It is no secret that reading is one of the most activities you can undertake with your toddler. These interactive books for toddlers engage the senses and imaginations of children in a variety of ways, beyond simply listening to stories. These books are highly rated on Amazon and geared toward children who are around 3 years old. In many cases, they are appropriate for younger toddlers as well.
Pop-Up Books for Toddlers
Some interactive books for toddlers engage children through colorful pop-ups. These 3D experiences help transport your toddler into the pages of the book and give them more to visually explore as they listen to the words.
Pop-Up Peekaboo: This inexpensive but high-quality series of interactive books for toddlers features fun pop-ups behind sturdy flaps. The colorful, realistic pictures are accompanied by rhyming stories. Whether you are looking for interactive books about favorite creatures such as dinosaurs or unicorns, traveling under the sea or to outer space, or celebrating a holiday such as Halloween or Christmas, there is a Pop-Up Peekaboo book for you and your toddler!
A Pop-Up Book of Nursery Rhymes: With this delightful interactive book, you can teach your toddler classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes such as Hey Diddle Diddle, This Little Piggy, I’m a Little Teapot, and Humpty Dumpty. Each spread includes several nursery rhymes accompanied by Matthew Reinhart’s famous pop-ups and flaps that lead to more embedded pop-ups to expore.
Pop-Up Dinosaurs: Introduce your toddler to dinosaurs or feed an existing dinosaur obsession with Pop-Up Dinosaurs: A Pop-Up Book to Get Your Jaws Into. Each spread in this pop-up book for toddlers features a different kind of dinosaur, from Triceratops to Tyrannosaurus Rex, with an accompanying rhyming snippet. Different parts of the colorful dinosaurs pop out of the page, including long necks, swooping wings, and wide-open jaws. If your little one loves dinosaurs, also visit my list of dinosaur toys for toddlers.
Spring: David A. Carter’s book will entrance your toddler with its colorful, intricate pop-ups that celebrate the season of spring. Learn about wildlife while exploring captivating springtime landscapes. This is part of a collection of pop-up books for toddlers, each dedicated to one of the four seasons.
Sound Books for Toddlers
Sound books for toddlers draw in little ones through sound effects, voices, and music. Usually, they (perhaps with your help) will need to coordinate the icons on the pages with corresponding sound buttons to hear noises that enhance the story.
World of Eric Carle: Hear Bear Roar Animal Sound Book: Take a tour through the animal kingdom with this colorful book full of iconic Eric Carle illustrations. Your toddler will enjoy hearing simple sentences describing 30 animals while also experiencing the sounds they make.
Rumble! Vroom! Zoom!: Let’s Listen to Things That Go!: For little ones who loves vehicles, this interactive sound book for toddlers is the perfect fit. Your child will enjoy the large, bright pictures and informative text about ten different “things that go”: police car, fire truck, subway, taxi, tractor, airplane, semi truck, garbage truck, monster truck, and race car. Best of all, they can push buttons to hear the sounds each vehicle makes.
Baby Shark Sing-Alongs: Has your house been swept up in the Baby Shark phenomenon? Even if it hasn’t, kids seem to adore the catchy tunes and fun cartoon pictures created by Pinkfong. This sound book for toddlers includes ten fun kids’ songs themed after the iconic Baby Shark characters, including variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Where is Thumbkin?, Wheels on the Bus, and, of course, the Baby Shark song. It also has the brilliant feature of an on/off switch, just in case you have had enough Baby Shark for one day.
LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book: This interactive book for toddlers introduces more than 100 different words in twelve categories. Choose from three different modes: hear the word, learn a fact about the word, or enjoy a fun sound effect related to the word. The book also includes a bilingual option so that your toddler can learn in both English and Spanish, a button to play music, and an on/off switch that also offers volume levels.
Interactive Slide Books
These fun interactive books for toddlers use sliding panels to play a game of hide-and-seek or peek-a-boo during the reading experience.
Flutterby Butterfly: Can your toddler find the butterfly? With this interactive slide book, your child can explore the garden through a series of cheerful illustrations and fun slides to discover butterfly’s hiding place.
What’s In My Truck?: This interactive book for toddlers encourages kids to explore a variety of trucks, from a firetruck to a food truck. Lift flaps to see what each truck is carrying inside, and move slides back, forth, up, and down to uncover more surprises.
Busy Zoo: We’ve loved the Busy Books at our house, and Busy Zoo is a delight. This book’s slides and tabs create interactive movement throughout the pages, such as an elephant being sprayed with water, penguins sliding, and monkeys swinging. The engaging illustrations are accompanied by rhyming text perfect for toddlers. Other Busy Books include Busy Railroad, Busy Beach, and Busy Garage, among others.
My Magical Unicorn: This interactive slide book is perfect for any toddler who loves the magic of unicorns, fairies, and rainbows. A fun, rhyming story is brought to life through whimsical, sparkly illustrations and a variety of interactive elements, such as slides and spinning wheels. If your toddler loves unicorns, be sure to visit my list of 65 unicorn gifts for kids.
Touch and Feel Books for Toddlers
Engage your toddler’s sense of touch with these touch and feel books that incorporate a variety of textures throughout their pages.
See, Touch, Feel: This Priddy book is full of colorful photographs and shapes. Fingerprint raindrops, smooth snail shells, a ribbed xylophone, and a drum to tap are just a few of the engaging touch and feel pages you and your toddler will experience as you read together.
My First Busy Book: Another Eric Carle option, this large touch and feel book for toddlers is bright, educational, and stimulating. Your toddler can engage with such concepts as letters, numbers, and animal names while exploring a variety of textures and other fun features such as flaps and a mirror.
Animal Kisses: This is among my 2- and 4-year-olds’ most beloved bedtime books. We go through each animal and take turns feeling the different textures, such as the fuzzy bear kiss, scratchy cat kiss, and (the favorite) squeaky pig kiss. This is a simple read that provides a fun, interactive experience for toddlers.
Mommy’s Big Helper: Parents and toddlers alike will love this interactive book by Rufus Downey. The sweetly told story of a child’s busy day helping his parents will introduce your child to the concept of household chores. The pages include a wonderful variety of textures, from the sponge on the cover to the sticky cake batter, tickly grass, and soft towel inside. There are even scratch-and-sniff strawberries!
Pull Tab Books for Toddlers
Pull tabs bring these interactive books for toddlers to life, creating animation and hiding parts of the scene for your child to discover.
Lit for Little Hands Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The charming, whimsical story of Alice in Wonderland is brought to life through this colorful pull tab book for toddlers. Pull tabs make Alice fall down the rabbit hole and the Cheshire Cat disappear, while a spinning wheel and slider create other captivating animations. “Lit for Little Hands” books make classic stories accessible to younger generations. This book is one that your toddler will enjoy for years.
Chomp! Zoo: Your toddler can pull the tab in this clever book to make zoo animals’ mouths open and shut. Have fun making the various animal sounds and watching the giant teeth open and close. The tab can be operated by your child, making it a great option for a few moments of independent play.
Dance: For toddlers who love to dance, this pull tab book by Matthew van Fleet is a must-have. A new baby chick wants to learn to dance, and the other animals demonstrate their unique dance moves through the use of pull tabs. Toddlers will enjoy the rhythmic rhyming text, clever dance names, and onomatopoeia that accompany each interactive illustration.
Have You Seen My Cat?: There is so much to love about this Eric Carle pull tab book for toddlers. When a boy’s cat is lost, he travels the world looking for it. Along the way, he encounters vibrant scenes depicting other cultures and a variety of cats. In the end, he finally finds his cat… and her litter of kittens! Your toddler will enjoy the repetitive lines in the book and learn to recite them right along with you.
Lift the Flap Books for Toddlers
Within these interactive books for toddlers, your child will be delighted to discover additional pictures and details hiding behind flaps.
Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?: Karen Katz is famous for her lift the flap books for toddlers. Perhaps the most famous is Where’s Baby’s Belly Button? which explores parts of the body through a fun game of peekaboo. If you are looking for more, Katz’s collection of lift the flap books is extensive and includes options for holidays, seasons, family members, and more.
Peek-a-Flap Who: This durable Jaye Garnett lift the flap book receives high praise for its thick pages and sturdy flaps, making it a perfect choice for younger toddlers. Meet all kinds of animals who live in the forest, including foxes, raccoons, and rabbits. Each spread contains flaps that uncover even more animals and introduce your child to educational facts about wildlife. You might also want to take a look at Peek-a-Flap Moo and Peek-a-Flap Zoo, similar books that feature different kinds of animals.
Lift the Flap: Fairy Tales: Parents and toddlers delight in the vibrant illustrations found throughout this book of fairy tales. Introduce your child to snippets from seven classic stories, and play hide-and-seek with characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel & Gretel, and Snow White. Flaps reveal additional details and characters. Parents, feel free to tell the full stories to your kids in your own words, making reading time even more interactive!
Chunky Lift-a-Flap Boxed Set: This boxed set contains four easily portable, thick and chunky lift the flap books for toddlers. The book titles include Little Yellow Bee, Little Green Frog, Little Red Barn, and Little Blue Boat. Each book contains a sweet, rhyming story that is enhanced through bright, beautiful illustrations and large, thick flaps.
More Interactive Books for Toddlers
From following directions to popping bubbles, these interactive books for toddlers listed below use a variety of creative techniques to engage your child.
Press Here: This book by Hervé Tullet is quintessentially interactive without the need of any bells or whistles. After pressing the “start” button, toddlers will follow the instructions you read on each page to “make” things happen to the dots. Toddlers will turn, rub, blow, clap, and more to magically cause the dots to change color, size, or amount. One mom told me, “My daughter is obsessed with this book!” Since it encourages imagination, you probably won’t mind if your child shares the obsession as the book encourages imagination.
There’s a Monster In Your Book: Similar to Press Here, this book by Tom Fletcher instructs kids to interact with the physical book in order to get a monster out of it. Tip the book, tickle the monster, blow the monster out, and follow other fun instructions until — oh, no! — the monster is in your room! Fletcher has also written similar books to create a “Who’s In Your Book?” series.
Good Night, Gorilla: I find Good Night, Gorilla to be an interactive book for toddlers because it offers so many opportunities for the child to participate in the story. Each page only has a few words, but the story unfolds mostly through pictures. This allows the child to fill in the blanks of the story, either through his or her own storytelling or through your prompts and questions. There are also things to look for on most pages of this beloved book: namely a balloon that travels further into the sky and the mouse’s banana.
ABC’s: This is a super simple book for toddlers that teaches the alphabet. Each letter is featured in large print that is indented so that the toddler can trace his or her finger along. The letters are accompanied by colorful, whimsical drawings.
Poke-A-Dot: 10 Little Monkeys: Melissa & Doug’s Poke-A-Dot books seem to magically transfix toddlers. I remember being amazed last year when my youngest daughter, who was then 17 months old, sat independently popping the interactive bubbles on our 10 Little Monkeys Poke-A-Dot book for a substantial amount of time. This book is also a wonderful aide for teaching counting. Considering how much kids love bubble wrap, I suppose it should not be a surprise how entertaining these books are for kids. Check out more of the Poke-A-Dot collection here.
Highlights Subscription: For a slightly different approach to interactive reading, try a subscription to one of the Highlights magazines geared toward toddlers. High Five is for ages 2-6 and includes hidden pictures, age-appropriate puzzles, and action rhymes along with stories and recipes. Hello is for babies through 2-year-olds and is a bit simpler. It is printed on durable, washable paper with rounded corners and is stitched instead of stapled to ensure it is safe for little ones.
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