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Sparkle Stories

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Sparkle Stories App Poster Image
Soothing stories for kids who need calm.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about history, geography, and how to be kind and thoughtful through the various stories. They can also work on their listening comprehension skills. 

Ease of Play

Kids will recognize familiar buttons like play and pause, but the inability to browse easily in the app is a barrier to discovering new stories.

Violence & Scariness

Overall messages are positive, but there are some occasions where the characters are less than kind to each other (e.g., a brother not wanting to share a friend with his sister). 

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sparkle Stories is the app companion to the website by the same name. It houses a collection of more than 1,000 audio stories featuring the words and voice of storyteller David Sewell McCann, although there are other contributors. The stories are intended to be positive and gentle, meant to appeal to "sensitive children," or kids who are more likely to be impacted by aggressive behavior, strong feelings in other people, loud sounds, and sensory issues. They also talk about diversity, holidays, history, and more. Some of the stories are as long as 30-45 minutes, so active kids may need to take a break partway through. The app requires a subscription (after a 10-day free trial), or the purchases of specific story packs on an individual basis. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.  

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant, 4, and 4 year old Written byEmily W. September 28, 2017

Sparkle stories are awesome!

These stories are great for 3+ but are also safe for little ears to also listen along. There is tons of content with stories labeled for various age groups so i... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 11 year old Written byBecca S. September 29, 2017

Sparkle Stories are the best thing ever!

Sparkle stories are carefully crafted to engage children at a developmentally appropriate level. There are many stories--accommodating listeners from ages 3-12... Continue reading
Kid, 5 years old September 28, 2017

I love Sparkle Stories!! It's one of my favorite things to listen to on road trips!

I like Sparkle Stories because they're so fun and loving, and I really like them so much. My favorite Sparkle Stories are "Beaver Days," "T... Continue reading

What's it about?

SPARKLE STORIES is a collection of more than 1,000 audio stories that focus on positive themes such as friendship, empathy, sharing, and being helpful. With simple pastel illustrations and a soothing storyteller, they are designed specifically to appeal to kids who are easily overstimulated. The stories are grouped into collections, each of which follow a cast of characters through a year-long set of adventures. While the website allows kids to browse by subject, age (3-9), character, and theme, the app is more restricted. The Storybox feature allows kids (and parents) to save a collection of stories to enjoy later; they can even be downloaded to the device for offline listening. The website also includes activities, crafts, and extensions for many of the stories. 

Is it any good?

This vast collection of audio stories covers a wide range of topics, while still staying true to the mission of sharing positive messages. Sparkle Stories has some wonderful content, but as most of the stories and audio are provided by David Sewell McCann, it's going to be hit or miss for some families. McCann has a precise, tempered voice that will prove to be soothing for some and grating for others. Likewise, the feel-good nature of the stories may be too much in large quantities for some kids. That said, families who are looking for a repository of kid-friendly content to entertain their kids in the car or on-the-go will appreciate having access to such a large library to choose from. It would help to have a browse feature in the app, especially for parents who are looking for something quickly to entertain a restless child, but those who spend some time in advance-filling their Storybox with stories will enjoy that feature. If you want to find out if Sparkle Stories is the perfect app for your family, the 10-day free trial will let you try it out.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about storytelling in general and the ones in Sparkle Stories. Do you like it when someone reads or tells a story to you? Why or why not? Do you enjoy telling stories?

  • Many of the stories focus on themes of friendship, generosity, and kindness. Do you have friends who are especially kind and generous? How are you kind and generous with your friends? With your brothers and sisters?

  • How do you like this app as compared with other apps you could use? If you had to choose the best use of your time on a screen, would you pick this app over other apps on your device for entertainment? Why, or why not?

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love storytelling and listening

Our editors recommend

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