I have a very vivid memory of sitting in a spare office where my mom worked, waiting for her to get off work. While I sat there in a big awkward office chair surrounded by a metal desk and horrible neon lighting, I listened to folk tales on tape (My children have never even seen a cassette tape!) I used to adore listening to stories on tape and would do so for hours. I can remember how the storyteller would change voices to match the character he was speaking as; I remember being delighted, frightened, so engaged. I could escape all the boring waiting around and run a race with the tortoise and hair or go take a ship out on the high seas looking for a whale. Audio stories were a huge part of my childhood and I wanted to make sure they would be a part of my children’s too.
About a year ago I was gifted a month subscription to Sparkle Stories. Oh my goodness was I delighted when I pulled up the website to see what they were about! Sparkle Stories are audio stories dealing with many different topics for children 3-9 years old. There are stories about Martin and Sylvia, two siblings who live in a love house in country with wide a open-space to roam; their stories are all about being a kid and issues that come up and how to deal with them. There are fairy stories and stories from an animal perspective, stories of a magical willow tree that can take you on adventures. The stories that we enjoy most right now are the Martin and Sylvia stories as S can relate very much to the Sylvia character who is five years old.
When I first introduced them to S, she was only two and half, so not quite old enough to sit and listen. I held on to the stories for a while and tried again later on a road trip when S had turned three. They were a huge hit with S and also with hubby. V of course is a little too small for them, but she does perk up a little when she hears the voice of the story-teller David start telling stories. Since the stories are mp3 format I have put them on my phone and we listen to them anywhere we go. In the car, at nonna’s house, in the backyard, at the airport…
I like that the stories begin the same way with a short jingle and then and introduction to set the scene. Since we have spent the most time with the Martin and Syliva stories I’ll talk about those. David’s voice is really soothing and comforting and he changes easily between characters. These stories are wonderful because they cover topics that young children can really relate too for example: holidays, playing outside, being a younger sibling, going to the doctor, taking care of animals, boredom. There is often some issue that arises over the course of each story the characters are forced to do some problem solving and in the end a solution found. I also like that the stories are entertaining as well as educational. I like that my family can relate to the way that Martin and Sylvia’s family lives. They often mention healthy eating, homeschooling, playing outside, and spending time with animals and nature; one parent stays home while the other goes to work.
The one thing I really really like as an adult listening to the stories is to hear how Martin and Sylvia’s parents talk to them and handle everyday situations. They are calm when something strange or unpleasant happens and almost always allow the children to think up their own solutions to problems or give suggestions when needed or asked for. They let the children get bored, which sparks adventure and creative play as they seek to find something to do.
Sparkle Stories has inspired our own bed time story series. A series which I gathered inspiration from our life and those of you wonderful people out there blogging and created the world of Lupine and Zinnia. Two sisters who live down an old country road in farm-house with a wrap around porch, a pond and just a few farm animals. These stories have been so much fun to tell and they are constantly evolving. We tell Lupine stories everyday multiple times a day! S often makes up her own Lupine stories too!
I really can’t say enough about the wonderful stories that Lisabeth and David have created. We love them and I know you will too.
If you’d like to try out Sparkle Stories for one month for free, they are running a special right now until Valentines Day. Simply click here for more details. Also check out their blog here. They often post wonderful recipes from the stories.