Food for thought: how would you tell your kids a bedtime story in the age of tablets? The giant devices have since passed into ubiquity as so-called pacifiers. With everyone being so busy, it’s not fair to wax poetic about a time when bedtime storybooks were the norm. Instead, why don’t we optimize and innovate on this technology so we can teach children better?
Who better to optimize storytelling than the storytellers themselves? Angela Poulain, a stay-at-home mom, pored over online courses and YouTube videos so she could learn mobile app development. The reason? So she could be closer to her son. “In the digital world, we live in today, I wanted my son to grow up reading & loving books. [italics not mine] I want it to be his source of daily inspiration,” says Poulain on her website.
Dreams of strengthening the printed word isn’t a death sentence for technology in the Poulain household. She believes that technology is inescapable in today’s world. Why not find a way to fuse technological inevitability and engaging storytelling?
In between messy diapers and uncleaned dishes, Poulain squeezes in lessons to develop her own app. With the support of her husband and the inspiration of her son, she gave birth to another child: My Little Adventurer.
My Little Adventurer is an interactive storytelling app that puts your child as the hero of the story. At its launch, My Little Adventurer features two stories: “Grandpa’s Old Watch” and “The Fence Over the Hill.” The plot twists to give you or your child choices to move the story forward. Images adapt depending on your child’s gender. Since it’s available on Android or iOS, you can take the app anywhere—before your child goes to bed or while your family’s out on your own little adventure.
In the future, Poulain hopes to add in more stories both from her team and other moms who want to create their own adventures. She also hopes to add in the ability to print stories created from the app, share stories with other parents and children, and tailoring an adventure to the child’s mother tongue.
Poulain initially kept the app for her own son’s use. With a little courage, she decided to publish her app on the App Store and the Play Store where it’s now open for free to the public. The app has already been shared amongst peers and supporters who have encouraged her to add more features that other parents can enjoy.
At the app’s launch, Poulain and her co-founder Kevin started a Kickstarter campaign to fund further developments of My Little Adventurer. The campaign lasted until November 23, 11:55pm Western European Time. Sadly, its goal of £10,000 was not met in time. The team may not be getting the funding but the campaign showed the overwhelming support that My Little Adventurer has gained. Funds may have sped up the app’s development, but the smiles and encouraging comments were enough to fuel Poulain to continue her project.
My Little Adventurer’s story does not end with the Kickstarter campaign. At the time of this writing, Poulain and her team are looking for other methods to fund their project. They have made it clear that their project will continue.
Ultimately, Poulain believes in her vision to “provide parents a medium to spend time, springboard creativity, and introduce [technology] gently to their child.” The road of a startup entrepreneur and fulltime mom is arduous, just as taking care of two children with separate needs is. Yet Poulain has one thing that most startup entrepreneurs have: a passion fueled by a mother’s love.