Every family should have a solid collection of books for toddlers. Interacting with books is one of the best ways for toddlers to develop early language skills. In addition, reading books together is a wonderful way for them to bond with their caregivers.
But then I probably don’t have to tell you that. It’s common knowledge that reading to little ones has a host of advantages, such as growing imagination, developing a natural curiosity about their world, and giving them a head start on learning in school.
Reading also increases attention span in toddlers, as it has for my little one. Since she was an infant, she has heard and watched me read to her sister, but it wasn’t until recently that she took an interest in sitting down and listening. Her ability to focus on tasks for an extended time has grown from her exposure to books (and also puzzles, as I talk about in 15+ Puzzles for Toddlers That They Will Love).
I really enjoyed doing this guide on books for toddlers! There are so many options for engaging little ones with books. It was fun to find the books that teach babies beginning science topics, and to pull out some old favorites that have been around since my boys were toddlers.
Books for toddlers age one or two are usually board books or otherwise difficult to destroy. My twins were big book rippers when they were two! They couldn’t be trusted with anything more than a board book until they were three. I made the mistake of sending one of them to bed with a children’s Bible once when he was two. When I went in to get him after nap, the entire Old Testament was spread all over his floor. He had ripped out every page and stopped on the first page of the New Testament. Wow! I guess he’s a new covenant guy.
Seriously, though. There are plenty of books for toddlers who are not yet ready for big kid books. There are also lots of regular, paper page books that you can enjoy together with your child or that he or she can read alone when they are old enough.
No matter how many books for toddlers you already have, I’m sure you’ll find something new on this list to pique your interest.
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I love this monthly subscription club for kids! You can sign up for one month, three months, six months, or a whole year. The retail value is always more than you’ve paid, so you can be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
You can choose three board books for children two and under, two picture books for ages 3-6, or two chapter books for ages 7-10. Cost with shipping starts at about $25/month for board books and picture books and about $30/month for chapter books.
These are a hit with kids because, in addition to the unique quality of the books, they come individually wrapped in wrapping paper. Are grandparents asking for gift ideas for your little one? This would be a wonderful and simple way for them to send a wrapped gift every month. Wouldn’t that be special, especially for the little ones who live far from their grandparents?
Bookroo chooses books that are unique, as they spend extra time to find hidden gems, so you aren’t likely to receive a book you already have. Also included in each package is a sheet with a synopsis of each book and a web link with extension activity ideas.
I read several reviews for Bookroo on a number of different websites and didn’t see a single negative comment anywhere. Do you know how hard that is to accomplish? It’s easy to see why it was voted one of Parents’ best subscription services of 2017.
Books for Toddlers Age 1 and Older
These sweet books were a favorite with all my toddlers! They introduce little ones to things such as baby animals, mealtime, Christmas, and birthday with fun, colorful pictures. If you’re looking for something specifically to provide a rich sensory experience, this might not be it, but all of my children loved them
Goodness, I wish I’d had these when my kids were toddlers! These amazing little books are perfect for toddlers who aren’t ready for paper yet. They have the look and feel of paper, yet as the name says, they are indestructible. Babies and toddlers can chew, bend, pull, and grab all they want, and they are washable too! The text is very simple, with many of them having no words at all. Great for little ones to read with a grown up or on their own. There are so many to choose from, here are just a few: Jingle Baby, Things That Go, Baby Faces, and Love You, Baby. Click on the link above to see more.
Ditty Bird interactive books are a favorite for little ones! These chunky sound books are perfect for active toddlers who love music. “Active toddlers” who “love music.” That pretty much sums up every toddler ever, doesn’t it? They also have three different gift sets that include instruments or toy animals. Look for Musical Instrument Sounds, Nursery Rhymes, Farm Animal Sounds, and more.
Word Books for Toddlers
Word books are great books for toddlers of all ages, but especially for those who aren’t yet ready to sit down and read a story with you. The photos and illustrations will grab your little one’s attention and provide them a great first experience with books.
This book is a favorite at our house. My boys enjoyed it when they were little, and my girls loved it as well. It is a fantastic way for babies to develop language skills while learning more about their world. The bright, real life photos grab toddlers’ attention and make them want to read it again and again. This was a special favorite of my three year old when she was one and two, as all her favorite books were word books.
DK tabbed board books are a fabulous series of word books for little ones. Just as in First 100 Words, these books include colorful, real life photos of objects in their world. Babies and toddlers will want to read these with you and on their own. They can choose a tab on the side of the book to go straight to the page they want. There are trucks and diggers, zoo, playtime, and busy town, just to name a few.
Science Books for Toddlers
Science books for toddlers seem to have taken off recently. What a fun way for your little one to bond with all the science lovers in his life! Check these out! And if you’re looking for STEM toys for toddlers, check out this guide while you’re here.
Baby University books teach toddlers the very basic concepts of quantum physics, rocket science, math, and general relativity. Oh my goodness, what? I don’t even know what most of these words mean. But thankfully these books were written by people who actually know these subjects. What a unique way to introduce little ones to science and math in a fun and simple way. Click the link above to see even more.
The Baby Loves Science series is another set of books for toddlers to learn these basic concepts. But from what I can tell with my science-limited brain, the Baby Love Science series covers different topics than Baby University. Your little one can learn coding, aerospace engineering, quarks, and gravity, and more.
Books for Toddlers Age 2 and Older
Every list of books for toddlers needs to have at least one potty book, right? This book is a fun combination of an alphabet book and a potty book, as each animal’s page contains a rhyme about going to the potty. This would keep your little ones busy for a long time while they sit on the potty!
I love books that little ones can “read” on their own. This classic book provides a wonderful way to practice animal names and colors. They can easily learn the rhythm of this book, and as they turn the page and see the color of the animal, they can “read” it themselves.
At our house, we love, love, love Sandra Boynton! Her books are filled with funny animal characters pretty much being silly no matter what they’re doing. That’s why toddlers love them so much, right? Through the fun, little ones learn animal sounds, counting, colors, and more. Blue Hat Green Hat is one of our favorites, because toddlers can enjoy reading it on their own. Here are a few more of our favorites, but you really can’t go wrong with any Boynton board books.
This book is super popular with both kids and parents. It’s the story of a giraffe who wants to dance, but is told he can’t until he gets some great advice from a friend. Comes in hardcover, paperback, and board book.
This book is a favorite bedtime story for kids and parents alike. It begins with construction vehicles working hard at a construction site, then highlights each one as it goes to sleep for the night. The whimsical illustrations and rhyming cadence will hold your toddler’s attention and prepare them for going to sleep as well.
Comes in hardcover, paperback, board book, and even a glow in the dark edition. Fans can also get a matching game, sound book, or gift set with a plush crane.
The only complaint I see is that all the construction vehicles are male. This is remedied in the book that follows, Mighty, Mighty Construction Site. So if that is an issue for you, maybe you could just skip to that book!
Made For Me
Made For Me is a great alternative to the many mommy books on the market, as it is meant to be read by fathers to their little ones. Full of heartwarming, tender moments, it is a wonderful way to strengthen the bond between father and child!
Books for Toddlers Age 3 and Older
Reviews indicate that this poignant book is a wonderful read for children of all ages. The focus is not so much on what job children will have when they grow up, but on character traits such as kindness, courage, and creativity. There is also a beautiful, illustrated growth chart for the wall that can be purchased separately.
Welcome to the Symphony
Using Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, this book introduces children to classical music in a fun and educational way. They will learn the basics of the symphony, music, different musical instruments, and melody and harmony, through the story line and 19 different sound buttons.
The only complaint I see is that the batteries don’t last long, and some of the books actually come with dead batteries. Oops! So maybe purchase a replacement set of batteries. And if you’re giving it as a gift, check to see that the batteries work first!
I love these unique books for older toddlers. Each one starts by teaching little ones how to ask questions and use their senses to explore and learn. They are a fun way to introduce these basic concepts through exploration. The illustrations are bright and fun, capturing the reader’s attention and piquing their curiosity.
We found this book at the library, and my girls love it so much! It includes so many fun and easy experiments, I’m thinking of getting a copy to get us through the cold winter days when they can’t play outside anymore.
This is so much more than a simple cookbook for kids! Like the other two, it starts by demonstrating what kinds of questions to ask to help little ones be more aware of what they’re experiencing when they cook and eat. Then it teaches how we use all of our senses when we eat. After that, children can create many different recipes with the help of an adult. Mixed in with the recipes, you’ll find fun food-based experiments as well.
This book contains ideas for several different projects to make and build for the budding engineer. The first is an awesome paint pendulum to teach about gravity. What a fun way for little ones to learn!
Usborne Books have been a household name for several years. They are a favorite of many kids and parents. Here is what Tiffany from The Crazy Shopping Cart has to say about Usborne:
“There is no possible way to choose just one favorite book from the Usborne series – I love all of them! There are a ton of educational books that teach values like kindnesss, or explore different aspects of science and social studies.”
Sarah Shaver, independent Usborne consultant, has put together some favorites for the younger crowd. See what she has to say about these books…
This is such a sweet book of friends taking care of each other. Designed for 3-5 year olds, and it includes some reusable stickers shaped like bandaids.
This book is the perfect wind-down book as each page expounds on a letter of the alphabet (starting with A) as they get ready for bed.
Filled with colorful characters and paired with rattle handles, this cuddly cloth book is perfect for travel time, tummy time, or any time! My 5 month old adores it!
This book is awesome for 2 years and up or whenever you start potty training. The book introduces young children to bodily functions, taking the “shame” away through a very funny flap book!
This is my daughter’s favorite from 9 months old. The bright pictures, with their patches of different textures, are designed to develop sensory and language awareness. Babies and toddlers will love turning the pages and touching the feely patches. My daughter learned to turn pages with this book (cue all the mommy tears, haha!).
Sarah also has a great opportunity for a Book Advent or anyone looking for 12 days of Christmas gifts for their little ones.
Here are the details:
“You buy 12 or 25 books, 12 days of Christmas or a book for every day leading up to Christmas. I’ll wrap each one individually and then connect with you so you can have them for the kiddos in your life. Doesn’t that sound awesome? I am so excited to do this for my girls! Contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get that deal.”
Looking for More Gift Ideas?
Whew! That was quite a list, wasn’t it? I love having a huge variety of books for toddlers on hand, and these would make a great addition to any collection. Do you have any of the books mentioned here? What would you add? My readers and I would love to hear your experiences. Please share in the comments!
Books are a wonderful gift for children of all ages. What else are the little ones in your life interested in? This is part of a whole series of toddler gift guides. Check out the others!
Start here with the ultimate guide: How to Choose the Best Gifts for Toddlers