Let us tell you about StoryBots

A few weeks ago, Heather and I traveled down to L.A. to do a little consulting with JibJab. If you’ve ever seen Elf Yourself, or one of those other online holiday cards where people’s faces are added to a funny animation to create a music video, then you are familiar with their work.

The brothers who co-founded the company are dads, with five kids between them. They have launched a family-friendly product that my kids have had some fun with, and I want to share with you guys.

storybots, a fun website for preschoolers and parents

The website is called StoryBots, and this what you’ll find there:

Music videos with a hipster flair. The animation of the StoryBots ABC videos are freaking cute. Will you hate me if I use the term Kindie Rock?  There’s a song for each letter of the alphabet and the robot characters who introduce them are quirky and irreverent. Sign up for the website and the music is free to download (watching the videos is always free), or don’t sign up and pay $0.99 per song on iTunes.

Personalized online video experiences. What the heck does that mean? You can upload your child’s photo and his or her face will become the face of the primary character in the video.  Do it on the web or download the iPhone/iPad app, called JibJab Jr. My kids love that we can save all of our faces and revisit the same videos over and over with different family members. Watching Grandpa Barry cast as a tea-drinking princess is a highlight for all of us. The first one is free, a subscription fee applies to get a bunch of them.

A free reward-system app for parents. In my first phone call with Gregg, the CEO of JibJab, he told me about the app he invented, Beep and Boop explaining that kids earn Beeps for good behavior and Boops for bad behavior. You can set up a number of Beeps as a goal to get a reward.  Boops will undo Beeps, so kids will start to avoid them. That very day I told my kids about Beeps and Boops without the app or the reward and they responded to it immediately.

Gregg’s driving force is to make parenting more fun, and I love that. Sure we can read books by experts, study as if there is a parenting test, and constantly wonder if we doing things wrong. Or we can have a sense of humor and look our whining child in the eyes and say, “BOOP!” Like Wendy’s paper ripping activity, it could be a total mood changer.

Being such a serious student of parenting myself, I asked Gregg what child development experts say about bribes and rewards because I felt concerned that having BOOPS cancel out BEEPS was giving some sort of discipline message that might accidentally damage my children forever. He clearly thought I should lighten up. So, BOOP on me.

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As always, my thoughts on this site are 100% my own, even though our work with JibJab was compensated.

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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