card Store and free in the app. They’re all curated by Yoto, so you know they’ll be safe and appropriate for your pupils.

Practice Mindfulness as a Class

Kids can use mindfulness to improve their emotional wellbeing and focus in class. And although mindfulness can seem an abstract concept, practicing mindfulness can actually be a practical - and fun - experience.

In Mindful Moments, kids are led through a series of simple activities that encourage them to quieten their minds and focus their attention. Some of the activities use props such as a child’s favorite toy, making mindfulness something that even young kids can connect with.

If your pupils are comfortable with the basics of mindfulness, you can also lead them on short meditations or visualisations using ambient music and soundscapes. There are several to choose from in the Yoto App’s Sleep Sounds section, and there are even more available as Yoto Cards in the Card Store.

Practice Phonics and the Alphabet

Learning through play is an important part of early development. That’s why we’ve developed a number of Yoto Originals titles that encourage kids to play and interact with audio while learning the basics of the alphabet and phonics.

In Letters & Sounds: Phase 1, kids learn the basics of phonics. They’re introduced to animals and different musical instruments and are even encouraged to copy nonsense noises made with their mouths and hands. It’s a fun and interactive way to get kids speaking with confidence.

In A is for Alphabet, the first Pack in our LEGO DUPLO collection, kids enjoy songs, soundscapes, stories and activities which teach them the letters of the alphabet. The audio can be used with or without the LEGO DUPLO Alphabet Truck, which gives kids a tactile way of exploring the alphabet as they listen.

Make Your Own

With Make Your Own Cards, you and your pupils can turn voice recordings, MP3s, podcasts and radio stations into Yoto Cards for the kids to listen to. The creative possibilities are endless!

You could try writing as a class - maybe by playing ‘Consequences’ - and then record these in the Yoto App before linking them to a Card. Kids will feel an enormous sense of accomplishment having produced something real themselves and will enjoy returning to their class-created audio time and again.

Educators can also use Make Your Own Cards to create educational playlists, blending audio recordings of their own to be interacted with during class time.

Yoto Player is a carefully connected screen-free speaker for kids

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