The month of October can be about much more than just trick-or-treating. Grab your computer or device and let kids experience these educational and fun offerings with a spooky flair.
Halloween has evolved over centuries from a Celtic holiday to a glorified costume party. But it can also be a time to use the fun aspects of the season and learn a little something along the way. There are plenty of videos, apps and games for kids of all ages that are educational and entertaining at the same time.
No Halloween would be complete without Charlie Brown and his Great Pumpkin. And Loudcrow Interactive has brought the animated television classic to life in an interactive book. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” allows users to create their own Peanuts character, go to Charlie Brown’s Halloween party and choose from millions of costume combinations. The story comes alive as players touch and drag objects, and it features sounds, music and dialogue from the 1966 original. Don’t forget to get the most out of the app by carving a pumpkin, playing Schroeder’s piano and bobbing for apples with your best pal Snoopy. This app is $4.99 for iOS and $2.99 in the Google Play store with in-app purchases.
Recommended for those ages 12 and up, Dave Morris’ Frankenstein is an interactive adaptation of Mary Shelley’s tale of terror. Frankenstein is your guide and you are his adviser as you decide the direction of the story in a choose-your-own-adventure style. The illustrations and text are beautiful and while the story is condensed, the app provides access to the full novel to read as well. The app for iPad and iPhone costs $3.99.
Ghost Typing is a simple game to play online that helps kids practice keyboarding. Words appear on ghosts that come closer and closer. Kids can become typing Ghostbusters as they try to key in the letters that appear before the ghosts get too close.
Surprising people you love by jumping out from a hiding place is an OG Halloween move, which you can do in Toca Boo. This game for iOS and Android costs $3.99 and allows kids to play as a little girl dressed up like a ghost. She can explore a huge, spooky house, hide in tons of places (even the toilet), interact with objects in the house and then scare family members. The ghost can eat things to get bigger scares and must stay out of the light to keep hidden. This game is recommended for kids ages 4 to 11 and aims to help them develop creativity. Plus, they’ll get a giggle out of the outlandish reactions from the characters they scare. App designer Chris Lindgren says this game can provide a great opportunity to talk with kids about emotions and that they are in charge of how they feel.
“With your help this can be a chance for your child to learn to manage emotions and become confident when taking on new challenges — useful things in everyday life,” Lindgren explained on the website.
This app costs $3.99 and is available in the App Store, the Google Play store and for Kindle Fire.
Many of the educational videos on YouTube have horribly over-the-top voices to appeal to children, but that can be excruciating for parents’ ears. If you’d like to allow your kids to watch fun and educational videos without needing earplugs for yourself, here are some that will be great for young ones and enjoyable for adults too.
Yoga for kids gets a Halloween vibe from Cosmic Kids Yoga with an episode on its YouTube channel that incorporates basic yoga moves with a story about a little girl who is a witch. It entertains children while getting them to move and stretch their bodies.
English Singsing has a delightful, simple video with the feel of a toddler’s board book to teach kids basic Halloween vocabulary.
For those wanting their children to know the origins of Halloween, try this fascinating video from Peekaboo Kidz. Little ones and their parents can learn all sorts of interesting facts. For instance, did you know Halloween began in Ireland and that Celts carved faces into turnips to light the way to their homes? Only when the tradition came to America did they discover that it was a lot easier on a pumpkin.
And finally, the Annie and Ben YouTube channel has a fun puzzle game where kids help monsters make correct choices about where they live, what they look like and what they eat.
Instead of using Halloween solely as a candy gathering venture, parents can use these apps, videos and games this season to help children learn a little before they rot their teeth out.