As a pediatric occupational therapist, specifically with experience in Early Intervention, I have become quite the expert in developmental appropriate toys, books and games. As and EI therapist you are required to provide your own toys and books, which can get mighty expensive. At first I was buying everything and anything that looked fun, I mean if I have to play with these toys all day too, they mine as well be good! Well, eventually you realize that you need toys and books that have a purpose, are durable, fun and educational. About 6 months into starting EI I realized that I needed to be smarter and do more research with the toys and books I was buying. The books below are my absolute favorite for toddlers, they are tried and tested.
1. Poke-A-Dot // There are a whole series of these books! I absolutely love them to practice fine motor skills (finger isolation), work on multi-step directions, and they have a great sensory input for kids (tactile and auditory). They also are incredibly fun and were my most loved books during my time at EI. It is basically re-usable bubble wrap, so satisfying to pop!
2. Happy Hippo, Angry Duck // As a board book this one is quite durable. It teaches kids in a really simply way, a range of emotions which can help with decreasing emotional regulation issues. It breaks feelings down so kids can relate it to a facial expression and have a better understanding of their feelings.
3. Opposites // This is another board book which means it holds up well to your toddler tossing it off the shelf, biting it, and/or throwing it at the wall. There is a whole series of these as well from letters and numbers to farm animals. I like them all, but for the toddler age a specifically love the Opposite book and how simple it is for kids to look at and understand. This one has really colorful and cute pictures!
4. Yummy Yucky // Again this author has a whole series that is amazing! Yummy Yucky is a great book for teaching kids about healthy food and to read with picky eaters! The words are simple and the pictures are adorable with wonderful detail!
5. Press Here // I saw this book when I did a pre-school visit and I fell in love with it! It teaches impulse control to kids through a fun way (don’t push the button!). This book has more words and may be better for a toddler that can sit for a bit longer, but can definitely be abbreviated as you read it to speed it up.
6. No No Yes Yes // This is by the same author as Yummy Yucky, it is filled with simple words, and amazing pictures. The book teaches kids the things they should and should not do. A wonderful and funny addition to a toddler library!
What are your favorite children’s books?
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