Apps · Preschool Programs

Digital Storytime: Halloween

Last week, I did my first Digital Storytime. I’ve incorporated the occasional app or ebook into my storytimes before, but I wanted to try doing a program that focused on digital materials and gave me the opportunity to model for parents ways to use apps with their children, talk to parents about what makes a good app, and otherwise engage with parents on new media. I was happy with how it went and the parents who came seemed to learn more about using new media with their kids. They also seemed to appreciate my app recommendations (including those on a handout I gave out, a shortened version of this one).

Digital Storytime was an evening program, advertised for kids ages 3-5, and I did a 25-minute Halloween-themed program followed by time to do activities. I projected the iPad so the kids could see the screen, and I was lucky enough to have a coworker join me in the program to manage the iPad while I did the storytime (she turned the pages/manipulated the apps while I read). We don’t have a wireless projecting system, so it was really helpful to have her there. It ended up being a small but very engaged, fun group!

What we did:

Welcome song: Hands are for Clapping (Jim Gill)

eBook: Mouse’s First Halloween (by Lauren Thompson)

Parent tip: The difference between eBooks and apps

App: Peekaboo Trick or Treat (I found out about this app through Anne‘s post on Little eLit)
This app was a hit! I started by briefly talking to parents about what makes this a good app. Then we pretended we were knocking at doors on Halloween; at each house we all yelled “Trick or Treat!” opened the doors to reveal the creature hidden behind them. This led into a discussion about the kids’ Halloween costumes. One 4-year-old boy announced he was going to be a hot dog! (I reeeally wish I could have seen that costume.)

Screen shot of Peekaboo Trick or Treat: Puppies. In costumes!
Screen shot of Peekaboo Trick or Treat. Puppies. In costumes!

Felt Board: 5 Little Pumpkins
A coworker made 20 sets of this felt board so the kids could follow along with their own set. They each got a clipboard with black felt clipped to it to use as their felt board.

Five little pumpkins sitting on the gate.
The first one said, “Oh, my it’s getting late.”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air.”
The third one said, “But I don’t care.”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun.”
Ooooo! went the wind, and out went the light.
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

5 Little Pumpkins

eBook: 5 Little Pumpkins (by Dan Yaccarino)
We did the rhyme one more time through with the app.

Felt Board: Brown Owl, Brown Owl, What Do You See?
This adorable adaptation of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by  Bill Martin, Jr. is by Rebecca at Sturdy for Common Things and features all Halloween creatures. My same coworker made clipart versions of each creature, which I put up as I sang the song.

App: Go Away, Big Green Monster! (by Ed Emberly)
This book translates really well to the app format. The kids yell “Go away!” at each of the monster’s body parts and, since they can’t see what you’re doing on the iPad, the body parts disappear like MAGIC.

Go Away Big Green Monster
Screen shot of Go Away, Big Green Monster!

Scarves: We ended by doing a few songs with scarves.
There’s a Spider on the Floor (Raffi)
My Ups and Downs (Jim Gill)
Throwing our scarves in the air (we count to three and throw our scarves in the air)

Then the kids had time to do a craft and other activities. The craft was decorating pop-up haunted houses (also found on Sturdy for Common Things). I pre-cut the houses and the kids decorated with crayons and die-cut shapes.


I also made play dough, using this recipe, and scented the orange dough with pumpkin pie spice to give it a yummy smell.

Play Dough 2

Play Dough

We also had ghost bowling and cauldron bean bag tosses. On the way out, the kids got some goodies (a jack-o-lantern hand stamp, jack-o-lantern eraser, and pumpkin scratch-and-sniff bookmark). They seemed to have a great time and the families stuck around, taking their time with all the activities.

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