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Why we built Pibbon Story Starter

Pibbon Story Starter is the free mobile app developed for parents and carers to have fun, imaginative and open-ended storytelling adventures with their children. It's perfect for families with children aged 4-11 and available on mobile iOS (releasing to Android soon).

We built Story Starter using you (the parent) as a guide, based on feedback we received while talking to the parents of young children.

Story Starter is centred around the idea that in every child there is an imaginative and daring storyteller wanting to make a story their own. Story Starter brings together families to continue Pibbon's fun story starters and unlock the storyteller in their children.

Don't be fooled — Story Starters aren't writing exercises. They're personalised, open-ended stories made for families to come together and enabling fun, live, social storytelling to flow.

Here are a couple of reasons why Story Starter is so important:

1. At a young age, reading is social.

When children are read to, they gain so much more than the story. Both the child and parent bond over the reading experience, the child has the opportunity to ask questions and parent and child become closer and learn more about each other.

We weren't the first people to point out that the social values of story time are being lost with modern screen-based story time tools1. Modern screen time reading technologies have focused almost exclusively on improving children’s reading skills in isolation and haven’t maintained the same social benefits as print books.

Story Starter was built so as never to get in the way of that valuable social interaction while still making story time personalised and inclusive. It's made so the predominant time spent storytelling is time spent away from the screen and in each other's company.

2. Oral storytelling is a creative, engaging and low barrier way to storytelling.

Storytelling shouldn't be conflated with story writing. Pibbon believes that oral storytelling is an under-appreciated and inclusive tool in household learning and can be hugely beneficial to your children.

Vocal storytelling can help to include children who aren't confident readers or writers in the storytelling process. It's a low barrier to entry for children to contribute to a story without needing to worry about grammar, vocabulary or writing style. Better still, oral storytelling helps children to become more confident socially and better able to communicate their thoughts.

Every Story Starter is made for families to collaborate live and in the moment: no writing necessary. We even have helpful tips on how to make sure your Story Starter sessions are as fun as possible!

3. Parents don't need to be J.K. Rowling to lead a story starter session.

We know that being a parent is hard work. It can be even harder when forced to be creative when it comes to story time.

Story Starter is made to take the creative load off parents by doing all the heavy lifting for you: we show the story starters most relevant to you based on your preferences. We make it super easy to continue a story with easy-to-use hints and guides on where to take the story next, and we provide advice on how to best lead a storytelling session.


Pibbon Story Starter is a labour of love by the Pibbon Research team based on your feedback. The app is fully free to use and available on iOS now.

Deepak, Pibbon
  1. Vasalou, A; Kalantari, S; Kucirkova, N; Vezzoli, Y; (2020) Designing for oral storytelling practices at home: A parental perspective (link)
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