Mr. Sandman: Fear of the Dark


Developed by:Small Planet Digital


Ages 4-7

Mr. Sandman: Fear of the Dark has the most beautiful page turns I’ve ever seen in an 
app! Sigh. My son especially loves the page where you touch a star in the distance and 
shoot through other stars into the next scene.

Get Ready 

Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities:

Bring Me a Dream

Explain to your child that “Mr. Sandman” is a magical figure in stories who puts sand in 
the eyes of children to make them sleepy. The “sand” is thought to be the dried rheum 
(or, as we say in my house, “eye boogies”) found in one’s eyes upon waking. Enhance 
your child’s experience with the song, “Mr. Sandman” by The Chordettes. 



It is perfectly normal for kids to develop fears. Talk to your child about his/her fears. What makes some things scary? What makes us feel safe? My son, for instance, is afraid of the dark but sleeps with a nightlight to help him feel safer. Explore this topic further by reading Dr. Seuss’ story, What Was I Scared Of? or Lemony Snicket’s award-winning tale, The Dark. Books that address different fears are Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes and Swimmy by Leo Lionni.


Dive In 

Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities:


Predictions help set a purpose for reading and enable kids to become more active learners. In order to make a strong prediction, a reader combines what he/she already knows with information from the story to make a guess about what will happen next. Ask your child to make predictions throughout the text and confirm whether his/her predictions actually occurred. For instance, your child may predict that the owl will help the boy get over his fear of the dark (confirmed).


Owl Time 

In literature, owls are mysterious symbols of wisdom that spark curiosity in children. 
Advance your child’s knowledge of owls using the San Diego Zoo’s fascinating online 
. There, you’ll find videos, fun facts, photos, and much more. 


Branch Out 

Extend the app experience with a real life activity:

Shadow Watching

Help dispel the fear behind night shadows by studying shadows during the day. Take a 
walk outside and ask your child to point out shadows, as well as their respective position 
to the sun. S/he may notice a shadow by a tree, mailbox, or parked car with the sun 
facing it. Use this paper to draw his/her observations about shadow and light. 



Did you know that scientists divide up the sky into 88 constellations? A constellation is a 
group of stars that form a pattern visible in the night sky. These patterns may look like a 
person, object, or animal (as seen in this app). Immerse yourself in the stars with these 
kid-friendly activities: 

  • Sing along to this fun song about constellations 
  • Take a look at an interactive sky map and explore the constellations 
  • Master the night sky with a constellation game 
  • Practice the outline of several constellations with lace-up cards  


Positive and Negative Space

It’s safe to say that the artwork in this app is phenomenal. The use of positive and 
negative space creates memorable images that complement the text beautifully. 
Positive spaces are those inhabited by the main subjects of the image, while negative 
spaces are the areas around and behind the positive spaces. Essentially, both positive 
and negative spaces have distinct shapes. Extend your child’s understanding of positive 
and negative spaces with this cool art project. All you’ll need are 9”x12” sheets of 
construction paper, scissors, and glue.