Digital Storytelling Apps for the iPad

The iPad is an amazing tool for digital storytelling, thanks to an increasing number of creative apps that were built for just that purpose. Here you will find a selection of some of the best digital storytelling apps for the iPad, as used by teachers in a variety of K-12 classrooms. All quotes are from the App Store description page of the respective apps. Prices can, and probably will, vary over time.

Toontastic (Free with in-app purchases, or $9.99) – “Making cartoons with Toontastic is as easy as putting on a puppet show – simply press the record button, move your characters onscreen, and tell your story. Toontastic records your animation and voice as a cartoon video to share with friends and family on ToonTube, the app’s global storytelling network for kids.

Scribble Press ($2.99 with in-app purchases) – “Scribble Press for iPad is a book creation platform that allows kids to create and share their own stories with hundreds of great drawing and writing tools. Download your books instantly to your iBooks library! Scribble Press for iPad makes it easy to create an ebook – either write your own or use one of over 50 story templates.

Sock Puppets (Free with in-app purchases, or $3.99) – “Sock Puppets lets you create your own lip-synched videos and share them on Facebook and YouTube. Add Puppets, props, scenery, and backgrounds and start creating. Hit the record button and the puppets automatically lip-synch to your voice.

Puppet Pals HD (Free with in-app purchases, or $2.99) – “Create your own unique shows with animation and audio in real time! Simply pick out your actors and backdrops, drag them on to the stage, and tap record. Your movements and audio will be recorded in real time for playback later.

Comic Book ($1.99) – “ComicBook! is your FULL featured comic book creation app! In just seconds turn yourself and your friends into comic heroes or villains. Star in your own comic book adventures! Realistic comic styling with a wide selection of: image filters, comic fonts, customizable captions, a library of classic comic graphics and dozens of multi-panel page layouts.”

Book Creator for iPad ($4.99) – “The simple way to create your own beautiful iBooks, right on the iPad. Read them in iBooks, send them to your friends, or submit them to the iBookstore. Ideal for children’s picture books, photo books, art books, cook books, manuals, textbooks, and the list goes on.

Story Builder ($7.99) – “Story Builder is designed to help children accomplish the following educational goals: 1) Improve paragraph formation; 2) Improve integration of ideas; and 3) Improve higher level abstractions by inference. Extensive use of audio clips promotes improved auditory processing for special needs children with autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing disorders.

Pictello ($18.99) – “Pictello is a simple way to create talking photo albums and talking books. Each page in a Pictello Story can contain a picture, up to five lines of text, and a recorded sound or text-to-speech using high-quality voices. Stories can be shared using iTunes File Sharing or via WiFi with other Pictello users through a free account on the Pictello Sharing Server. Stories can be shared with non-Pictello users as PDF files through email or iTunes File Sharing.

Story Wheel (Free with in-app purchases) – “Story Wheel is an educational game that improves your child’s cognitive abilities. Players record a story by spinning the wheel to get a picture, and then narrate a portion of the story. When done, you can listen to your story with beautifully animated pictures.

Creative Book Builder ($3.99) – “Creative Book Builder enables everyone to create, edit and publish ebooks in a few minutes on the go. All published ebooks can be read by any ePub reader including iBooks. Everyone is professional writer now!

Story Patch ($2.99) – “Now you can help your child’s creativity grow with Story Patch, a beautiful new application for the iPad that children can use to create their own picture books. With hundreds of included images, easy-to-use controls, and the ability to import photos, your kids will be creating fun and engaging stories in no time!

VoiceThread (Free with subscription options for educators) – “Create and share dynamic conversations around documents, snapshots, diagrams and videos — basically anything there is to talk about. You can talk, type, and draw right on the screen. VoiceThread takes your conversations to the next level, capturing your presence, not just your comments.

Storify (Free) – “Storify’s award-winning storytelling platform is now available on iPad! Storify lets you create social stories by browsing social media streams and dragging-and-dropping photos, videos and updates into a story, along with adding your own text. Now, you can use your fingers to combine social media from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to tell your story from the iPad.

iMovie ($4.99) – “Make beautiful HD movies anywhere with iMovie, the fast and fun moviemaking app that puts everything you need to tell your story at your fingertips. Browse and play projects in the Marquee view. Create Hollywood-style trailers or sophisticated home movies in minutes.* And share your finished projects with the world – right from iMovie.

Explain Everything ($2.99) – “Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design tool that lets you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. You can create dynamic interactive lessons, activities, assessments, and tutorials using Explain Everything’s flexible and integrated design. Use Explain Everything as an interactive whiteboard using the iPad video display (via Airplay/cable).

Little Bird TalesMy Story - Book Maker

Comic Life ($4.99) – “Comic Life 2.0 for iOS has everything you need for creating and sharing comics, including fun and quirky templates, stylized image filters, and an easy-to-use drag and drop placement. You have full control over the design of your comics with a huge selection design options – colors, fonts, gradients, balloons, captions, panels and more.

SonicPics ($2.99) – “SonicPics makes digital storytelling fun and easy! Turn your photographs into narrated slideshow movies to share with your family and friends! 1. Add images from your photo library or snap new ones with your camera. 2. Arrange your photos however you would like. 3. Record a voiceover narrating your images as you swipe through them.

Animoto (Free, but requires an education account) – “Turn your photos into stunning, professional-quality videos, complete with music and text, with Animoto’s free app! Parties, holidays, trips and family events – you’ve got a ton of photos on your phone just waiting to be turned into something incredible. Choose your photos, video clips, music, and video style. Within minutes, you’ll have an amazing video slideshow you can save and easily share with everyone.

Little Bird Tales ($2.99) – “Kids all over the world are using the website,, to create their own stories, share vacation photos, write journals and learn valuable digital technology. Now, The Little Bird Tales app makes the process easier, faster and more fun than ever! 

My Story – Book Maker for Kids ($1.99) – “Celebrate your child’s art with My Story, the simplest story maker and book creator in the App Store. My Story combines drawing, photos, voice, and text to promote literacy and creativity for you and your child together. They then share their book within the app, via email, or directly to iBooks. Your child’s art, coloring, photos, and voice recordings are saved forever!

Blurb MobileBill Atkinson Postcards

Blurb Mobile (Free with in-app purchase) – “BLURB MOBILE is a super fun and quick way to create and share short media stories using your iPhone. With your VIDEO, PHOTO and AUDIO media you can effortlessly create engaging interactive visual stories. Simply import and sequence your media to create a great story….tap share, and your network of friends and family will receive your latest Blurb Mobile story. It’s that simple. Blurb Mobile is your creative expression platform.

Bill Atkinson Photocard – Postcards (Free) – “This is by far the best postcard app, and now it is FREE! With it, you can create dazzling custom-designed postcards showcasing your own photos or Bill Atkinson’s nature photos. You can send cards by email free of charge, or have us print and mail them for you for a small fee. Don’t pay more for small 6 x 4 inch cookie-cutter designs. PhotoCard’s large 8.25 x 5.5 inch cards use the highest quality color printing, are laminated for protection, and cost as little as $1.50 when mailed to the USA, or $2.25 when mailed to other countries.