Disclosure: I worked in partnership with Lunii to bring you this information.
Lunii, My Fabulous Storyteller, is SO much fun for kids — it’s an interactive, screenless storytelling toy that narrates audio stories which kids have created themselves. Not only does this develop a child’s imagination, it builds their vocabulary and builds important pre-reading strategies as well. Use this skill-building storyteller for quiet time, travel, or bedtime.
Lunii is available in the MoMA Design Store online and at the MoMA in New York.
“I believe that stories are incredibly important, possibly in ways we don’t understand, in allowing us to make sense of our lives, in allowing us to escape our lives, in giving us empathy and in creating the world that we live in.”
– Neil Gaiman
Lunii Storyteller Builds Imagination, Vocabulary, & Reading Skills
Reading aloud to kids builds their vocabulary. As children listen to Lunii’s engaging stories, it’s like being read to. Kids are hearing lots of words, often new words. This is important! Kids naturally use context clues to make sense of new words; that’s generally how young children build language from infancy, by hearing it.
Build the Reading Strategy of Making Brain Movies
One essential reading strategy is making mental images also called creating brain movies. Listening to stories boosts a child’s ability to create those movies in their mind. Listeners, like readers, imagine what is happening in the story. Believe it or not, reading teachers like I was, see struggling readers having difficulty with this strategy.
Show your kids that you make mind movies. As you listen to Lunii’s stories together, pause the story’s narration so you can share what you see in your mind. Ask your child to describe what they see when they’re listening to the story. (Feel free to add your other senses, too — sound, taste, feel, and smell.)
The Lunii storyteller currently offers stories in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German. The multilingual stories to help children develop their ear for another language as well as teach new words. Multilingual stories like these can support families in their native language or families learning a second or third language.
How Does Lunii Work?
Lunii is an aqua wireless device that looks like a kid’s camera. To being, plug your Lunii into the computer to charge and download the free 48 stories. (More stories are available for an extra charge.)
Here’s how it works…
Turn the yellow dial on the side to turn it on. This same dial also adjusts the volume.
On the front, kids use the biggest yellow dial to make choices about the following story elements: a HERO, a WORLD, a COMPANION and an OBJECT. Kids LOVE this!! Being able to pick out your own unique stories makes this toy so, so much fun.
And now for the choices…
Who will be your hero? Ben or Suzanne are the choices. Pick one and click the OK button.
Where in the world will your story take place? In a castle, at the sea, in a forest, at home? Pick one.
Who will be the companion to your hero? These change depending on what setting you selected. If you pick the sea, you can pick between a pirate, a mermaid, or a whale.
Choose an object like cheese or a key. Your choice of objects also changes depending on what world you picked.
Now you’ve selected all the story elements. It’s time to listen to the story!
The narrator is evenly paced which is perfect for young listeners. Stories are told by either a male or female. They’re not too long, either — about 5 minutes. If you want, plug in headphones for individual (quiet) listening.
Here are two examples of story plots:
Suzanne goes to the swimming pool. Below the water, she sees a small house at the bottom of the pool. Her special key opens the door in the pool. Later, when the pool is closed, she meets a mermaid who is also the ticket taker at the pool.
Ben goes on a picnic. While he’s playing forester, he hears a cry for help. It’s a wolf. Ben rescues the wolf who in return, gives Ben a favor. The wolf asks Ben to help others in the forest, too.
Isn’t this storytelling toy so cool? It’s filled with learning opportunities that engage children’s imaginations.
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!