For the past several months, our family has been enjoying Sparkle Stories, a monthly subscription service unlike any other. These award-winning and original audio stories can be used on any device. There are currently over 875 stories, with new a new story added each week. The stories vary in length from 15-60 minutes, and age recommendations are provided. Covering a wealth of topics and themes, with several fantastic series, Sparkle Stories are wholesome and engaging. They are a fantastic alternative to screens and they promise to inspire creativity and spark important conversations.
I love that Sparkle Stories provide quality, age-appropriate, and engaging stories that my children adore. The stories are simple and yet they are loaded with quality content. When you listen to Sparkle Stories, it is as if you are transported back in time. In this age of screens and movies and video games, old-fashioned storytelling is almost a lost art and it is completely refreshing to get lost in a great story. Plus, as a homeschooling mom, I see many benefits to storytelling as a learning tool.
Top 10 Ways to Use Sparkle Stories in Your Homeschool
As an introverted homeschooling mama, I treasure our daily quiet time. When I don’t get those sixty blessed minutes I feel less patient and frazzled. My oldest two children crave this time, too. They are happier and refreshed after quiet time. The only problem is that our youngest son is an extrovert and quiet time isn’t really his thing. Lately, he’s been roaming the halls, bothering his older brother and sister. This not only impacts their moods for the day, but it also has a negative impact on my own. We introverts need that unwind time to reset and recharge.
After struggling with this recent bump in our quiet time routine, I stumbled upon a solution. Sparkle Stories has saved our quiet time! Now, all of the kids grab their comfort objects and pick a bedroom in which to snuggle. I grab our portable blue tooth speaker and set them up with a couple of Sparkle Stories. Together, they snuggle quietly, totally engrossed in the tale. My youngest gets some company but the introverts get their quiet time. It’s a win-win!
Since discovering Sparkle Stories several months ago, I always find myself saying, “I wish I’d know about Sparkle Stories then!” One example would be car trips. Driving with my trio can be overstimulating. They are a loud little crew! Thankfully, David Sewell McCann’s voice is so soothing that my children always calm down. Sparkle Stories have helped us to have peaceful car trips!
Do you know how sometimes you get home from being out somewhere and the kids are absolutely off the wall? Or, how you want your kids to clean up the playroom before dinner and they are totally unwilling? Or, sometimes you try to switch gears in your homeschool and start a different subject but the homeschooling train is off track?
Transitions can be hard for anyone, but especially for young children. I have had great success in using Sparkle Stories to help with transitions. At the end of the day, I like for our playroom to be put back together. It doesn’t have to be sparkling or anything spectacular, I just like things to be in places. But at the end of the day my children are hungry and when they hear the words clean up, they dissolve into mushy messes… unless I turn on Sparkle Stories while they pick up. Some stories are only 15 minutes- perfect for clean-up time!
Sick days are the pits! Everyone is tired and crabby and suffering from cabin fever. I wish I had known about Sparkle Stories last winter during our worst winter ever! Whether your children are sick, or you wake up not feeling so hot, Sparkle Stories are a wonderful way to spend the day. They are soothing, so they won’t bother a headache. They help to engage kids and make time pass faster. Who knows? Your little patients might even doze off and get some much-needed rest!
Crummy weather days
We love to spend time outdoors. We’d rather be outside than inside on any given day. Well, unless it’s freezing rain. That’s the one type of weather that this mama just can’t tolerate. I get cold to my core and then I can’t warm up and I get crabby. Can you relate? I have friends who will go outside in anything except for super humid days. To each his own. Thankfully, Sparkle Stories are a fantastic way to occupy those little people when the weather isn’t cooperating!
I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes my kids do more bickering at our kitchen island than eating. It drives me bonkers! During those bicker-filled meals, I will play Sparkle Stories through the Bose SoundLink we have in our kitchen. It saves the day (and my sanity!) every single time!
Sparkle Stories are so calming. I don’t know about your family, but my kids get ramped up after dinner. No matter how hard I try, they get louder and louder and wilder and wilder. And I’m the worst version of their mom at night. I’m a morning person to the core. The bath time battles leave me exhausted and crabby.
But lately I’ve started putting our portable bluetooth in the kids’ bathroom during the ruckus and using the Sparkle Stories app to play their fantastic bedtime series while my children get ready for bed. It still starts off wild and loud, but as soon as they hear that intro music, they settle in seconds.
To celebrate holidays and seasons
As a homeschooling mom, I love that Sparkle Stories include seasonal and holiday-related content. We have incorporated Sparkle Stories into our homeschooling routine. The stories have helped us to learn about season changes, winter solstice, Thanksgiving, Advent, New Year’s, and – most recently- diversity and tolerance in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
As an alternative to screens
I’ll be honest here, folks. We don’t use a lot of screens around here. For six years, my oldest son was terrified of television. Because of this, we just never watched much. Nowadays, we will turn on the television to watch a show or a movie every once in a while, and my children do use the computer for online learning, but I wish Sparkle Stories had been in my life during the years that my oldest was terrified of television! I love that I can turn on Sparkle Stories knowing that the content is safe for sensitive little ears.
As conversation starters
Sparkle Stories inspire my children. After listening to Sparkle Stories, we have amazing conversations about the topics covered. It is not at all unusual for my children to act out the story after listening to it, or to “copy” a game or activity that was mentioned in the tale. These stories spark children’s creativity and imagination. That is priceless!
Sparkle Stories have become an important part of our homeschool, and they have helped to create countless family memories. The kids always joke that Martin and Sylvia seem like family members.
Do you want to try Sparkle Stories?
Unlimited access to Sparkle Stories is available for $15.00/month. Stories can also be purchased individually, or as a collection. There are currently over 875 stories, with a new story added every week.
Do you want to know the best part? You can try Sparkle Stories before you buy! I’m happy to share with you that you can get a 15-day free trial if you use the code POPPIES at check-out.
Love stories? Check out these related posts:
Want to take the learning to the next level? Check out these fantastic storytelling games:
You know us, we love to use games in our homeschool. Here are some great games that build those storytelling skills. They would be a great Sparkle Stories follow-up activity.
Be sure to follow Sparkle Stories
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram