(NYC Trend) — If you are a parent during COVID-19, the past year has been perhaps the most challenging of your entire life. You’ve juggled your job or lack thereof, online or home school schedules, and tirelessly worked to keep your kiddos engaged and socialized via Zoom classes and other online activities. You’ve done all this while coping with the massive stress that accompanies navigating your family through a global pandemic. Hats off to you, parents! By this time, your child is likely all “zoomed” out and you are searching for other sources of fun activities for kids at home. Meet the Story Pirates!
Meet the Story Pirates
The Story Pirates is a nationally-renowned group of comedians, musicians, best-selling authors, and teachers who celebrate the imaginations and storytelling of kids. They take stories written by kids and transform them into live musical sketches in schools and via their digital hub.
Since 2004, the Pirates have been bringing literacy and performance programs to schools and venues across the United States to increase accessibility, education, and creativity for kids, teachers, and parents.
Their popular podcast won a Best Family and Kids Podcast Webby Award in 2020 and was rated as one of the top three kids and family podcasts in the world. The show features songs and stories written by kids and performed by special guests, such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bowen Yang, Claire Danes, and John Oliver!
Online Enrichment for Kids During the Pandemic
Although the Story Pirates provided a ton of at-home enrichment and entertainment for kids prior to COVID-19, once the pandemic hit they knew they would need to up their game to continue reaching kiddos at home! Benjamin Salka, co-founder and CEO of Story Pirates, describes some of the financial and creative hurdles their organization overcame over the past year.
“Before the pandemic, so much of our work was tied to in-person programming in schools and theaters. When they all shut down in March 2020, we honestly didn’t know how long we’d make it. It quickly became clear that the Covid crisis isn’t just a crisis in public health—it’s also a crisis in parenting and in education. Everyone was worried about too much screen time and too little enrichment. It turned out that we have a lot to offer in that environment.”
Salka says that due to an outpouring of great press from major outlets, the Story Pirates podcast doubled its audience in the first six months of the pandemic—from a million downloads per month in February to nearly two million in July.
In addition to the podcast’s building success, during the pandemic the Story Pirates team has focused on building out the Story Pirates Creator Club, an online subscription service featuring educational activities, live-streamed shows, classes, and more. Salka says that the Creator Club is a great place where “young fans can laugh, learn, and explore their own creativity.”
A Creator Club membership includes:
- Interactive events with Story Pirates Podcast hosts
- Podcast bonus content and episode activity guides
- Videos featuring brand new kid story adaptations
- Online resources that get kids excited to write
- Weekly interactive performances and live radio broadcast to entertain the whole family
Story Pirates Sleep Squad and More
The Story Pirates has loads more online content for kids, including three music albums, three published books (inspired by real stories by kids), and (honorable mention) hit singles Cats Sit On You and Backstroke Raptor.
Now through February 21st, the Story Pirates, featuring a team of Tony Award-winning performers, are presenting “Story Pirates Sleep Squad,” an on-demand children’s theatrical production.
Full-disclosure, parents—my partner is an actor and director for the Story Pirates, so I feel a sense of pride and admiration for this great company. Pre-pandemic, I had the joy of attending their live shows for kids in New York City where this adult woman (me) nearly fell off her chair laughing. During the pandemic, I have had the honor of watching the Story Pirates behind the scenes as their team works remotely in order to keep the creativity and stories alive for their fans. Check out the Creator Club, the podcast, and all that the Pirates have to offer. Encourage your child to write a story and submit it via their online portal. It’s likely that once your child gets to know the Story Pirates, they will fall in love.