Calm Meditation App Doubles Down on Kids’ Content; Teams With Pink, Maya Rudolph, Minions and More (EXCLUSIVE)

Calm Kids - Pink, Maya Rudolph, Minions
Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP; Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP; Courtesy of Illumination Entertainment

Calm is ramping up original kids content, as the meditation and mental-wellness app company looks to persuade more parents to shell out $70 for an annual subscription — with a roster of celebs and new characters to help their young’uns chill out and get to sleep.

The app, first launched in 2012, already has material targeted at tykes. The Calm Kids content library includes bedtime stories (which it has branded “Sleep Stories”), meditations, lullabies and more. Those include stories based on DreamWorks’s “Trolls” narrated by Anna Kendrick and Mattel’s “Thomas & Friends” narrated by Kate Winslet.

Now it’s upsizing the Calm Kids lineup. Coming in 2022 are audio narrations by Pink, Maya Rudolph, Wanda Sykes, Randall Park, Diane Keaton, Stephen “tWitch” Boss and others.

In addition, Calm is developing Sleep Stories with Hasbro’s Peppa Pig, DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda, and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions, the crew of popular yellow, short-statured flunkies (whom, presumably, will be speaking some comprehensible form of English in their Calm Kids content). Other new Sleep Stories will feature original intellectual property created in-house with characters like Yawny McDawny (narrated by Sophia Bush), Cap’n Dreambeard and Bill Dozer.

The company is expanding the Calm Kids content cadence because “we now feel a unique urgency,” VP of content Greg Justice said. “It’s been very stressful for young people in the past year, so we are doubling down on all things Calm Kids.”

Pink narrated the launch video promoting the expanded Calm Kids content offerings:

The company plans to release new Calm Kids Sleep Stories every Sunday “to help unlock a truly magical bedtime routine for families,” said Justice. Other content will span a range of formats, including interactive features such as mood check ins, gratitude reflections, breathing techniques and gentle movement.

“We’re thrilled to see our characters come to life in a new way through Calm Kids content,” said Marissa Mansolillo, head of content strategy at Hasbro Publishing. “Our Peppa Pig Sleep Story is just the beginning of a great collaboration that we hope will make bedtime even more special for the entire family.”

On a parallel track, Calm is continuing to create new content for grown-ups. “We’re going deep on sleep and mindfulness content,” Justice said. Last month, the app generated some buzz with the premiere of a bedtime story read by Regé-Jean Page, the steamy star of Netflix’s “Bridgerton” Season 1.

Justice said he doesn’t see the Calm app as competing with podcasts directly. He said the growing amount of mindfulness-oriented audio programming is a boon for the company: “We see a rising tide lifting all boats.”

Calm makes select content available for free. Full access to the Calm app costs $69.99/year or $400 for a lifetime subscription.