Going to the Library and reading is a popular activity in our house. I mean, with our library activities we’ve discovered and finding our favourite touch and feel books, who wouldn’t be enjoying life on the reading rainbow? There is so much to see, read, and learn, so many adventures to be had and day dreams to get lost in as we let our imaginations run wild with new ideas learned from books.
Reading to your child from even before they are born has shown to have benefits. And while reading a book to a belly, or baby, seems pointless, it does have great benefits. But, you know, books are so much more fun when your kid understands how to listen and follow along with the pictures or an activity. To keep a toddler interested in a book I often find I need to incorporate some sort of activity otherwise there is nothing keeping his attention on the pages.
Not that I don’t think you read, or that you don’t know the benefits of reading… I mean, you’re reading right now, reaping the benefits of reading (am I right?), but here is a quick list of benefits to reading with your Little. Reading with them for even 5 minutes a day can drastically improve their life.
- Imagination Station. By reading words and looking at pictures versus a screen which presents the entire story before you, your child uses their brain to picture the story in motion. Using their imagination continues after reading by incorporating things they’d been inspired by books into their everyday life adventures.
- Reading Skills. Even before your Little can actually read, they can understand what words say by recognition. I’ve seen those Baby Einstein commercials where a 9 month old baby can read words and communicate back what they meant. That’s wicked awesome! I couldn’t commit to doing that, but I can commit to helping Gregory recognize letters and words by exposing them to him for a few minutes a day, at the very least, by way of reading a short book.
- Concentration. Sitting and keeping focus on one object is difficult when there is the whole world to explore. Why do you think kids have such a hard time going to sleep? There’s much too much to discover, and we’re trying to force them to shut off for 8-10 hours? Are us parents crazy or what? By encouraging your child to sit, listen, read and talk about the pictures to keep their attention, you are providing a moment where they can practice concentrating on one thing. It’s a discipline, to sit and continue at something even though there might be something more entertaining or enjoyable waiting just an arms reach away. I have this struggle as an adult, I call it procrastination.
- Building Relationships. Whomever is reading the book; mom, dad, grandma, sister, the baby sitter, daycare… they are building a relationship with that child. My favourite teacher growing up was Mrs. Markle, grade 1-2, Happy Valley Elementry (before the fire). She read books to us, she sang songs with us, she played games with us… she built a relationship with her students and two decades later I wish I could walk into her classroom and join in as she reads. It might not seem like much, but story-tellers are important people in the community. Very, VERY important. They teach lessons, they are kind, they are adventurous without being adventurous because they’re taking a child on an adventure. Adventure, adventure, adventure. I didn’t write it enough in that last sentence, had to throw a few more in there. 😉
- It’s Calming. Reading is a quiet activity, and it makes your eyes concentrate which in turns makes them tired. Reading before bed helps children (and adults) fall asleep faster by tricking your eyes into becoming heavier. And with your Brain already in imagination station, it doesn’t take much to set off to Dreamland. When your child is restless, try reading a few of their favourite books.
Books don’t have to be just stories. Earlier I mentioned our Touch and Feel Book post, where I give you 4 RAD T&F recommendations. That is just one kind of ‘activity’ book. Another kind of activity book is one you buy at walmart that helps your child learn math skills aimed grades 1-5, or English skills, or writing skills. I used to love those kind of activity books.
I was a nerd who loved to learn. Today I am introducing you to a wide range of activity books that we are enjoying here at our RAD house. They are great because we read them, and interact in some way that makes this activity more than just reading a book. We make memories.
Oh, and did I mention if you are trying to find some way to pass the time until your spouse comes home from work, these activity books will last much longer than reading a regular book. Another plus side of these books aside from applying another set of learning skills to your reading time.
Frog in the Kitchen Sink
This is a fun book because the frog has googly-eyes that changes faces as you turn the pages. Gregory loves shaking the book so the eyes go all crazy. The story is longer and has lots of words, we’ve yet to make it through the whole book reading. But that’s okay. We often make up our own story each time we read. This book will be kept in our book bin for a long time to come. I need to make sure my Bean knows where not to put frogs. He’s a boy… I’m waiting for the day he brings a snake, spider or frog into my house to show me.
Lucy Lobster and her Clacky Claws
I like these little books because they are easily thrown into a backpack and taken along for a car ride, restaurant or travel day somewhere. I like Lucy Lobster because we get to clickity clack her claw and make some noise as we read. Reading doesn’t always have to be quiet you know. Lucy is a lobster who thinks her claws are too big and your Little can CLICK CLACK the claw as you read the story to them. We also like to pretend Lucy is going to clack our noses and clip our fingers off.
The Littlest Puppy
This is a simple puppet book. Just shove a finger in the back of the book and suddenly you’ve got an interactive puppy squirming through your book. Gregory likes to try and bite my finger as it wriggles inside, then we switch and he pretends to bark and eat the food in the picture as he is the littlest puppy in the book. Basically my son is role-playing and he’s only two, pretty friggin impressive if I do say so myself. haha
Hickory Dickory Dock My First Clock
This book I could have waited a few years to buy, but Gregory and I love to sing hickory dickory dock before bed as we listen to his clock go tick tock tick tock. I bought this book at Value Village for a dollar, and it’s super cool because there is a moving clock in the center. Have your Little turn the hand and watch the cogs turn and hour hand move as well. Or have your older child learn how to tell time with this! With a train, a giraffe, lots of mice to count on each page, this book has tons of entertainment.
Turn it Up, Doris!
Doris is a monster, your hand is the puppet. If your Little enjoyed Monsters Inc they will enjoy this book. The monsters are silly and fun, there is lots of sounds to follow along with, and you can even have Doris pretend to eat and drink with your little pretending to feed her. You’re controller her mouth, which is more advanced than the little puppy above. Gregory likes to attempt to be Doris, although his little hands aren’t quite big enough to move her yet. This book is lots of fun.
My Candy Castle
Lift-the-flap books are great to play with Littles. Although they might destroy them. I had several Christmas lift-the-flap and pull/slide books but they were all destroyed quickly. Something about Candy and Cats though… learning to lift the flaps was a challenge, but one that Gregory took on like a champ. Finding Ice cream, lollipops, apples and kitties, what isn’t to like about a Candy Castle? These types of books can be a hit or miss, I purchase mine second hand because I am never sure if they will last. This one, however, has. Maybe the candy and kitty aspect will work for your little too.
Look at ME!
Gregory’s favourite book, well, one of his favourite. He has lots. But his is a super fun book because we hold it up to our face and our eyes pop through the two holes. Suddenly, I’m not mommy, I’m a bear! or a Lion! ROOOAAARRR! Use this book as a mask and pretend to be different animals, practice making their sounds, and try not to get your eyeballs poked out. Yeah, that might be why it’s Gregory’s favourite, he likes to rush up with his fingers and try to get my eyes. ouch, but it’s still a wicked awesome book we play with daily.
There you have it, 6 RAD Interactive books for you and your Little to read. I love that there are so many kinds of books, I feel like we’ve read so many, but we’ve read none compared to the amount of books available in the world. Do you have any awesome books that require more interaction than just reading the words and looking at the pictures? Sharing is Caring and you know we love getting your RAD suggestions. I am willing to hunt down a book at the library if you say it’s a good one, head on over to your library and try to find one of these to enjoy.
Book Images Courtesy of
Frog in the Kitchen Sink – http://www.amazon.com/Frog-Kitchen-Sink-Jim-Post/dp/1449467091