Best story-making apps for kids

Best story-making apps for kids
Help your child unleash their creative side with these brilliant apps that'll get them started with story-writing.

Best for writing prompts

Writing Challenge for Kids, £1.29, Apple and Android

With its strapline of ‘imagine your own adventures’, this app helps children who find it hard to come up with ideas to get started with story writing.

When your child presses Start, the app gives them a randomly generated prompt to kick off their story, such as, ‘Start writing a story that takes place in a fortress.’ Each step then presents them with a new prompt, ranging from story settings to characters and sentences to include. Your child’s challenge is to use these suggestions in their story.

You can choose how many steps to include, and if your child doesn’t like the given prompt, they can swap it for another. You can set a time limit for each step and challenge your child to write against the clock, or turn it off so they can take their time over their story.

You can also use the app for a Consequences-style game, passing the phone or tablet between you so a different person responds to each prompt.

Best for writers who need inspiration

Rory’s Story Cubes, £1.99, Apple and Android

Children love interactivity, so this story making app, with its satisfying touch-screen interface, is bound to be a hit with kids who are looking for a bit of help with their creative writing.

Shaking the phone or tablet rolls the nine story cubes, which have a collective 54 images in total and over 10 million possible combinations to inspire children’s writing. Beginning with ‘Once upon a time,’ your child’s challenge is to use the ideas suggested by all nine cubes in their story. 

Your child can press and hold an individual cube to re-roll it if they don’t like the suggestion, and drag the cubes into the right sequence for their story. The app is ideal for story making at home or on the move, and there’s a range of expansion packs available, including Prehistoria, Enchanted and Intergalactic, starting from 79p.

Best for broadening vocabulary

Writing Prompts for Kids, £1.99, Apple

Writing Prompts for Kids does exactly what it says on the tin, generating prompts that will help your child come up with the basis for a story in a matter of seconds.

Tap the relevant heading on the screen, and the easy-to-use app will provide your child with a situation (for example, ‘Main character is abducted by aliens’), a character, a setting and an object. They can change any of these as often as they like, or hit the Instant button to give them all four prompts at once.

The app features a Better Words function, where your child can look up ‘powerful’ alternatives to overused verbs and adjectives. The Hard to Spell Words button is also useful, providing the spellings for over 100 commonly misspelled words – but do bear in mind that the app is American, so some spellings may differ from UK English.

Once you have your prompt, click the Story button to start writing. You can send your story to anyone using the built-in email function.

Best for being creative

My Story Book Maker, £4.99, Apple

Help your child make their very own picture books with this lovely app that’ll appeal to kids in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.

The first step is to set up an author page by uploading a photo of your child. They can then get started with creating their storybook, typing in their text page by page or recording themselves telling their story out loud. They can customise the colours, add drawings, photos from their device and stickers to each page, and compile and edit as many pages as they like.

Once your child has created their masterpiece, the app saves it as an e-book that you can export to iBooks and share with friends and family. It also converts it to a mini movie that they can share on YouTube or social media (with your consent, of course).

The free version of the app allows you to create two books, but upgrading will allow unlimited authors to put together as many books as they like, as well as giving access to the full range of hundreds of stickers.

Best for variety

Story Starter – Creative Writing, £2.99, Apple

Pen and paper at the ready: your child won’t be able to use a lack of inspiration as an excuse for not engaging with creative writing with this app, which brings together hundreds of different story starter ideas in one place.

There are 15 different categories of writing prompts, including images, videos, sounds, newspaper headlines and even emojis to stimulate your child’s imagination, along with more conventional story starters such as settings, phrases and chapter headings.

The Story Mountain setting will help your child plan their story in advance by filling in the details of the beginning, middle and end, while the 60-Second Story function will challenge them to think on their feet, throwing a different prompt at them every few seconds, resulting in some spontaneous (and often ridiculous) creative writing.

Best for sharing work with others

Shaking Stories, free, Apple

Introduce a bit of novelty value into story writing with Story Shaker, an interactive app that is bound to appeal to primary school children.

Click on the Story Maker icon, and it randomly gives your child a character, place, problem and time for them to use as the basis of their story. The nifty feature is that if they don’t like what they’re offered, they just shake their device and it’ll generate a new selection of prompts.

Your child can then click the Want to write? button to compose their story and share it with other kids (be warned: the app publishes the story as soon as they click Create my story, so make sure they’ve definitely finished writing!). They can also read other stories created by children around the world in the Stories section.

Best for interactivity

Night Zookeeper VR Writing Adventures, free, Apple

The Night Zookeeper website, based on the series of books by Joshua Davidson, has inspired over 300,000 kids to develop their creative writing skills. The app immerses children even further in the story experience using VR technology, helping to kickstart their writing.

Using a VR headset (if you don’t have one, you can print your own cardboard viewer), your child explores the zoo in 3D on the back of Sam the Spying Giraffe, listening as the night zookeeper describes the sights and sounds.

After they’ve finished their magical adventure, they are given a writing mission: for example, to write a newspaper report about what they’ve experienced. The app reminds them to look around closely and memorise the details they see to inspire their writing. They can then upload their work to the Night Zookeeper website and share it on Twitter.

There’s a range of different prompts covering different types of writing (such as reports and instructions). The only drawback is that the VR story and animation is the same every time your child watches.

Best for quickfire ideas

Story Dice – Ideas for Writers, £1.99, Apple and Android

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best, as this nifty little app shows: just tap the screen, and it rolls a group of picture dice that your child can use to spark ideas for story plots, settings and characters.

Your child can choose how many dice to roll at a time, from one to 10, with hundreds of possible results that cover everything from food and weather to transport and space. Although the app isn’t specifically aimed at kids, it’s useful for children as young as Reception age, as it doesn’t rely on them being able to read.

Click the More button to reveal games and exercises that will get your child’s creative juices flowing, such as group games and drama skits.

Best for Foundation Stage kids

Lipa Theater Storytelling Starter Pack, £1.99, Apple and Android

Children don’t have to be able to read and write to start exploring their creativity and composing stories. Lipa Theater is aimed at pre-schoolers and children in the Foundation Stage and will help them begin to learn about story plots, settings and characters.

The app takes the form of a theatre where children can create their own stories using their choice of backdrops (including Wild West, Fairytale Castle and Pirate Cove), characters, props, time of day, weather and music. They can follow Caspar the Jester’s suggestions, or make up an adventure of their own, recording their own voiceover.

There’s a choice of narration options including a range of languages and accents, and once your child has recorded their story, they can share it with friends and family.

The basic app is free, but it’s worth investing in the Storytelling Starter Pack for more puppets and props.

Best for wannabe authors

OOKS app

OOKS, free, Apple and Android

OOKS is an app with a difference, as it allows your child to create a hard copy of their very own book, with their name as the author.

Your child starts by creating their own OOK: a lovable little creature who’ll be the star of their book. They then navigate the digital world with their OOK by dragging it around the different story settings. By moving the OOK into the spotlights they can customise their story, choosing the direction it goes in and adding their own artwork.

Once their story is finished, you can order their very own personalised book for £16.99 with free delivery, giving them the thrill of seeing their name on the cover and their story within the pages.