Spooky Tales Storytime

Halloween is a fun time of year to explore the darker side of the imagination with kids. To that end, I traditionally perform a “Spooky tales” storytime for the preschool age group. Today I’m going to share what I did in my storytime this past Friday (day before Halloween). I’ll skip over my opening and closing songs – and get right to the meat of the program.

Make It Age-Appropriate
Because my Friday morning “Playtime Storytimes” are usually composed of toddlers with an occasional sprinkling of preschoolers, I tend to select books for the older toddler age set. I should add that all three books I chose would work equally well with the preschoolers. I’ll share some more of my spooky favorites here. When working with younger children, I also tend to use more songs, rhymes, and hands-on activities, as you’ll see below.

Spooky Tales: Storytime Plan

[Opening Songs]

https://hillarydodgecom.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/81b3c-little2bgoblins2bten.jpg?w=736

Book: Littles Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane

One of my all-time favorite books, this is a monster version of the “Over in the Meadow” rhyme. I like this book for a few reasons – the rhymes are solid (not stretched and messy); the illustrations are delightful and cute; and fathers are well represented (it’s not all about the moms).

Action Rhyme: “Hurry-Scurry Little Spider”

Hurry-scurry little spider

Starts down at your toes. (tickle toes)

Hurry-scurry little spider

Past your knees he goes. (tickle knees)

Hurry-scurry little spider

Past where your tummy is. (tickle tummy)

Hurry-scurry little spider

Gives you a spidery kiss. (spider kiss!)

Activity: A Spider Web is My Home

https://hillarydodgecom.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/4c91e-spiderweb.jpg?w=975&h=731

I began this activity by talking with the children about their homes. Then I asked the children if they knew where spiders lived. We talked about the different kinds of webs and where they could be found. Then I handed each of the children two spiders (cut from printer paper) and asked them to go find a home for their spiders. The children then got to run around and explore the room, looking under tables and beside plants for spiderwebs.

For the webs, I glued printed pictures onto a black background. Then I stuck strips of double-sided tape onto the front of the webs.

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Book: Skeleton Cat by Kristyn Crow

I just discovered this book this year while reading Halloween books to my daughter. And this has become a new favorite. It’s a silly story but I really like the rhythm built into the lines. It is fun for a clap-along or stomp-along read aloud.

Prop Rhyme: “How Are You Feeling, Little Pumpkin?”

I am Jack-o-Happy.
I am Jack-o-Mad.
I am Jack-o-Sleepy.
I am Jack-o-Sad.
I am Jack-o-Big.
I am Jack-o-Small.
I am Jack-o-Pie, the best of them all.

During this rhyme, I used various pumpkin faces on Popsicle sticks. When I introduced each pumpkin, I made a similar face and most of the children followed suit and made faces as well.

Egg shaker Song: “Shake Dem Skeleton Bones”

Hand out egg-shakers and dance along!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns91jtuPHZI

Dem bones, dem skeleton dry bones,
Dem bones, dem skeleton dry bones,
Dem bones, dem skeleton dry bones,

Now shake dem skeleton bones!

The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone,
The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones,
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones,
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

The hip bone’s connected to the back bone
The back bone’s connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone’s connected to the head bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

The finger bone’s connected to the hand bone,
The hand bone’s connected to the arm bone,
The arm bone’s connected to the shoulder bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

https://hillarydodgecom.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/dae82-one2bwitch.jpg?w=736

Book: One Witch by Laura Leuck

Another all time favorite. I must say that the illustrations are king in this book. I love the inventiveness in which the illustrator designs the monsters’ abodes. Also, its a list story involving the making of a stew. (And for some reason unbeknownst to myself, I happen to really love books about food.)

Activity: Creepy Stew

With the help of my local Michael’s craft store and their 70% off Halloween sale, I was able to acquire some creepy odds and ends for this storytime activity. To begin, I asked the children to gather close. We formed a circle and I asked for their help in making a creepy stew. Then I produced one creepy ingredient at a time, passing them around for the children to touch, before adding it into the center of our circle. We then pretended to stir and taste the stew. Silly, really, but the kiddos liked it.

Here’s what was in our stew: frog skeleton, green pumpkin, a sag of spider eggs, the skin of a pygmy halloween crocodile, a hand full of toadstools, three giant cockroaches, a bottle of bug spit, a giant’s eyeball, and black roses picked at midnight.

In Review
It’s a must to have fun in storytime. As a storytime leader, I also want to have fun in thinking up new activities and games for the children to enjoy.

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