This is Gus, Lucy, Keenan, Ezra, and Mira Nelson. They recently discovered Sparkle Stories about a year ago through a Simplicity Parenting newsletter. A story that David co-created with Kim John Payne of Simplicity Parenting called "The Harbormaster" piqued Lucy's interest since the family had recently moved to Maine.
Gus is a community health educator and Lucy is a doula, yoga instructor, and parenting guide (you can read more about her services on her website). They live in Maine with their three kids. The Nelsons value living simply and sustainably. They are also slowly building a homestead – this is their first year raising a garden and a few chickens!
The Nelsons have also started the process of Waldorf-inspired homeschool with their two youngest children and attend a forest school co-op in their local community — which sounds right up Martin & Sylva's alley!
We asked the Nelsons all about their experience as new Sparklers, and one answer in particular stood out to us. Lucy tells us that Sparkle Stories have been much more than just a source of entertainment for the Nelson family:
"I love that I can choose a topic that may reflect a big question or feeling the kids are struggling with. We can listen to a story which will help us start a conversation or elaborate on what we have already discussed." Read more about the Nelsons below!
How (and when) were you introduced to Sparkle Stories?
I was introduced to Sparkle Stories about a year ago in a newsletter from Simplicity Parenting. It caught my eye because the Story Spotlight was “The Harbormaster” — and we just relocated to Maine. I didn’t start with Sparkle Stories then, though. We tried listening to various podcasts and audiobooks first — but each time I was less than impressed with the story moral or the behavior they would spark in the kids.
What are your children’s favorite stories or collections? What do they love about them?
Our Top Five Stories (so far):
My kids love the Junkyard Tales collection and Martin & Sylvia. Junkyard Tales features animals, and my kids are super-interested in animals these days, so the stories spark a lot of imagination with them. Martin & Sylvia also go-to’s because they are relatable as a sibling pair.
What first drew you to using audio stories with your children?
I have several reasons I am drawn to audio stories. First of all, we are very limited-screen-time in our family and I like the idea of having audio stories to entertain them a bit while I do other work. It is nice to have something in my parenting toolbox that is calm, age-appropriate, and reflects our values. And I do not have to preview it first to know if the content is acceptable!
I also love the stories because they spark creativity and calm, focused play after the stories are over. My middle son is language-delayed, and I’ve noticed he is quite auditory and will mimic the articulation and cadence he hears, which has really benefited his development.
What has your experience been like? What has Sparkle Stories brought to your family?
Sparkle Stories has been very positive for us! My kids are super-engaged and attentive to the stories and will play quietly long after the story is over.
Have the stories been helpful in more ways than entertainment?
I love that I can choose a topic that may reflect a big question or feeling the kids are struggling with. We can listen to a story which will help us start a conversation or elaborate on what we have already discussed.
How and when do you listen the most?
We listen in the afternoon most often. We have a bluetooth speaker that the children sit beside to listen. Sparkle-Story-time fits well into our afternoon/after-nap rhythm. This is the time I start to prep dinner and it really helps having them engaged quietly while I work. They are also helpful on car rides. My oldest runs track and during the season we have longer trips and a Sparkle Story helps the little kids settle and enjoy the ride.
Have you had a favorite craft or recipe that you've used?
Our favorite recent craft has been the mud pies and mud balls we found on a recent blog post! The kids love their mud kitchen and mud season is in full swing here in Maine.
What do your kids have to say about Sparkle Stories?
Most often they ask what Martin and Sylvia are doing today!
About the Author
Jessica is a content creator, writer, strategist, and vintage pyrex collector. She has a passion for facilitating authentic connection, whether that's through her work at Sparkle Stories or her songwriting.