After the less than enthusiastic responses to the print books I read (tried to read) during my first storytimes, I decided to ditch the book and do an entirely digital program for this last one. I did a lot of thinking about what the point of the storytime was:
- to model good apping and joint media engagement to parents
- to address concerns about media use for hesitant families
- to gently steer families who use new media as a babysitter in a different direction
- to provide concrete and quality app recommendations and RA (AA? App Advisory?)
- to provide access to both tech hardware (the iPads) and software (paid apps that they can try before purchasing)
- to provide an alternative format to traditional, book-based storytime for kids who are not developmentally able to handle a regular storytime, no matter how much singing and dancing we do
If trying to read a print book was creating a negative experience for bored kids and parents trying to get them to sit still, then I would nix it. Instead, I made sure to have plenty of books on display along with the toys and iPads for exploration and play at the end of the program.
And it was GREAT. I had a good turn out, and didn’t lose interest of the kids at all. One family came really late, and the kids who were already there didn’t even mind when I went back and re-demo’d some apps that we had already tried– they were happy to help show them off! All the kids were a little older this time, and they were up on their feet playing along with our interactive apps.
Starting in September, this program will be re-born as Appy Hour. I’ll still start with a good book app, demo a few more apps around a theme, and then open it up to free play. After a great twitter conversation with Carissa (aka my app storytime fairy godmother) I’m considering adding a real world craft or hands on experience around the theme. I’ll also have an app bookmark with some tips for joint media engagement, and a handout with the apps we look at each night.
ANYWAY. The apps.
Book app: Four Little Corners
Demo: Super Stretch Yoga
I’ve already learned that the book You are a lion! is magic (entire preschool classes will sit quietly and breathe deeply), and this app had a similar effect on all the kids.
Demo: Story dice
Each kid took a turn “rolling” 3 dice and telling a story!
This was were I talked about playing together as a family and snuck in some joint media engagement tips.
All of these apps were GREAT.