"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

IPad Storytime a.k.a Apps for Laps

Toca Band Dancing Clock

This month was the first time that my library branch offered IPad storytime to an audience of 3 to 6- year-olds and their grownups. We did two sessions two weeks apart. Here's what I showcased:

Session 1:

  • The Monster at the End of This Book ... Starring Grover! by Sesame Street, $4.99
Grover reads The Monster at the End of This Book,or you can read it yourself. The screen allows interaction, so kids can untie rope knots or knock down the wall that Grover builds. The group enjoyed it.

  • Toca Band by Toca Boca AB, Free
Put characters that make different sounds and do various actions onstage to make the band of your choice. Move them up higher on the stage and their routines become more complex with each level. There is a rapper, a whistler, some lady singers, various dancers, etc. This is my personal favorite, although it admittedly can become very annoying very fast. My favorite characters are scattered throughout this post. The 5-year-olds in the groups loved this app and played it most of the session!

Toca Band Cat


  • Endless Alphabet by Originator, Inc., $6.99
This is a fun app to learn the sounds that letters make and increase vocabulary and it features monsters! You choose a word that you'd like to learn, like "itchy" and the screen shows the word. Then the monsters run through, scattering the letters. Your job is to drag the letters where they belong and as you do, the letter you're touching makes its correct sound. When the word is reassembled, the monsters act it out, and the narrator defines the word. New words appear monthly.

Toca Band Frogs

Session 2:

Toca Band Piano Dancer

  • Go Away, Big Green Monster, No longer in ITunes :(
Just like the print book, Big Green Monster is described, and then you take him apart to make him disappear. Ed Emberley can read it, a child narrator can read it to you or you can read it yourself. You can touch the monster's eyes, nose, mouth etc. and they will react. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be available now.

  • Dr. Panda's Handyman by Dr. Panda Ltd, $2.99
I think that we have the free version of this, and it might be limited. In the one we own, kids can help repair and paint items in two rooms, for elephant and polar bear families. You can fix chairs and decide what color they should be, or put together a bunk bed, repair plumbing or knock down a door, replace it and paint it. It can even be polka dotted!

  • Finger Paint with Sounds by Inclusive Technology, Ltd, Free
As you choose colors and "paint" you make music or sound effects. Each color has a different type of music or noise. You can erase as you go or scrap the whole thing and start over. You can also save your favorites. This was the big hit for the 3 1/2-year-olds in the group.

Additionally, I told the adults about:

Felt Board by Software Smoothie, $2.99

This functions as a flannel board. You can choose your background, create characters and tell a story. There is lots of potential here. It is probably better for adults to direct the activity, because I think that it is a little harder to use than the other apps in this post. For example, when clothes are chosen for the characters, they don't just "hop" on. You have to line them up and put them on the body, so that, say, skin doesn't show beyond the edge of a sleeve. If your child isn't  frustrated by that, then let him or her go to it!

Toca Band Stomper says goodbye!

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