A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
- Skills: Emotional Development: empathy, identifying emotions, labeling feelings
Responsibility & Ethics: embracing differences, integrity, respect for others
- Price: Free to try
- Pricing structure: Free to try (10-day trial then $15/month subscription or $8 and up individual story collections)
- Release date: February 8, 2017
- Category: Entertainment
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales, Friendship
- Size: 7.80 MB
- Publisher: Sparkle Stories
- Version: 1.0.8
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later
- Last updated: February 27, 2020
Our editors recommend
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.