Banish Summer Boredom with the Best Interactive Activity Books for Kids – Part 1

Banish Summer Boredom with the Best Interactive Activity Books for Kids – Part 1

I love activity books for kids. They are a great way to show kids that books and reading are FUN. Carefully chosen interactive activity books provide enrichment for avid readers and motivation for struggling or reluctant readers. They’re available as both fiction and non-fiction, allowing kids to be exposed to a variety of texts.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

How to Use Activity Books for Kids

When my kids were little, I used this type of book as an alternative to screen time on weekends and school breaks, and in the car. I kept a few on hand in our craft cupboard, and would stock up before school breaks or road trips.

My family lives in a hot part of the country. During the summer it’s often too hot to play outside in the middle of the day. I pulled out activity books after lunch, to use until the late afternoon hours when it was cool enough to head for the front yard or the park. Of course, activity books are great for rainy or snowy days, too.

Activity books are great for adding some structured entertainment to play dates. I loved to take a few along to family gatherings to provide a fun experience for the cousins to enjoy together.

Do you ever feel that opportunities for casual family conversation are disappearing in our fast-paced, technology-driven lives? I sure do! Pull out a few interactive activity books for your family to work on together, and listen as the bonding begins.

Activity books are welcome gifts for your children’s friends; keep a few on hand to avoid last minute trips to the store.

In this post I’ve reviewed my favorite interactive activity books by Usborne Books & More. They offer beautifully designed, brightly colored books that come with toy vehicles, jigsaw puzzles and of course, STICKERS! Usborne Books & More has gorgeously illustrated books that feature painting, drawing, coloring, and paper crafting (such as origami or making paper airplanes.) There are detailed “Search & Spot” books, and classic puzzle books with games, mazes and puzzles.

Interactive Activity books are a fantastic addition to any family’s library. Scroll to take a peek at my favorites, and choose a few to banish summer boredom at your house!

 

Wind-Up Books

Wind-Up books come with a little themed wind-up vehicle which zooms around a track inside the book. The pages in between the tracks have a fun and engaging story to read aloud.  Each 10″ by 12″ book has a compartment to hold its matching wind-up vehicle so it doesn’t get lost. And winding up the vehicle provides some fine motor skill practice for your little one! Ages 3+.

Usborne Books Wind Up Books

 

Pull-Back Busy Books

The Pull-Back Busy Books come with a little matching vehicle or insect to go along with the story. To make one of these little toys move, pull it back on its wheels and let it go! Each 9″ by 11″ book has four tracks. The illustrations are detailed but clear, with lots of little items to look for as you go along. Parents and older siblings love these books, too! Ages 3+.

learning activity books for kids

 

Book and Jigsaw Puzzle Sets

These matching Book and Jigsaw Puzzle Sets come in a variety of subjects to suit kids of all ages. The puzzle images are beautiful illustrations, and range from 30 to 300 pieces. Some also include a black and white version for kids to color in with their own crayons, markers or colored pencils. These make a perfect activity for a quiet afternoon at home. Ages 6+.

educational activity books for kids

 

First Sticker Books

There are almost twenty First Sticker books to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that will delight your child. Each 8.5″ by 11″ book features themed scenes that your child can complete with the dozens of included stickers. The stickers are a little bigger than most, so that little hands can manage them easily. Many of them are labeled, providing opportunities for building vocabulary. These stickers can be re-positioned a few times before sticking permanently. Ages 4+.

 

Little Stickers Books

Each 16 page Little Stickers book comes with dozens of reusable stickers for tons of fun. The themes are perfect building vocabulary and background knowledge in your child; pets, the zoo, the aquarium and the farm. Plus, there’s a unicorn Little Stickers book! Keep one of these in your purse to pull out for spontaneous on-the-go fun.  Approximately 7″ by 9,” ages 3+.

Usborne Books Little Sticker Books

 

Sticker Dolly Dressing

The Sticker Dolly Dressing book series features a wide variety of themes ranging from sports to pets to princesses to weddings. Each 9″ by 12″ paperback includes hundreds of stickers to dress the characters. Ages 6+.

Usborne Books Sticker Dolly Dressing

 

Sticker Dolly Dressing Fashion Designer

This Sticker Dolly Dressing Fashion Designer set of books is more limited with only five titles, each related to the fashion world. The text offers design suggestions for dressing the characters. 9.5″ by 12″, ages 6+.

Usborne Books Sticker Dolly Dressing Fashion Designer

 

Little Sticker Dolly Dressing

These little 7″ by 9″ Little Sticker Dolly Dressing books are darling. Nine themes include unicorns, mermaids and princesses. Several of the titles are available in Spanish.  Ages 4+.

Usborne Books Little Sticker Dolly Dressing

 

1001 Things to Spot

These 1001 Things to Spot books will keep your child happy and busy for hours. Each 9″ by 10.5″ themed book features beautifully illustrated two page spreads with hidden items to find. Improve your child’s counting and observation skills with these nifty books. Ages 3+.

Usborne Books 1001 Things to Spot

 

Picture Puzzle Books

These jumbo 10″ by 12″ Picture Puzzle books are also full of hidden images to find. Each super-detailed two page spread contains hints and challenges. For instance, the clue “who has a mouthful of leaves?” is on a page full of different dinosaurs. Children develop thinking skills as they look for similarities, differences and various characteristics. These sturdy books are for ages 4+.

Usborne Books Picture Puzzle Books

 

Crossword Puzzle Books

These conveniently sized 5″ by 8″ Crossword Puzzle books are perfect for travel. In fact, one of the themes is “Travel” and another is “Vacation!” The puzzles in each book start out easy and increase in difficulty. The questions/prompts are in a variety of formats – some offer synonyms, and others are fill-in-the-blank facts. Ages 6+.

crossword puzzle books for kids

 

Trivia Books

These three 5″ by 8″ Trivia books are full of fascinating facts about animals, dinosaurs, and general knowledge. Ages 6+.

trivia books for kids

 

Logic Games

These 5″ by 8″ Logic Games and Logic Puzzles books are full of mind-bending logic puzzles, questions and games. Answers and solutions are included. Ages 6+, but these are pretty challenging and are better for slightly older kids, perhaps 8+.

Usborne Books Logic Puzzles

 

Color By Number Books

This set of four Color by Number books features detailed illustrations to color by number. As the spaces are filled in with color, objects and scenes are revealed. 8.5″ by 10″, ages 6+, except for My First Color by Numbers, which is for ages 4+.

color by number books for kids

 

Patterns to Color Books

These 8.5″ by 10″ Patterns to Color books feature much more detailed, intricate themed patterns. Ages 6+, but in my opinion these are better for kids with well-developed coloring skills. Once completed these could be framed and displayed or given as gifts.

Usborne Books Patterns to Color

 

Doodling Books

This collection contains a variety of books and card sets that offer a combination of doodling, drawing and coloring. Thick pages prevent markers from bleeding through. Sizes vary, generally for ages 6+.

Usborne Books Drawing Doodling and Coloring

 

This list of the best interactive activity books for kids grew so big we needed to split it into two posts. Don’t miss Part 2 – it’s got tons more awesome activity books.

Check out Part 2 of “Banish Boredom With Activity Books for Kids.

 

 

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travel activities for kidsActivity Books for Kids activity books for kids Activity Books for Kids

 


20+ Fun Toys and Games That Make it Easy to Learn the Alphabet

20+ Fun Toys and Games That Make it Easy to Learn the Alphabet

Toys and Games That Teach the Alphabet – In this post, I’ve curated a list of games and toys that make learning the alphabet easy and fun for everyone. Note: please check recommended ages and make sure products are appropriate and safe for your little ones.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

Bath Letters and Numbers

Foam Bath Letters and Numbers by Little Tykes help you create a literacy-rich learning environment everywhere in your home! They’re a great way to make alphabet learning part of bath-time fun.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Bean Bags

Alphabet Bean Bags are a versatile tool for reinforcing alphabet knowledge in a hands-on, kinesthetic way. They come with an activity guide with directions for hands-on alphabet games. Measuring 2.75″ by 2.75″, these felt beanbags are lightweight and easy for young children to handle.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Cookies

These cute 2″ Alphabet Cookies help reinforce letter recognition and beginning sounds, plus CVC words and vocabulary. They come in a sturdy jar with directions for four different games. You get the full alphabet plus extras of the letters that are used more often. Aside from the games that are included, you could use these for matching games, sorting games and bingo markers!how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden ABC/123 Blocks Set

This Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden ABC/123 Blocks Set is a classic.  The 1″ blocks are carved or printed with letters, numbers and pictures.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Jumbo ABC-123 Rug with Game Cards

This Jumbo ABC-123 Play Rug by Melissa & Doug can be used as decor in a kids’ room and as a game! It comes with 36 over-sized double-sided playing cards to match to the letters and numbers on the rug. It’s highly durable with a nonstick rubber backing. Best of all, there’s plenty of room for more than one child to play at a time.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Learning Resources Alphabet Marks The Spot Floor Mat

The Alphabet Marks The Spot Floor Mat is one of the the best ways I’ve found to let kids use gross motor skills and movement to learn the alphabet. It’s perfect for rainy or snowy days. Although the rug above is awesome, this mat is great because it can be stored away when not in use.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

LEGO DUPLO Play with Letters

The LEGO DUPLO Play with Letters set is a versatile choice that offers endless opportunities for hands-on alphabet learning.

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Soft Foam Blocks

These lightweight 5.5″ Alphabet Soft Foam Blocks are printed with uppercase letters. They provide opportunities for gross motor skill activities to build letter recognition.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Robot Transformer Action Figure Autobots

What a creative way for kids to work with the alphabet! These Alphabet Robot Transformer Action Figure Autobots are irresistible manipulatives for learning the alphabet.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Soup Sorters

Alphabet Soup Sorters offer plenty of opportunities for sorting and matching to learn letters and sounds. Each can holds little cardboard photos of items that start with that letter, plus the letters themselves. These are great for imaginative play as well as more structured activities.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Dinosaurs

These Alphabet Dinosaurs help kids learn lowercase and uppercase letters while developing fine motor strength and dexterity.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Memory Game

This Alphabet Memory Game is a terrific way to build lowercase and uppercase letter recognition and practice letter sounds. Add this to family game night!

how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Go Fish Letter Matching Card Game

Alphabet Go Fish is a classic that every child should play! Add this to family game night for extra practice with letters and sounds.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Bingo! Letter Learning Game for Kids

Alphabet Bingo is another classic for your game shelf. Instead of using a “caller” to say letters, this game has players reach into a bag and pull out a letter token, then check for a match.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

The manufacturer of these two games, Peaceable Kingdom, has a whole line of themed, educational games for kids. They’re awesome.

 

Alphabet Island – A Letter & Sounds Game

Alphabet Island – A Letter & Sounds Game provides practice matching lowercase and uppercase letters, and matching uppercase letters to letter sounds.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Slap Jack

I love these Alphabet Slap Jack cards for so many reasons. They are the size of a deck of standard playing cards and perfect to drop into your purse or keep in the car. Uppercase and lowercase letters are on separate cards, which adds tons of flexibility in playing games (directions included). The vowel cards feature pictures with the short vowel sound, which is much more useful than the long vowel sound. These are perfect for families on the go!how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Melissa & Doug ABC-123 Abacus

The little spinning tiles on this Melissa & Doug ABC-123 Abacus are so appealing to kids. This toy develops hand-eye coordination while providing practice with sounds and uppercase letters.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train

V-tech’s Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train is designed for your youngest learners, ages 1 to 3. It can be used as a push toy, a riding toy, or for floor play.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Phonics Bus

Oh my goodness, my parents gave this LeapFrog Alphabet Phonics Bus to my son 20 years ago! My kids spent endless hours intently pushing those letter buttons to see what sounds they would make. This updated version has four modes – letters, animals, games, and music. Each mode integrates letters and sounds in some way.LeapFrog Alphabet Phonics Bus

 

Spinning Lights Learning Hippo

Also by Vtech, this Spinning Lights Learning Hippo helps kids learn numbers in addition to the alphabet. Pull the bird “handle” down to learn about letters, sounds, objects, and animals. Press the ABC button to sing along to the alphabet song.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

AlphaPup Toy

The AlphaPup Toy by Vtech is a classic pull toy for toddlers and preschoolers. When your little one pulls AlphaPup along by the leash, 3 different educational songs play. Push the colorful stripes on AlphaPup’s sweater to hear letters and sounds. This cute toy comes in green or purple/pink.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Deluxe Letters and Numbers Wooden Stamp Set

This Deluxe Letters and Numbers Wooden Stamp Set by Melissa & Doug is a fantastic addition to any family’s arts and crafts cupboard. It comes with an alphabet and numbers activity pad.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

Alphabet Train Lacing Beads

Also by Melissa & Doug, Alphabet Train Lacing Beads develop fine motor dexterity while helping kids learn letters and sounds. These wooden “beads” can be used for matching, sorting, sequencing and spelling.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet

 

Alphabet Wooden Lacing Cards

These Alphabet Wooden Lacing Cards are old fashioned lacing cards themed with alphabet letters and matching images. Each lacing card features an uppercase and lowercase letter on one side with a matching picture on the other. They’re great for exposure to letters and sounds while kids are busy developing fine motor skills and dexterity.how to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet
You’re sure to find something on this list that will boost your child’s alphabet knowledge and help create a culture of reading and literacy in your home. What toys or games will your add to your family’s collection? Let me know in the comments!

 

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alphabet games and toys that teach the alphabet

 

 

How to Make it Easy for Your Kids to Develop a Gratitude Practice

gratitude journal for kidsThis post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission.

Today I’m sharing our gratitude journal for kids. It’s one of my favorite items from our line of Draw and Write Journals for Kids on Amazon.

365 Days of Gratitude – A Draw and Write Journal for Kids is a great tool for helping children develop a gratitude practice early in life.  At the same time, it gives parents a concrete strategy to support the development of reading and writing. Plus, it’s a valuable way to spend quality time together.

The journal is 8.5” by 11” and has 183 pages. This allows it to lie almost flat while your child is drawing and writing. Each two page spread has four spaces for your child togratitude journal for children draw and then dictate or write what they are grateful for.

There are so many ways to use our gratitude journal for kids. One easy way is to have your child draw a picture of what they are grateful for. Then, have them dictate a response to fill in the prompt “I am grateful for…” and write it down for them.

Dictation is a great way to model writing for younger children, and develop concepts about print. After you write, be sure to read it back to your child, touching once under each word. If it seems easy and casual and things are going well, ask your child to count how many words are in the sentence. Or, have them show you a particular word that you think they might know, perhaps the name of a sibling or a simple sight word.

Instead of drawing, your child could cut pictures out of a magazine. Or, you can find images online and print them out.

You could also use photos of family vacations and outings, or daily activities like eating dinner or playing outside. Your child will love to express gratitude about family members pictured in photos, or about the various rooms in your house. A fun option is to have your child pose with the item or person they are grateful for, take a digital photo and then print it out.

Instead of having your child dictate, they could fill in the prompt themselves, using their own spelling. Or, you could make it more of a shared task, encouraging your child to ask you when they are unsure about how to spell a word.

Depending upon the age of your child and the amount of time you have to record that day’s entry, you can choose if you want to illustrate with a drawing or a photo, and if you want to have your child dictate or write more independently.

This Draw and Write gratitude journal for kids is undated, so you can start it at any time. The beginning of a new calendar year in January is a great time to start. Or, a child could begin journaling after receiving this as a birthday gift.

No matter how you use 365 Days of Gratitude – A Draw and Write Journal for Kids, in the end your child will have a treasured keepsake.

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gratitude journal for children

 


7 Awesome Book Subscription Boxes That Will Delight Young Readers

7 Awesome Book Subscription Boxes That Will Delight Young Readers

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, A Family of Readers earns a small commission. 

I was so excited when book subscription boxes for kids became popular.

For years I’ve created themed gifts based on a specific book, or a specific subject. For instance, I might give a child The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and include a couple of related toys. Or, I might pick three favorite dinosaur books and add a plush dinosaur. One of my favorites was when I chose books for a friend’s two boys, and found matching pillowcases!

Subscription Book Boxesfor KidsWith book subscription boxes, I can give themed book gifts to the children in my life, and the giving goes on all year. This also gives me a way to connect with the recipients as the months go by. I like to check in every now and then by email or text to see what books and goodies have arrived. This gives my young reading friends an authentic reason to write, as they dictate to a parent or use budding keyboarding skills to reply.

Giving a book subscription box is a great way to build a child’s personal library, and expose them to new genres and subjects. For a reluctant reader, receiving a box in the mail each month creates a ton of excitement, which often transfers to the books themselves.

Read on to discover the best book subscription boxes for children of all ages.

 

 

Bookroo

Bookroo is geared for kids ages birth to 10. Depending on age, kids receive board books, picture books, or early chaptersubscription book boxes for children bookroo books, beautifully wrapped. For board books and picture books, the curators of this box are aiming for what they call “hidden” gems, rather than classics. Books are chosen through a rigorous review process which includes input from 12 families with young children.

Older children receive one “hidden gem” early chapter book, and one well-known “classic” early chapter book. Bookroo is a great book subscription box option for families who want some help expanding their library in new directions. $19.95 per month.

 

Reading Bug Box

book subscription boxes for kids Reading BugThe Reading Bug Box offers three options for book subscription boxes for kids. The Baby Bug Box is for ages 0-30 months, and includes three board books each month. The personalized Reading Bug Box is for kids ages 0-13, and includes three or four books based on the recipient’s age, gender, and interests. There is even a Reading Bug Box for 2, a personalized book subscription box for two children at the same address. $19.99 per month.

 

 

OwlCrate Jr.kids' subscription book boxes owlcrate jr

OwlCrate Jr. is a book subscription box for kids ages 8-12. Each box includes a middle-grade novel, as well as related goodies that are fun and educational. Examples are science or art activity kits, notebooks, bookmarks, writing tools and collectible toys. $27.99 per month.

 

 

The Story Box

book subscription boxes for childen The Story Box

The Story Box is for younger children, ages 0-6 years old, with three options to choose from. The Board Book package includes two board books each month. The Picture Book package includes two hardcover picture books each month. The Family package includes one board book and one picture book.

Books are chosen by a team that includes a speech pathologist. This team looks for books that have attractive illustrations, strong vocabulary, fun story lines, rhyming, and alliteration. A unique feature of these book subscription boxes is a helpful parent guide, with easy tips for supporting children’s speech, language, and pre-literacy skills. $14.99 per month.

 

 

Kid Curated Bookskids' book subscription boxes Kid Curated Books

Kid Curated Books offers boxes for four age groups ranging from 0-14. Parents provide detailed information about their child’s reading level and preferences, including what types of books to avoid. Parents can provide monthly feedback so that future book choices will better match their child’s needs and interests.

Each shipment contains four books. There’s a 15% discount when you sign up a sibling, and gift cards are available. $34.99 per box, with the option to deliver as often or as seldom as you like.

What I really love about Kid Curated Books is their stand alone book boxes for baby showers, holiday gifts, or birthdays. The baby shower boxes are my favorite. They include a variety of classic books with a matching onesie. Absolutely adorable, and so much easier than trying to track down so many themed items.

There are two STEM boxes for young engineers and scientists, and two “Girl Power” boxes for both younger and older girls. These boxes are beautifully packaged and include a card and a bookmark.

 

Amazon Prime Book Box

gift book box subscriptions amazon prime book boxAre you a Prime member? Amazon has added another benefit to its Prime membership. The Amazon Prime Book Box program is set up to send your child either four or two hardback books in each box, at up to a 40% discount from Amazon’s list price.

Age groups are baby-2 years old, ages 3-5, ages 6-8, and ages 9-12. A unique feature is that you can specify delivery every 1, 2 or 3 months. Five days before shipment, Amazon will send you a curated list to choose from, or you can let it be a surprise. $19.99 per box.

 

STEM Reads Book Clubsubscription book boxes gifts for kids STEM Reads

The STEM Reads Book Club is a monthly book club for children (ages 4-8) who love to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). 

Each themed box includes two (or more) handpicked, kid-friendly books, exclusive author notes, engaging learning activities, and fun surprises. Boxes often include new or recently released titles, including some from up-and-coming authors or publishers.

Books are chosen by a team of advisers with advanced STEM degrees and professional experience in science writing and editing. Subscriptions do sell out, so don’t delay if this book subscription box sounds like a good match for your young reader. $34.95 per month.

A book subscription box is a great gift for kids, and a fantastic way for you to support and encourage any young reader in your life. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do!

 

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Subscription Book Boxes for Kids