I’m not quite ready to let my young children have a phone. In the meantime, it’s still nice for them to be able to listen to their music quietly and in a way I don’t have to hear it all the time. We have Bluetooth speakers throughout for Pandora; however, at times songs come on I’d rather they not listen to.
So, we decided to get them all MP3 players. As we have kids of different ages I didn’t want to get them all the same type. So, I’ll run you through a few popular models available right now and give you what I think are the pros and cons of each.
|Ages 4 and 5||Ages 6 and 7||All Ages|
|Model||Wiwoo B4||Hotechs MP3||Sandisk Jam MP3 Player|
|Capacity||8GB (128GB EXP)||16GB (SD Card EXP)||8GB (SD Card EXP))|
|Formats||MP3,WMA,WAV, MP4||MP3, WMA, AMV, MP4||MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, DRM (Audible)|
|Colors||Pink and Blue||14 Colors||8 Colors|
Ages 8 to 10
There are a couple of reasons I still like this option even though it’s a smaller MP3 player. First of all, it comes with a clip. So, clipping it on their shirt or pants not only means its easier for them to carry around, but also for them to keep track of. Of course kids or even adults can use it; however, this is about the time you might start handing down your old phone with some parental controls. We’ve listed a few of our favorite flip phones for kids here as well as our top tablets. So, if you’re thinking about going that route, you’ll find our recommendations there.
Sandisk MP3 Player
The Sandisk MP3 player has been around for a while and given only a few updates. I had one before I carried a phone with me everywhere I went. So, I had a good understanding of exactly how it works. We went with this option for our 10 and 12 year-olds; however, for the most part, I would recommend it for all ages.
Overall Best in Category:
The main reason is that it’s not that expensive and, unlike many of the generic options, the interface is easy to use. A lot of the cheap MP3 players on the market in the $20 to $30 range simply don’t make sense. There’s simply not enough competition in the space anymore. However, this one works well, sounds good, and gives you a few different options. So, unless you’re wanting to spend a bit more money, it’s ultimately the one I’d recommend.
.96″ TD-LCD Sandisk Jam Clip MP3 Player
The Jam is the most basic version and therefore the cheapest at around $30. It comes in 8 different color options and has a 1-inch LED screen. The battery life lasts around 18 hours and can be quickly charged once it runs out.
If your kid needs more than 8GB, although that’s a ton of music, there’s an optional micro SD card expansion slot so you can add additional space.
So, for $30 you get all of what your kid needs and nothing more than that. I consider this a huge plus. The reason I recommend it for 8 and older is because it’s rather small. As such, it’s easy for young kids to lose. That’s a lesson I’ve already learned more than once (unfortunately).
Final Thoughts: Ultimately, the SanDisk is the most professional option in this space. The software works well, the battery lasts a long time, the product is high quality, and the interface is easy-to-use.
- Quality Sound
- Durable Build
- Clip Makes it Easy To Secure
- Easy-To-Use Buttons and Navigation
- FM Radio
- Small and Easy to Lose
- No Recording Capabilities
- Not Easy to Use with Audiobooks
1.4″ TFT-LCD SanDisk Sport Clip
The 1.4″ TFT-LCD version of this is pretty similar in specifications and price with the 8GB version coming in at $40 and the 16GB Bluetooth version at around $55. The Bluetooth is nice if you want to use headphones or a speaker; however, it may not be something that your child actually needs. Personally, I found the extra price to not be worth it.
Final Thoughts and vs iPod Shuffle
Ultimately we recommend the Jam over the larger LCD Sports model. Sound quality is as good, it’s a lot cheaper, and even though the listed battery life of the Sport is higher, I didn’t find this to be so. If you’re thinking about the iPod Shuffle, I found the Jam to not only have as good as sound but to be a better option for kids overall. It even has a few features that the Shuffle simply doesn’t. This includes expandable storage and radio access. Plus, the Shuffle is even smaller which is a problem for me let alone my kids.
Ages 6 and 7
While younger kids can certainly use this next option, it’s about this age group where they can do so without too much help. That being said, I’ve got a 3-year old that constantly tries to grab my phone and run away with it so she can watch kiddie videos on YouTube. So, you may want to take this on a case by case basis.
Hotechs and Similar Generic MP3 / MP4 Players
First of all, this is an imported MP3 player and not a name brand. However, I’m featuring this here because some of these are getting pretty good. You may find this exact model under another manufacturer name. That simply means that multiple sellers are trying to sell the same MP3 player from a reseller store like Alibaba to customers on Amazon. So, in that case, go with whatever is cheapest.
In terms of the audio quality, I’d consider this inferior to the SanDisk model above. However, it’s not bad at all and certainly not something that a six or seven-year-old would be concerned with. The main issue I had with this particular MP3 player is that the interface is a little more difficult to use.
That being said I really like the varios colors you can get with it (14 in all). And you can regularly find it for just around $20. And once you understand the interface it’s not that big of a deal.
Lots of colors are available for this model (14 in all). So, if you’ve got a couple of kids in this age group like I do, they can all have their own color.
This MP3 player is technically an MP4 player as well and so it can play some video. That’s certainly not the reason I bought it; however, it might be fun to put some small AVI shows or home videos on it.
Included with this are some cheap earbuds that are pretty good for kids. Considering how many of these my kids have broken, I’ll take all of the pairs I can get.
- Big Enough for Younger Children
- Lots of Colors Available
- Comes with Earbuds
- Plenty of Storage (16GB)
- Just $20
- Mediocre Build and Audio Quality
- Features Don’t Always Work as Expected
Overall, the Hotechs, as well as other similar generic options, are a good option for young children. Over a period of a few years, it’s likely that something like this may break. However, with the price, you’ll be a lot happier that it was this rather than a phone or iPod.
GRTDHX and Other Similar MP3 Players
Just as the generic item before, this one has a few options on Amazon that are very similar. Right now though, this is the one with the best price and features. Still, I think you’ll find it a bit clunky compared to the other options above.
Fake Customer Reviews for Generic MP3s
Plus, some of them offer more than they actually deliver. However, this one does a fairly good job. Still, we found that many of the customer reviews for this and other similarly generic products on Amazon are fake. So, don’t expect the world from it.
- Bluetooth 4.0 functionality
- FM radio, a voice recorder
- Includes sports armband and earbuds
- Long Battery Life
From our experience, the Bluetooth functionality for this is a bit hit or miss. However, the sounds is great.
Overall, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth $50 to pay for a device like this. We’ve seen prices for similar models from $35 to $60. That being said, we’d probably avoid this one. The price is quite a lot compared to
AGPTEK MP3 Player
For around $37, the AGPTEK is a pretty good option. It plays a variety of music files including MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, APE, and FLAC and comes in 5 colors.
The menu is fairly plain with an older style to it. For me, this wasn’t a big deal as I simply wanted to load a bunch of songs on it and then have my kids play them shuffled. To load songs on it, it’s as simple as plugging in the USB to your PC and then dragging and dropping your audio files to it. The user interface was pretty easy to use.
AGPTEK claims that this allows for 80 hours of audio playback. I didn’t verify that number; however, I can confirm that it’s impressive.
It includes some mediocre earbuds that (again) were more than fine for my young kids.
Overall, I still feel like the AGPTEK options are a bit clunky compared to Sandisk’s options above. So, unless they’re significantly cheaper, I can’t recommend them.
- 5 Colors
- Plays MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, APE, and FLAC
- Easy to Use Menu
- Long Battery Life
Overall, this model seems like a pretty decent deal for the amount you pay. It has a somewhat cheap build quality to it, but the audio sound is better than I thought I’d get with it.
If you’d prefer a more conventional MP3 player, Sony still has their Walkman available in red and black colors. They’ve been through a few generations and all of them are pretty similar quality with newer models having more plastic than previous generations.
Overall, the build quality and is good and not great. The Walkman has a battery life of up to 35 hours and includes functions like an alarm and timer. You also get some pretty decent Sony earbuds that come along with it. Storage capacity goes from 4-16GB along with the price which ranges from $55 to $70.
Getting music onto the Walkman is also fairly simple. Simply drag and drop it from iTunes or your Windows Media Player.
If there’s one complaint I have about it, it’s that the buttons are fairly sensitive. Occasionally you’ll feel them switching off in your pocket. This is a pain when you’re outside mowing the lawn. Trust me!
- Brand Name Quality and Software
- Good Audio Quality
- Easy to Transfer Music
- Available from $55 to $70 (4-16GB)
Overall you get a brand name MP3 player with some decent features for a little bit more than the generic ones. To me, I think the extra price is worth it. However, I’d still go with the Sandisk if you want something straightforward that does a simple and good job.
Good MP3 Player for Young Kids to Ages 4 and 5
Wiwoo B4 8GB MP3 and MP4 Player
If you want something that’s cute and easy to spot and manage, I like Wiwoo’s B4. The design is made especially for kids with a bear paw and pink and blue color options. The menu is fairly easy to navigate with big keys and an intuitive menu. And it’s very affordable at right around $25.
The Wiwoo supports MP4, MP3, WMA, and WMV audio formats. It comes with 8GB internal memory which can be expanded up to 128GB with a micro SD Card.
Additional functions include radio, a built-in microphone, AB replay and voice recording, and even a few built-in games!
- Built-in Noise Restrictions
The Wiwoo comes with built-in noise restrictions that prevent your young child from listening to music too loud. It also includes earbuds.
- Built-in Lock Feature
The Wiwoo includes a feature that I absolutely love to use with my kids. It has lockout controls so they can’t press the buttons and then constantly change the song or stop the music. This allows them to list for a while without needing your help to get back to the right area.
Overall, this is one of my highest recommended products on the list. It’s great for ages 3, 4 and 5 and has a lot of great built-in features. For $25, it functions better than some of the generic options as well.