Not every toddler will just sit while you read a story. Some want to be an active part of the story – and that’s okay! Here are some interactive books for toddlers to get that kid reading!
When I first found out I was pregnant, one of my first “ideals” of motherhood was that I will be “the one” that reads books to him daily. I’ll encourage him to read, provide a huge library of books, and it will be “our special time.”
Yet, like many pre-motherhood visions, I slowly learned the truth. Toddlers don’t like to sit. Okay, some might, but many many toddlers (mine included) like to be doing something, be it running around, or “reading” the book too.
This list of some of our favorite interactive books for toddlers really make reading time fun for both of us. I chose one or two in a few different categories, so that you can experiment a little. I included my suggestion (mostly from our personal library) as well, but categorized them so that you can choose something similar that works.
10 Favorite Interactive Books for Toddlers:
(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.)
1. Finger puppet books: These books have a built in finger puppet, so that you or your child can animate the story. It’s great for older toddlers who enjoy role play, or for younger ones who will enjoy it when you act out the story (and my even try to grab the moving puppet!
- Suggestion from our bookshelf: The Littlest Kitten
2. Touchy-feely books: Interestingly, I see texture books featured more in baby book lists (such as my First Board Books list). But toddlers love sensory exploration. You can take it up a level, by actually discussing the textures, and talking about the animals.
- Suggestion from our bookshelf: Z0o’s Who
3. Active books: Possibly a little harder to come by, active books actually get your toddler moving! In Head to Toe by Eric Carle, you’ll encourage your tot to do the same things the animals do. M is very active, and so this kind of book is perfect for him. If you know of any others, feel free to suggest it in the comments below!
- Suggestion from our bookshelf: From Head to Toe
4-5. Seek and find books: These books are so perfect for toddlers whose language is still developing. Choose the words that they already know, or like best, and find it in the book! You can also try new words that your tot may recognize. For example, in Things That Go, my toddler is more ready to point out the airplane or bike. But we still look for the car and bus, since he knows those objects (though not the words.)
- Suggestions from our bookshelf: Little Hide & Seek: Things That Go and Spot the Puppy in the City (this is actually a whole “Spot the xx in the xx” series and is lots of fun beyond toddlerhood!)
6. Sound imitation: All of reading helps language development, but if you have a toddler who loves mimicking, this type of book is perfect. M is obsessed with copying the random noises things make (door close = kabum! Buckle = cik! Phone ringing = dalalum!) In Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You? you encourage your toddler to make the animal noises too.
- Suggestions from our bookshelf: Mr. Brown Can Moo can you?
7-8. Lift the flap books: When you hear “interactive books for toddlers” the first thing that comes to mind is probably flap books. And it’s not for nothing. These really engage my toddler, keeping him busier than any other books. They are a go-to both for story time, and for quiet time (when he reads to himself.) Just keep it supervised, as toddlers tend to tear the flaps off.
- Suggestions from our bookshelf: Elmo’s Big Lift & Look Book is a classic, and Where’s Arthur’s Gerbil? is a favorite. There are lots more Arthur lift-the-flap books and M loves all of them.
9. For following basic instructions: Some interactive books for toddlers include basic sets of instructions. Toddlerhood is a time when your child learns to follow instructions (stand up, put it away…) so such books are perfect for the stage.
- Suggestion from the library: Don’t Push the Button! (it includes both “don’t” and “do” instructions and is very funny for those of you who like a little silliness.)
10. Etc. Since the children’s book market is a full one, there are many interactive books out there. All have one thing in common: There is something for your child to DO! Visit the library, see what you like, and then go and add it to your bookshelf at home! You can find more suggestions for interactive books for toddlers over at Sunny Day Family.
- Suggestion from a friend: Push the button
What are your favorite interactive books for toddlers? Comment below – I’m always looking for new options!