How can the digital age use the tried-and-true concept of a picture book to create something new and wonderful for children? How about art that is as large as a child? How about details that can be examined up close while interacting with a (FREE) app on an iPad?
This is the concept behind the KIWI (Kids Interactive Walk-In) Storybooks: 5 ft. x 7 ft. paneled screens magnificently illustrated by award-winning children’s author/illustrator Roxie Munro for kids from kindergarten through 5th grade. The lightweight, yet sturdy frames of the screens can be easily assembled and dismantled, and there are panels for eleven themes: Farm and Maze, Fire Station, Space Station and Castle, to name a few. The Velcro panels are easy to change and insert. The free apps for each KIWI StoryBook, which can be downloaded onto iPads, can initiate a scavenger hunt — searching for plants and animals in the desert or rainforest — or help a child discover sounds familiar to the Old West, or make a digital jigsaw puzzle of a photo of the art, or let a child record and edit an original movie. And that’s just the hi-tech part.
If you want to keep the experience in the analog/real world, how about using the panoramic screen as the backdrop for a play? Author and playwright Douglas Love has created scripts for each backdrop so kids can produce a four-person skit or a two-act play for seventeen characters or just improvise a scenario based on some suggestions. There is nothing quite like the collaborative work of theater to motivate and inspire children to learn and share what they’ve learned with others.
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