1. Moonlite Story Projector, £39.99 for a gift pack starter kit that includes 5 stories
Age: Whenever your child is ready to enjoy bedtime stories!
What it is: A simple projector you attach to your mobile phone and which uses the flashlight function to project images.
You then download an app and choose your story (there are loads to choose from including Spot the dog stories, Little Miss and Mr Men stories, the Elmer stories and many more). You tap your phone to ‘turn pages’ on the app.
Of course you also need to remember to turn the projector so the projected images correspond to where you are in the story (which are generally around 12 pages long).
Our mum tester, Milly, found it really simple to use, saying: “The starter pack has easy quick start guide / instructions telling you what the app is called and how to set it up. Once on the app, follow the instructions to set up your account.
“There is a handy tutorial guide on the app showing you how to use it. Set up of the projector couldn’t be simpler: you just clip the projector to your phone with the image projector lens over your flash. You turn the dial of the lens left and right until the image you’re projecting becomes clear on the surface you are projecting onto.”
Also – you do need to remember to turn the ‘page’ of the story on the app and the projector wheel.
Why we love it: Milly tells us: “We haven’t been using it every night as I fear the novelty would wear off for my almost 2 year old. I am considering purchasing more stories in order to use this product more often.
“My son absolutely loved these stories. He sat still through them (unlike a normal bedtime story) and fully engaged with the bedtime story process. It has helped him to settle a little longer for normal stories too. But a normal story just isn’t as exciting for him as the fun projector stories.
“The app plays a light melody in the background whilst you read making it more of an experience than just a normal book. There are also words you can tap as you read which make a sound effect, eg moo for the cow etc.
“Sitting down as a family and watching/reading the bedtime story has become much more enjoyable with the Moonlite projector! We are huge fans!”
Available from: Moonlite
2. Toniebox, £79.99 for a starter set that includes a Toniebox and Creative Tonie
What it is: A brightly coloured speaker (it comes in colours including yellow, blue, red, green and pink) called a Toniebox, onto which you put a cute Tonie – which has audio on it – like a story (The Gruffalo, Stickman, Little Red Riding Hood) or a Creative Tonie – where you can upload your own audio from the Tonie cloud (eg podcasts, music or you can make your own voice recordings).
Why we love it: If you’re worried about your child getting too addicted to their screens, a Tonie is a really nice option – your child can listen to stories that ignite their imagination and they can build the pictures in their heads. And if you use it during bedtime they can close their eyes as they listen to the fantastically read tales.
You can add your own audio too – the Tonies website sells this as a great idea if mum and dad are out and grandma is babysitting – as it means you can leave a goodnight message for your child or even read them a whole story so it’s like they’re there when they’re not.
Though, our reviewer, dad Danann, said this would be likely to make his daughter miss mummy and daddy more and have her crying!
Here’s what else he said: “I didn’t find the Tonies that easy to set up – and couldn’t work out how to fast forward or rewind stories. I’m also not sure that it’s got Bluetooth which would have been a bonus.
“Having said that, the story narrations were absolutely brilliant. My daughter listened to The Gruffalo and loved it and wanted it hear it over and over again.”
Available from: Tonies
3. Max Mindpower, bear and 4 books bundle – £39.99
What it is: Max Mindpower is a plush, interactive bear. Press his paws to hear 4 guided meditations.
There is also a series of mindfulness books and books on specific emotions including anger, fear, shame and more.
Why we like it: While Max himself is super cute, what we really like about this series is the books on emotions. It can be really hard to open up conversations on certain feelings and these books are a great starting place.
Mum Tara B says: “I am very much into meditation myself and think my 7-year-old daughter would really benefit from these books. Often she starts to describe feelings she has in physical ways – like she has a stomach ache.
“But when we talk further we both realise that the stomach pain is actually an emotion – like fear or worry about something coming up at school, or shame or embarrassment about something that might have happened earlier that day.
“I think having the ’emotion’ books on the shelf would really have helped her to articulate what she was going through emotionally, especially when she was a bit younger and didn’t have the words to express these sometimes subtle emotions.”
Available from: The Max Mindpower website
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