When discussing with my friends what we are “reading,” I am surprised by how many of us have begun listening to our books. It’s easy entertainment when driving from here to there and back to here, when washing the dishes, or during a walk. Back in my day, they were called “books on tape” and one needed to be in possession of a tape player and enough C batteries to last to chapter 12. These days, audiobooks can be downloaded to a device smaller than a notecard. 

Being an avid reader, there is nothing I find more intoxicating than the weight of a book in my hand and the scent of thin newsprint pages. But there is a specific magic in story and the listening of one being told. Part of being a mother is believing magic is contagious. I find myself wanting to share the things with my children that still fill me with wonder as a grown-up. 

Modern parents are savvy to all the learning apps and educational DVDs that make our children 25 times smarter than we were at their age. These useful options have helped me survive at least 200 situations where I needed my child to be occupied. (I’m talking to you, Urgent Care waiting room!) While these have been my saving graces for many long car rides, I think it’s time we incorporated some more options. 

There are many great places to find audiobooks such as Audible and your local library’s website, but there are other options out there that may not be on your radar yet.
If you haven't already, check these out:

LibriVox (FREE): This ad-free site boasts tons of stories read by volunteers. There are many categories to choose from aside from the expansive children’s section

Sybrary (Paid): Brought to you by Reading Rainbow, this service can be used directly through the website or on their app. Subscriptions include access to over 500 stories as well as some learning games and activities. 

Sparkle Stories (Paid): This site offers many options for subscription packages. It is easy to use and customize for your child’s needs. Give it a test drive by signing up for their email list and they’ll send you one free story. 

Storyline (FREE): Many of the stories on this site are accompanied with light animation, which you can choose to watch or not. This site is brought to you by the Screen Actors Guild, so all the stories are read by actors. Search by title, author or reader to find favorites like The Kissing Hand or Kevin Costner. 

Scribd (Paid): This is a good site for teens interested in audiobooks. They offer an unlimited option through subscription, which can keep older kids entertained for hours. Be sure to preview this one with your teens before handing over the reins.

P.S. They offer a free 2 week trial.

StoryNory (FREE): Of all the free sites, this is the only one with stories strictly for children. Helpful hint, there are advertisements on some pages, so be cautious when the kiddos are using this site alone. 

All you need to get your children started on audiobook journey is a set of headphones, and before you know it, listening to Knuffle Bunny will be the new Minecraft. At least on the kindergarten circuit.