There are tons of children’s bibles out there! But none have the awesome addition of “augmented reality,” and we were elated to have the chance to review this newfangled way of teaching kids bible stories. The brilliant minds at Planet 316 and WorthyKids/Ideals have done an amazing job and I’m excited to share their products with you.
We received the Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App that goes with it. I used it on my iPhone 8 and I think it would have looked even better on the larger screen of a tablet, but we don’t have access to one to check it out for review purposes. I know some of our other reviewers from the Homeschool Review Crew did have a tablet as well as Android devices so be sure to read the other reviews as well.
This article originally appeared on my old blog, Townsley Times. If you came here looking for this particular article but thought you were going to a different site, never fear, you’re actually in the right place. 🙂
The story Bible itself is just over 300 pages and features some beautifully done illustrations on every single page. I am always worried that kids’ Bibles will be too watered down or stray too much from the real thing, but I felt this one did a pretty good job of giving it to ’em straight! It covers well-known stories as well as many lesser known ones. I like that it gives the scripture references for each story so you can cross-reference with the translation you prefer. The last pages of the book have a nice reference guide to where you can find specific names, events, and places within the story bible.
How We Used It
We had the privilege of reviewing this for several weeks, including during Holy Week. What I did was read the passages each day from KJV or ESV and then follow up with reading from this and then using the app with it for the animations. It kept them interested while still exposing them to the more difficult language of a non-kids version.
We also started at the beginning and worked our way through the book. Most of the stories are two pages in length, with some being four pages long, so you can do a few stories in one sitting.
I did have some trouble with the sound. It was so quiet, which is fine for kids who have the ability to sit and stay quiet to listen. However, we have four kids including a toddler and infant, so our house is really never quiet!
I couldn’t get the sound to play at all till I discovered the native screen recording app on my iPhone. I wanted to use it for some teasers for this review but then I realized it was allowing the sound to play when I had it running. It’s still quiet, as I mentioned, but when I play it back, it’s super loud! That’s when I discovered just how much effort was put into this by the creators…the sound is incredible!
Superior Audio Effects
One of the first pages I turned to was of the exodus when they’re going after the Hebrews as they are leaving Egypt. The Egyptian army is coming after them and that popup scene has some horse noises and hooves stampeding and the army yelling. I’ve included a clip of that in my video at the bottom of this review. The sound effects are truly wonderful – now if only we could get them to be louder and to play without using the screen recording app.
My kids loved the book by itself and also with the app. They often asked me to read it to them and they would take turns using the app to “play” the pages as we read along together. Almost every page is interactive. My toddler got a kick out of it as well. It’s something the whole family can use.
I feel like it would be best on a tablet or larger phone or device like the Galaxy Note. That way, everyone can gather ’round and see the graphics okay. And I wish the sound could be turned up! They did update the app once or twice during the review period and I know they are always striving to improve, and the only way they can do that is through user feedback, so I hope that this is something that can be worked out. Maybe it’s user error on my part and if that’s the case, I’d love some help!
Even without the sound, the popups and animations are really engaging…and the book alone is worth every penny without the app. I kept catching the kids looking at the pictures or quietly talking to each other about it. They were drawn by the colorful and fun illustration style.
Last but not least, I want to take you on a walk through the book and app to show you how to literally bring the Bible to life. I’ll explain how everything looks and what Scriptures are covered. I will mention that your lighting has to be just right. I had bright overhead lighting for the video, so the animations popped up quickly and easily for the most part. A harsh glare can cause problems, though, as well as very low lighting (it’s not a great bedtime read if you dim the lights).
Want to read more reviews? There were 60 of us checking out this product! Click through to access the other reviews of this awesome storybible.