Every parent, grandparent, and babysitter knows that bedtime means story time, but sometimes you just can't be there for bedtime. A Story Before Bed lets you read a story to (or with) your child, no matter where you are.
All you need is a computer with an Internet connection and a webcam. Choose one of the children's books from the A Story Before Bed website. It opens before you in colorful detail, and you record video of yourself reading it (or reading it with your kids — why not?). When your child wants to hear the story later, he or she selects the book, and your video plays alongside it on the screen. Videos stream from the site or can be downloaded to an iPod or iPad. (Watch a sample recorded story here or try it yourself, for free, with The Itsy Bitsy Spider or Baa Baa Black Sheep.)I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this site! My parents live on the other side of the country and don't get to see the kids often. We talk on Skype every week, but the kids aren't always in the mood to sit quietly and read books at that particular time. So this site has been wonderful to have. My mom and dad record books, and the kids can watch the videos online (or on my iTouch) whenever they're ready. I also really like that the book displays on the screen next to the video of my mom or dad, so the kids can follow along in the book while it's being read to them. The kids have been having a great time watching the recordings and are constantly asking for another story!
You can either buy individual books (and there are some free ones as well), or sign up for various subscriptions that give you a certain number of books to read. You can access the recordings anytime, even after your subscription expires.
If you're looking for a fun way to keep your kids connected to family or friends far away, I highly recommend A Story Before Bed.
Disclosure: I received no product and no compensation for this post. Just writing about something that my family bought and that we really love!