Ipod or Mp3 Player for 5Th Birthday?

Updated on August 03, 2011
C.B. asks from Oskaloosa, KS
15 answers

hey ya'll! my son has really been getting into his favorite songs lately - unfortunately i have no use for an ipod or mp3 player so have very little experience with them, but i thought it might be great to get him one for his birthday (just a small one). he doesn't know too many bands yet, but has some songs we hear on the radio that he LOVES (that firefly song, and the lazy song lol). so much music is not really kid friendly so i like the idea of being able to pick and choose certain songs, instead of having to buy an entire cd. but then i don't know how expensive itunes are. what do you ladies recommend? my little brother suggested that if i was going to "pirate" music off the internet an mp3 player would be okay, but otherwise, get cd's. he didn't elaborate (this was over text). what do you mama's suggest?

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answers from Washington DC on

Honestly neither.
He is 5.
What will you get him at 13 if he already has the MP3 player?
If you really want him to have something that plays music get him a child's cd player and some cd's.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

I would say neither one. If you want your child to be exposed to music which is great then get him a child friendly boombox for his room. they make many different styles now. and you are able to adjust the volume many children have problems hearing because of listening to music that is way to loud

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

If you choose to do this, please be VERY aware of how loud the volume is. More and more young adults need hearing aids because they ruined their hearing with in-the-ear music devices. I'm one of them! While I and my teenage sons have ipods, we prefer to listen to music "out loud" and trade off what we listen to. We buy tunes on itunes and burn mixed CDs. It works well.

Also, please be VERY aware of the "disconnect" that happens when kids get overly dependent on their music devices (or any electronics). How can you learn to interact with people--a very necessary life and job skill--if you spend your formative years lost in your own little musical/electronic world? How do you know your kid is paying attention in class if they're sneaking their music? And remember, the whole "I learn better with music on" line is a bunch of hooey. Less than one percent of the population has a learning disability corrected by this kind of distraction. If you were one (or your kid was), you'd have an IEP or a Section 504 that states that. The rest of us are just fooling ourselves.

I've taught jr. high and high school from the age of portable CD players to the age where you can buy sweatshirts in which you can plug your mp3 players. It's really sad to see hundreds of students sit side by side and never interact with their voices because they're futzing with their phones or music players. I spend most of my discipline time in class taking these items away. Too many students start doing BETTER in school when their parents get fed up with the lousy attitude and grades and take all the electronic toys away!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my ipod. But, please be very aware of the precedents and habits you'll be forming with an ipod this young. Yes, I'm very much in the minority on this. Think of this as a very alternative point of view!

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

My son has had the same iPod touch since he was 2 so yea little kids can be careful...the only thing is since apple works from iTunes if u plan on pirating music u will need a program to convert it to compatable files

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on


I would get an iPhone 3GS and just not activate the calling feature. Works just like an iPod touch... $50.


Hit up your friends (do a facebook polling) for used / replaced iPods. We, for example, have 2 that we just don't use. They're old, and they work fine, but our iPhones have a gazillion times more capacity and do the same things. So the old iPods sit on a shelf, collecting dust. They'll be used as gifts at some point for nieces and nephews, or as an "I don't care if this gets lost or damaged" music player to take out in the desert.

That's how we got our son his iPod when he was 4 or 5. It was a free hand-me-down.

It was GREAT, because it kept all of his music separate from ours (which is by no means kid friendly, and my husband's library (he's a musician) is almost ridiculously extensive.


Regardless of which you choose, I would *strongly* recommend and i______. iTunes, uploading, they're just prevalent/ what's EASY. Non-iPod MP3 players are a lot like lazerdiscs back when, or BlueRay a few years ago. Not everything is compatible with them, they don't work as well, and you have to spend a lot of money on conversions.

iTunes costs 99 cents a song, or $11 per whole album. ALL the music you have downloaded from other sources (CDs, etc.) you can load onto your iPod or iPhone.


Oh. So I got my toddler a digital camera. He had his own iPod at 4ish or 5ish. Also a phone (at the time, just a normal cell). He saved up for 3 years to buy his laptop. He got a Flip for xmas. Excluding the laptop which he saved for and bought himself at 8... NOTHING cost more than $60 with tax. A few were completely free.

People say things like "What will they want after THAT???"

Well... last year (age 8) he wanted squirt guns for xmas, and a kite for his birthday. The year before, a chess set, and legos. This year he wanted a design/programming game ($10).

He already HAS the "expensive" stuff (pshaw, hello sales, it's more than $50 for lego sets... and those don't go on sale for 25% of "newest/latest/shiniest" price). It's still all in great working order, lasts for years, and is "normal" / not anything to covet or get excited about. He uses his iPhone (he replaced his old phone and iPod this year out of his own money - $50 - and combined his phone and iPod), flip, and camera DAILY. Has for YEARS. We also got them young enough that they all have RULES that he absolutely follows, the same way WE followed "telephone" rules, and "car" rules as kids. Not. Exciting. Nothing that is "rebelled" with.

THAT'S what kids want when they already have their electronic toys. They want things like: Balls. Squirt Guns. Legos. A kite.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Itunes song are 99 cents a song or sometimes they have deals for albums. If you can go on craigslist and find an Ipod for sale then okay but then you have to wonder if your 5 yr old should have one just for the damage potential. They are a pain in the butt. I've almost thrown mine out the window 4 or 5 times lol. But if you can swing it get the newer generation Ipod touch on craigslist and then you could download free education games for him too.


It's out of stock right now but there is another 4gb ematic for $23 on walmart.com if it doesn't come in stock in time for his birthday.

That is the one I got my daughter on a long road trip. Classical music helps her sleep so I got that to help her nap on the long road trip. It is $25, it is really good and if she breaks it I don't care. Itunes doesn't work with it which stinks, but she has the fireflies song and some others on it that aren't from Itunes. She loved listening to it on our 3 day trip as well as when she napped.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

whatever you decide I recommend a good pair of children's headphones. NOT ear buds! but specially designed headphones that will not go too loud.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

MUCH more, apps for it and downloads.

BUT, he is 5.
Can he even be careful, with one???
AND not lose it????
Kids that age, lose many things.

You can get in big trouble, pirating music.

Ear buds and volume too... can he control that?
Lots of kids put music on too loud, per ear buds and handhelds in their ears.
Does he have the cognizance, to heed to volume of the apparatus in his ears??

Do you have an iMac?
Or other Mac things???
Then it can all be, used together.... and you can just play music for him, FROM your Computer... streaming it, via iTunes etc.
You don't have to buy, tons of CD's.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son got an mp3 player for Christmas--He was 7, almost 8 at the time. This was best for him. I thought on ipod was a little "too much" for him still. An mp3 is cheaper & easier to use, so it's a great starting point. If he really uses it and maybe shows he's ready for something more advanced, then maybe down the line you could upgrade to an ipod. He's still got his mp3 and it works out great for us!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

You can go to overstock.com and get some really good prices on just regular mp3 players under $30.00 he would be happy with that one just
as much as an ipod and they don't sound bad either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Truthfully, we got our son (8 yo) an iPos shuffle for Christmas and he has NEVER used it--so IF yougo the iPod route--I'd say go big or go home--get the touch screen, etc, which ain't cheap. iTunes has most songs for .99.
Basically iPod using CDs or iTunes for Mac computer, Mp3 player for a PC. If PC you would subscribe to Rhapsody, etc.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

For a child that young, the best choice is an MP3 player. The ipod has lots of features that he's just not ready for. Also, I've seen MP3 players for as little as $29, no need to spend lots of money on a small child who doesn't know and understand the value of money. You can download music for an MP3 player for as little as 69 cents.Be sure you also purchase him a docking station so he can listen to his music without earbuds or earphones.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I think 5 is a little young for an ipod. Maybe a cheap MP3 if you can find one. Or an inexpensive boombox for his room.

I'm considering an iPod shuffle for my daughter (9) for christmas or next birthday.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We started with Sandisk MP3 players that are about $70. We use Microsoft Media Player to "rip" the CD's we already own (or ones borrowed from the library) to the Media Manager and then you can "sync" them to the MP3 player. The MS Media Managersimply recognized the Sandisk when we plugged it in with the USB cable that came with it, so it was very easy to use. I still have this MP3 player. Both my kids (now 11 and 14) have iPod Touches, I believe 32 MB. They are about $300 (cheapest is $250 for 16GB of storage. These are MUCH more than music players - they downloaded games and movies and tv episodes, Netflix to watch movies where there is Wifi, Skype if you get the latest one that has 2 camera's (one facing you, one facing out for picture taking). They are AWESOME devices but for a 5 year old perhaps a bit too much in terms of cost and the fact that the touch screen can easily scratch or break. If I were you I would get him a full size Sandisk MP3 player which is a clone of the original iPod (non touch, the one with the wheel) and even if he outgrows that in a few years, you can use it for taking walks or in the car. PS: my old car does not have an iPod port but has a CD/Cassette player (11 years old), but CVS and Walmart sell this cassette with a cord+connector that is like the headphones connector on the MP3 player. You plug the cassette into your cassette player and then the MP3 player can play over the car stereo.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

iPod Touch, for sure. Both my kids have them, and use them CONSTANTLY. They're very versatile, as well - for instance you can go on the internet, Skype, shop on iTunes, all the stuff you can do with an iPhone, except make phone calls! My kids are going to visit Grandma and Grandpa tomorrow and will be flying on the plane by themselves - they don't even care because I've uploaded several of their favorite movies onto their iPods for them to watch on the plane. (And there's always Angry Birds if they get sick of their music and movies, LOL).

1 mom found this helpful
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