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Friday, January 25, 2013

Sparkle Stories

I love stories, storytelling, books...even movies with a good story. And I'm a mom, so I also enjoy finding ways to connect with my daughter. And as every parent knows, sometimes it's really nice to connect in quiet, cuddly ways. Admittedly I've been known to seek quiet cuddly time in front of the tv when I'm too tired to read (even though studies show tv doesn't really calm children down in the long run, it just slows their bodies down for the moment while their brain spins into overdrive: see articles here and here).


Then a friend of mine (whom I trust and respect as a mother) told me about Sparkle Stories. One day several months later I saw a post to download a free Sparkle Story, so I downloaded it to my podcast app. Soon afterward my daughter and I were in the car driving someplace new and I was having one of those "I need a bit of quiet space in my brain to think" moments. Then I remembered the stories on my podcast, so I asked her if she wanted to listen to a story. "Yes!" she was definitely interested, and then quietly mesmerized for the 15 minute Martin & Sylvia story. It was a good story with a talented storyteller. We talked about the story over the course of several days and soon I noticed Addi incorporating the story into her pretend play. It's always a marvel to witness our children's innermost thoughts and feelings while they play. And these are just the kinds of stories I want influencing my daughter - they embody the kinds of positive parent-child interactions I try to emulate myself.
Listening while mama cooks.




I was pleasantly surprised to find that 4 more Sparkle Stories appeared on my podcast, and Addi and I enjoyed each one. In fact, over the holidays we drove to visit family and she was content to listen to Sparkle Stories rather than watch a movie toward the last third of our 6-hour drive. Score!




Listening on the couch.
Sparkle Stores is an unfamiliar model to me. They are original audio stories available by subscription. We listened to the free ones available via the podcast (here) and website (here) for several weeks. Then Addi grew tired of hearing the same 5 stories and wanted new ones. We decided it would be enjoyable to incorporate a quiet Friday afternoon storytime to our weekly rhythm, so I subscribed to the Martin & Sylvia series (Addi's favorite).



 
Enjoy!
 
Amy








15 comments:

  1. My daughter and I have a 45 minute commute (I work in a democratic Reggio preschool and we just don't have the finances to make living closer work), and I am always looking for new things to do in the car. I can't wait to show these to her, I think she is going to love them! Thank you so much for the tip!

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    1. Great - I hope you find them to be a pleasant addition to your morning commute.

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  2. This is a really timely post for me. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for letting me know - so glad to hear it!

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  3. Thank you for all of your helpful tips. Can't wait to try this out on our road trip tomorrow.

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    1. I hope you enjoy the stories on your trip - let us know how it goes

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  4. We LOVE Sparkle Stories. My son (3 1/2) makes connections to Martin and Sylvia's activities and emotions, is increasing his vocabulary, and loves all of the characters in Junkyard Tales. The quiet time these stores have bought ME is worth triple what they charge. We even buy the special seasonal audio books and occasionally a Sparkle Car for road trips. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

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    1. So glad to hear it. We'll have to check out the Sparkle Car and seasonal specials. Thanks for the input.

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  5. Beware - the first one we just listened to was called "Prince" and is about a little girl who's dog gets hit by a car and dies. Not exactly how I wanted to start our Sunday morning.

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    1. Yes - we've listened to "Prince" as well. The subject of death has been an ongoing discussion in our home since my daughter was 2 years old (she's now 4). She initiates the discussion and we follow her lead. Since hearing this story she has requested to hear it several more times. Sorry it caught you off guard.

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  6. THANK YOU for posting about Sparkle stories....I saw the photo of your daughter listening and thought....I KNOW that look and I LOVE IT!

    We have a daughter who never, and I mean never runs out of things to say. Since we homeschool, it is a challenge to juggle my son's school time during the day full of "urgent" things that my daughter needs to talk about. Let me tell you, for the last 20 minutes, I have not heard a peep out of her as she listens to the Junkyard tales. I even heard her "inhaling deeply" as she listened to a story about a pond nymph and a little boy smelling the sea. I think we have a positive solution to our school work dilema!

    If you go onto the Sparkle stories website and look under the blog tab, there is a free story section. If you open these "free stories", at the bottom, there is an offer to receive the first month of 3 of the stories for $1!

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  7. Love this. I try (most days) to get my toddlers to have some chill out time for 15 minutes or so a day. Just quiet, calm play. I use that time to get a quick chore or assignment done or even just to sip some coffee. These will make for a nice new activity! Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. We are just getting to the point where recorded stories are a big hit with our 3-year-old. I'll check Sparkle Stories out and please please please....if you hear of anything else like this, let us know.

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