Monday, October 12, 2015

The Chocolate Chip Ghost (and other colors)

Story:  The Chocolate Chip Ghost  by Meighan Piefer & Phyllis French
Props:   Felt Ghosts + Felt Board; colored food props or pictures (optional)
Presenters:   one
Audience:   Toddler, Preschool

I keep trying to get back to this blog, and my motivation this time is to get in a good Halloween story before the holiday happens.  This a favorite among pre-school teachers and librarians, but not everyone knows it.  I've pretty sure that I've  never actually seen the book:  I learned it as a felt board story from someone years ago.  I don't do many stories with felt, mostly because I'm so completely unskilled at scissors, patterns, and just general crafty creativity.  But these shapes are even simple enough for me.  You just cut out five small ghosts and one big one.  I made the big one into a simple flat puppet, but it works fine as just a felt shape.

 Then you tell the story, which is basically this:

Mother Ghost goes to the store to get some food.  She tells her five little ghosts not to have anything but milk when she's gone.  One by one, each ghost goes to the fridge and gets something that's not milk, but something with a distinct color.  Ghost one gets a tomato.  [pick her up and bring her behind the felt board; show the tomato].  And when she came back, she!  [switch white ghost for red ghost and put that one back on the board].

Then then next three ghosts do the same thing, with different colors and different fruits or vegetables.  Play food or real food both work fine.

That simple anticipation and guessing game, where the kids guess what the ghost will eat and what color she'll turn to, along with the satisfying visual image of that brightly colored ghost, works just great.  Similar in effect to doing Pete the Cat: I Love My Red Shoes with colored shoes.  

Then there's a neat twist at the end, when the last little ghost finds the refrigerator empty, so she looks in the freezer.  I usually let the kids know that she found some ice cream, ask them to guess what flavor, then show the decorated ghost and they all get that it was chocolate chip ice cream. 

For the food props, you can use real food, toy food, or if you don't have either, just print out a picture. Actually pictures might work even better because you can stick them to the board, though I've never tried it that way.

The humor and surprises in this story are right on target for two and three year olds, but it's also engaging enough for ones and surprisingly fascinating to four and five year olds as well.  And for toddlers it's has just the right level of Halloweenishness, with the least scary ghosts ever.   

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