We all know the benefits of reading to children from an early early age, so i won’t bore people by talking and advocating more about it here. I started reading to the kids since they were babies, but i remembered when i first had my oldest, i wasn’t sure what sort of books would interest him and what he would like to look at. So this post will hopefully be helpful to first time moms out there who need a little idea on where to start if you want to start reading to your babies. It is also my way of indulging in a bit of nostalgia (reminiscing about my older children’s favorite first books), as well as documenting what my little baby boy who is growing up too fast, is “reading” right now. In part 2 Reading to children – Part 2, i will share our favorite books for older preschool children, and reference books for preschoolers in part 3 Reading to Children – Part 3.
- Touch and feel tactile books.
The common name for the tactile books are touch and feel books. They are essentially books that makes use of different materials such as fabric, ribbed paper or even rubbery materials to make up part of the page. As the child flips, they would be attracted by the bright pictures, and their fingers and hands will run over the different sensory bits. Back then, my oldest would barely even look at the pictures, but his hands and fingers would run through the furry and crinkly parts of the page.
My kids loved these touch and feel animal book series, baby M’s favorite when she was little was “When i was a pig”, she would fall asleep with the tail in her mouth. The series was fun for them as you could talk about each part of the animal as they touch the different parts.
The touch and feel books from Ladybird were also a hit with the kids, and they have many different themes which am sure you could find one that your baby would love.
2. High contrast books
Another type of book that babies would be attracted to are high color contrast books. i.e. books whose visuals are primarily in black , white and / or red. Since babies at an early age see black and white first, followed by red. This hello baby book on faces, which is a high contrast book, definitely attracted my babies. I use to leave it in their cot, and when they woke EARLY in the morning, it would buy me and my husband some precious extra minutes of sleep while they looked through the book on their own.
3. Books with flaps
Books with flaps are fun as they get to play peekaboo with whats underneath the flap. However, bear in mind for babies or young toddlers who are a tad bit on the destructive side (like my kids), the flaps will probably get ripped off after a few weeks….. or on the day you bought it….
This book survived the older 2 kids with all flaps intact, though it will probably only last another few weeks now.
4. Sound books
These are books that literally make some sort of sound, from animal sounds, to vehicle sounds, depending on the theme of the book. Some make the sound when you open the flaps and others make the sound when you press the button. And did i forget to mention that babies and young toddlers LOVE, and i mean really really LOVE pressing buttons.
5. Fabric books
For all the above books, they are all mostly board books as regular books won’t survive babies’ manhandling. Fabric books are great for babies and young toddlers as they can chew or suck or do whatever they want to do on them safely, and you could pop it into the machine to wash at the end of the day. And again, because it is fabric, it is also quite sensory for them. Some come with little finger puppets, though my kids weren’t a big fan of finger puppets for some reason.
This is our family’s favorite high contrast fabric book. I really can’t recall where i got it from (no tags either), but am glad i bought it when i did, as all 3 of my babies love it.
Am sure there are other books types or combinations of books out there great for babies and young toddlers, but these are what my family enjoy. Choosing books for your babies and toddlers is a process of trial and error to see what they like, and we have to be attentive to each child’s interest, as this would influence what sort of books they like. Don’t be too disappointed if they don’t immediately take to it, they will in most cases show more interest in it as they continue to grow.
All the books mentioned (except the high contrast black and white bird fabric book) can be found easily in any bookshop or online shop. My personal favorite online shop is book depository (who doesn’t love free shipping?!) .
I will leave you here with my youngest and his favorite book by Eric Carle, his face just lights up whenever i take this book out, and he would scream and flap his arms as i bring it to him.
Share with us your children’s favorite books! We would love to hear from you.