I’m quite fond of tea (Earl Grey please), storytelling, and moms who are creativepreneurs, so when I discovered Storybramble, I just had to reach out to Stephanie Arsoska in Scottland and find out more. Here is our friendly little e-chat over a cuppa.
A virtual café that entertains children with original audio stories and poems…tell me more!
Storybramble is a website that offers free audio stories and poems for children with follow on creative activities. There is also a blog where I write about encouraging storytelling in children and inspiring creativity.
Why were you inspired to create Storybramble and how does it work?
Storybramble brings together many of the things I love in life…writing and telling stories, creativity and of course tea and cake! I knew I wanted a place to share stories and originally I planned to post them in written form but I saw two problems with this. First it would require parents to read the stories out loud, and quite frankly mum’s and dad’s are busy enough as it is. Secondly, I know a lot of parents are concerned about the amount of screen time that their children are clocking up. Creating audio versions of the stories seemed the obvious solution. Because I am passionate about creativity I added follow on activities to help children engage with the world of the stories further.
The blog highlights another area that I am passionate about which is creativity in general. I write about the stories I am reading with my own children and what we get up to as a result, share some of my other poetry and I also write about being a mother. I think mothers are incredibly creative and yet often their voices are not heard, the internet is changing that for the better.
Tell us about your alter ego, Polly Dolly, the Scottish tea lady and “her mission.”
I wanted to put the stories into a creative context and so I developed the character of Polly Dolly, Scottish Tea Lady and International Spy. Polly Dolly introduces and tells the stories to her team of Secret Story Agents who are on a mission to find, create and tell stories where ever they go. I think it is important for children to not only listen to stories but to learn how to tell stories too, I hope that Storybramble will encourage this.
As a trained actor and drama teacher, I can imagine that you are very
imaginative. Is Storybramble a way for you to inspire creativity in
others? How so?
Definitely. Being creative is very important to me but as a mother it is often a challenge to find the time and the opportunity. The internet has opened a door for many people who would otherwise have been unable to share their writing, art or music with the world. I think this is very exciting, especially for women and in particular mothers, who have historically often been shut out of the arts.
How long has the café been opened and what kind of feedback are you
getting from parents? The kids?
The website has been up and running for a couple of months now so we are just getting started. We have had some lovely feedback from mothers who have been listening to the stories with their children. Recently I have been creating some bespoke tales that have been requested by parents and this is an especially nice thing to be involved in.
What’s been your favorite experience with Storybramble so far?
Meeting other creative mothers. I am always amazed at how much talent is out there flying under the radar. I love that the internet allows it to be visible. I also love writing the stories, they are great fun to create and tell.
Would you share one of your original poems with us?
Here is a wee poem that I think most parents will relate to! (click on the title and you can listen to the audio.)
This room is a mess!
That’s what you think.
This room is marvelously marvelous!
I’ve got a troves of treasure
buried in here
Just waiting to be discovered.
This room is a disgrace!
That’s where you’re wrong!
This room is perfectly perfect!
There’s a pile for jumping
A pile of falling
And a pile for just in case.
This room is a dog’s dinner!
I tell you it’s not!
This room is brilliantly brilliant!
Throw in some bricks
Stir in some cars
Sprinkle with teddies and trains.
So don’t say
Tidy this mess!
Sort out your room!
Get this cleaned up!
Put things away!
I can’t do that.
It will just mess things up!
Finally, how can we visit your café? Is there a fee?
Well the cafe is only virtual I am afraid, although the pictures were taking in a lovely tea house called Tea Jenny’s in Falkirk which I highly recommend if you ever happen to be in Scotland! However the website and the stories there are free so pop on over anytime!
So, moms, if you want five minutes peace for a cup of tea without turning on the TV as a babysitter, then Storybramble is the place to be. And Stephanie’s message to you and your family…
Tell stories, always tell stories.