7 Ways to Add Magic to Bedtime Stories

The reading apps and games that will help make bedtime something to look forward to

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There is nothing more lovely and bonding than a snuggly read together before bed but even the most animated story tellers and possessors of the most Oscar-worthy accents can’t always tempt their little ones to bed with the promise of The Gruffalo or another round of Each Peach Pair Plum.

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If you’re having a hard time coaxing your kids into bed for a literary wind-down why not try mixing things up a little with an interactive game or an audio device that will keep them entranced and give your vocal chords a little rest so that you can do your very best big bad wolf impression next time round.

Here’s a little bed time story inspiration for you:

Tonies

We love this Wi-Fi connected audio box that plays stories when you sit a cute little Tonie on top. Tonies are a range of hand painted storybook figurines, including well-loved characters like the Gruffalo or Little Red Riding Hood, and there are also Creative-Tonies on which you can upload up to 90 minutes of your own content. Kids love the tactile element of selecting a character to place on top of the Tonies box and the way the cube magically reads a story with exciting sound effects. With characters like The Gruffalo, Little Red Riding Hood and a growing number of Disney characters, there’s a  Tonie for everyone. Suitable for children age 3+

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Tonies, from £69.95, tonies.com

Yoto Player

Yoto Player is a carefully connected speaker designed to give children full control over their listening by providing them with a library of cards that they can dip into and then insert into the Yoto Player to listen to their chosen story, podcast, music, sound effects… the list goes on!

Having secured licenses with Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan and more, the extensive and ever-expanding content library is packed with some of the world’s greatest children’s authors, including Roald Dahl, Judith Kerr and Julia Donaldson. This is a fantastic option for parents wary of too much screen time as it has no screen, no microphone and no camera, meaning children can immerse themselves in the world of imaginative play without any of the negative distractions associated with entertainment connected to the internet or screen focused devices. This device can also be controlled via an app which parents can download, for easier control on the go and an extra bonus is that the speaker has bluetooth connectivity so it can be used as a regular speaker when the kids aren’t enjoying it.

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Yoto Player, £79.99  www.yotoplay.com

Magical Story Jars

Need some story time inspiration? Children love it when parents side-step the bookcase in favour of a spontaneous made-up tale but sometimes the creative juices just don’t flow! That’s why mother of two, Beth De Nobrega created Magical Story Jars, to help ignite and shape exciting stories that can end up going in any direction.  You can choose from various themed jars which include three sets of colour coded story starter cards featuring text and illustrations, some blank cards for kids to fill out with their own characters and prompts and some all important magic dust. A really simple but fun way to make bed time stories fun and interactive.

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Magical Story Jars, £12.95, magicalstoryjars.com

Lunii My Fabulous Story Teller

Story out of the Box

Parents who love beautiful packaging and well thought out design will love this simple box of story originating cards that will inspire children to write, draw and create their own exciting and eccentric stories. Children simply choose a subject card and a techique card to set them off on a creative story telling adventure. There are 80 cards in the pack all designed to stimulate and appeal to kid’s imaginations. This would be a great story telling prompt for adults too and is  a wonderful way to get children to immerse themselves in creative writing.

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Story Out of the Box by Leaner Deeny and Nicky Hoberman, illustrations by Hiromi Suzuki, £14.99, Laurence King Suitable for children 6+ (Available from May 4th 2020)

This is a really simple and clever clip on device that turns your mobile phone into a storybook projector. Using your phone’s torch, Moonlite will project vivid illustrations and words from a selection of story reels onto any surface. Story telling can be made even more fun with the Moonlite app that plays exciting sound effects. With plenty of story reels to choose from, which are all highly portable, this is the perfect gadget for overnight stays or just for mixing things up little at bed time. Much loved titles like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Little Prince and the Mr Men series will keep kids and adults happily entertained. We love the idea of all snuggling up in the dark watching a light show on the wall!

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Moonlight Starter Pack, £19.99, Moonlite

Calm Kids

If you really need to find a way to help your children wind down at bedtime, this series of six mindful story recordings from Decca Records, devised by Lotte Mullan, have been specifically designed to help restless, energetic children enter a state of calm and relaxation. In fact,  so soothing are these stories that adults will have to work hard not to be lulled into a deep sleep too! The dulcet tones of Sophie Ellis Bextor, Tom Cox, founder of Unlikely Dad and actress Victoria Grove tell fantastic stories of Dezzy The Grumpy Dragon, cranky cacti and greedy unicorns all interspersed with mindfulness techniques and specially written music proven to lower the heart rate.

Sophie Ellis Bextor was excited to sign up from the off, “Calm Kids is such an amazing project! With five children in our home, bedtime can be madness. You never know what an evening might bring and it can be so different from one day to the next. To be part of a project that can help make bedtime routines that little bit calmer has been fantastic! I read ‘Dezzy The Grumpy Dragon’ to Ray, Jesse and Mickey before we went into recording and they adore the story. I knew I had to be involved. Bedtime stories should be a staple in everyone’s homes.”

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Calm Kids bedtime stories can be listened to on Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, YouTube and other outlets.