Screen Time

These are the best storytelling apps for kids to enjoy.
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The Best Storytelling Apps For Kids

Whether they want to hear a story or make one of their own, these apps promise to grow their imagination.

Social Studies

Kids today live in a digital world: They’re coming of age with more screens in front of their little eyes and growing brains than previous generations ever dreamed possible. And if my kids are going to be on a device anyway, my goal is to do what I can to ensure that they get at least some benefit from the screen time. Some of the best storytelling apps for kids are designed to not only provide digital access to books and spoken stories for entertainment purposes but to simultaneously teach them a thing or two.

I always wanted my kids to grow up surrounded by books and stories that enrich their worldview and really make an impact on them, just like the stories I was exposed to as a child did for me. What I’ve realized is that they’ll access some of these stories through an app. And if that app can also help improve their comprehension and listening skills, or teach them how to tell their own stories through different forms of media, that’s even better.

The storytelling apps on this list check all the boxes — from bedtime stories for toddlers to storyboarding apps for older kids, there’s a whole world waiting for kids within these digital spaces.

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An Interactive Storytelling App For Little Kids

Inside the Imagistory app, you and your kids can create and record your own stories based on preloaded wordless picture books. Here’s how it works: Choose one of the illustrated books, and record your voice to create a story to go along with the pictures. It’s a super simple and intuitive way for young kids who aren’t writing yet to practice their storytelling skills. Save your stories, share them, and listen over and over again.

Imagistory currently has a selection of six wordless stories to choose from. The first two stories are free when you download the app, and each story after that can be purchased for $2.

A Storytelling App With Diverse Voices

With a focus on creativity, critical thinking, and communication, the stories in the Encantos app help kids learn life lessons through stories. The storytelling platform features a variety of age-appropriate books, storycasts, videos, learning games, songs, and other digital tools to enhance your child’s experience and make learning fun. The stories within this app cover important topics like compassion, adaptability, resilience, diversity, multilingualism, environmentalism, and more.

The Encantos app is free to download and play for a limited time. After a free trial period, a subscription plan is required to continue to use the app features. Monthly subscription plans start at $6.99.

An Audiobook-Recording App For Kids

How many times will your child ask you to read their favorite story? The limit does not exist. In the Story Time app, you can record your voice reading more than 5,000 books or record songs for your kids to listen to when you’re not available. They’ll stay saved in the app, and your little one can listen to them over and over again. This app is a lifesaver for anyone who’s read that awful truck book 1,000 times, and great for relatives who live far away and want a way to connect with kids through stories.

Story Time is free to download, but does offer in-app purchases and upgrades.

The Perfect Storytelling App For Bedtime

For kids who like to listen to stories day and night, Kinderling Kids Radio is a storytelling app based in Australia that offers a vast selection of audio stories and educational podcasts. Stories are categorized by age, need, and routine, so whether you’re looking for an energetic story to get your toddler moving in the morning before day care drop-off or a soothing bedtime story for your 6-year-old, you can easily find what you’re looking for.

The app is free to download and stream a selection of stories. To unlock the full Kinderling Kids Radio library, a premium subscription is required. Subscriptions cost $7.99 per month or $59.99 annually.

An App With Thousands Of Books For The Most Voracious Readers

Choose from thousands of children’s books, including award-winning titles, for every age and interest on the Booka app. The stories in this app are narrated by professional voice actors, but kids have the option to turn the narration off if they prefer to read independently. Geared toward kids age 9 and younger, this interactive app has a simple layout that is easy to navigate.

The app is free to download, but a subscription is required after a seven-day trial period. Subscription prices vary depending on the collection of stories your child wants to read but start at $4.99 per month. Booka also offers in-app purchases, but these can be restricted using parental controls within the app.

A Storytelling App For Kids To Tell Their Own Digital Stories

Digital storytelling has exploded in popularity in recent years, making short videos, photo slideshows, and digital presentations an integral part of most people’s day-to-day experience. With the Shadow Puppet app, kids can sharpen their storytelling skills by combining their own video, photos, emojis, music, and text to tell stories of their own. This easy-to-navigate app gives kids a simple way to transform the stories they want to tell into shareable works that they can send to friends and family via text or email, share on social media, upload to various platforms, or even embed on a website.

Shadow Puppet is free to download but does offer in-app purchases to enhance the experience. Rated for ages 4 and up, reviewers note that this app is best suited for elementary-aged kids and older when used independently.

An App Where Kids Create Their Own Storybooks

When your kids are interested in storytelling, it makes sense that eventually they might want to try their hand at the art. With Book Creator, they can do just that. Named the top pick for learning in 2018 by Common Sense Education, more than 100 million e-books have been created in the app so far. Kids can add their own photos and images from their photo library or online, add videos, music, voice recordings, text in more than 50 fonts, drawings using the pen tool, and more.

Book Creator costs $2.99 to download on Apple iPad. All books made can be downloaded to iBooks, saved as a PDF, downloaded to iCloud, printed from your printer, shared via email, and other various methods.

A Storytelling App With Stories About Kindness

Sparkle Stories is an app for kids that is filled to the brim with more than 1,200 original audio stories for ages 4 and up. The best part of this storytelling app is that each story focus on kindness. With gentle words and sweet messages, kids can discover kindness in stories about their favorite topics like animals, sports, travel, superheroes, family, and more. Browse stories by collection, age, character, series, or topic, save your favorites to your personal Storybox, and even save stories offline to listen to later.

Sparkle Stories is free to download and does not require a subscription or have in-app purchase options.

A Storytelling App With Podcasts & Audiobooks

Pinna is a storytelling app for kids that offers screen-free entertainment for ages 3 to 12 in the form of podcasts, audiobooks, audio shows, and even music. The app includes a mix of original exclusive content and well-known stories, with new content added daily. Pinna’s content features kid-friendly favorite characters, popular kids series, trivia for kids, and more. Customize your child’s listening preferences by age, genre, content type, and more. Pinna even offers the ability to download stories that kids can listen to when they’re without access to the internet.

Pinna is free to download and offers select full episodes of Pinna Original stories for users. To unlock the entire Pinna library, a $7.99 monthly subscription or $71.99 annual subscription is required.

An AR-Enhanced Storytelling App For Kids

Wonderscope is a storytelling app for kids that offers an augmented-reality-enhanced experience. In the app, kids can watch stories come to life before their eyes thanks to the app’s AR technology. Characters leap from the page and into your space through the screen’s camera, where your kids can interact and play as the story takes place all around them. (It even works outdoors!) One of the best parts about the Wonderscope app is that it helps kids practice their read-aloud skills as they engage with the characters in each story. Though intended for emerging readers from ages 6 to 8, even young kids can get in on the fun if they use the app with a parent or older sibling.

Wonderscope is free to download and the stories are all free to read and enjoy. However, additional in-app purchases are available to enhance the experience.

A Storytelling App With Celebrity Read-Alongs

Storyline Online skyrocketed in popularity during the earliest days of Covid lockdown, and is now an absolute go-to app. Created by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation (formerly known as the Screen Actors Guild Foundation), the app features children’s books read by celebrity actors like Viola Davis, Kristen Bell, James Earl Jones, and Betty White. Created as a way to advance children’s literacy, improve communication skills, and inspire lifelong reading habits, Storyline Online is not only a great storytelling app for kids, but it’s also available 24 hours a day for children and caregivers across the globe on the Storyline Online website.

The app is 100% free and features no in-app purchases.

A Dr. Seuss Storytelling App

Of course, the GOAT of children’s storytelling — Dr. Seuss — has an app. The Dr. Seuss Treasury Kids Books app has 50 Dr. Seuss titles all in one convenient place. Your kids can read along with classic characters like the Cat in the Hat, Sam-I-Am, and the Grinch while following along with highlighted narration and fun sound effects. Tap the words to learn new vocabulary, expand pictures with another tap, and even search for keywords in title or text of all included books within the app to find something specific.

The app is free to download and comes with a seven-day free trial period. After the trial is up, subscription options include a monthly payment of $2.99 and an annual subscription for $19.99, or you can purchase the entire treasury for permanent download for $49.99. (At just $1 per book, it’s a pretty sweet deal.)

An Interactive Storytelling App For Early Readers

An inviting and engaging storytelling app designed for kids 5 and younger, Hellosaurus features interactive stories to inspire confidence and creativity. Kids take center stage and enter worlds of adventure, co-starring in digital stories about kid-friendly topics where they can take on the role of a pilot, pop star, detective, paleontologist, chef, and more. Kids can explore stories that take on themes like healthy habits, mindfulness, music, science, and art. Parents can create different profiles for each child, adjust settings based on viewing preferences, and feel confident that their children are experiencing a safe, high-quality storytelling app.

Hellosaurus is free to download with limited content. Unlimited access to the entire app costs $7.99 per month or $49.99 annually.

A Storytelling App For Vocabulary Building

With a mix of new and classic works, the One More Story app is a read-around picture book app that encourages vocabulary-building skills. Classic picture books like The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats come alive on the screen with synced narration highlighting each individual word as it is spoken. Each book is read by a professional actor, so they’re quality recordings that really help to spark a child’s interest in what they’re seeing on the screen. The vocabulary feature allows users to click on specific words in the text to hear an explanation of what that word means. Background music, composed by the former music director of Sesame Street, accompanies each narrated book to keep kids engaged.

The app is free to download, but you do have to pay to access the One More Story library. Subscribe for a week for $2.99, three months for $17.99, or a year for $48.99.

A Customizable Storytelling App For Kids

Free to download, the Story Tyke storytelling app offers completely free access to hundreds of original stories for kids. You can create a profile for each child who will use the app and customize their interests, favorite genres, and more so that Story Tyke can recommend which stories will suit them best. Premium access, for $5.99 per month or $54.99 for an entire year, gives your children access to customized character options, including one where they can be the main character of the story, plus interactive and engaging questions to respond to during story time.

Story Tyke has a 5-star rating in the Apple App Store with glowing reviews from parents: “We love Story Tyke! It’s great having a variety of stories at your fingertips. There’s a mix of classic well known characters, new characters, and the kids as characters so it keeps them interested. My kids are ages 8, 6, and 2 and they all love the stories. Every time we finish, they ask for another!”

With the best storytelling apps for kids downloaded to their device, your child can enjoy screen time while they learn valuable skills and life lessons. They may even find their own voice while they’re at it.