Reading is an immeasurably important part of childhood development. Children who are familiar with books are more likely to do well in school later in life. Books also provide a great opportunity for parents to connect with their kids, allowing them to teach important life lessons and talk about different subjects.
Some kids, however, have a lot of trouble getting interested in books. This is especially common among children who are five years old and younger. To help get young children interested in reading, parents can introduce them to interactive books.
These fun books can successfully keep a kid’s attention to help introduce reading to little ones who find listening to books difficult. The following list of 20 super-engaging interactive books for kids is broken down by age group, so parents can find the perfect early-reader interactive books, from birth to preschool.
Interactive Books for Babies
At the baby stage, reading is more about helping little ones by introducing basic vocabulary so that when they start talking, they’ll have a good foundation to build on. These introductory books should get babies familiar with their senses, especially touch, hearing, and sight.
Interactive books for babies should also help them to learn about the world around them by using as many senses as possible. These engaging books will keep the interest of kids aged one and younger while introducing them to the wonderful world of literature.
Age Range: 6 months and up
This is a great first book for babies. The soft, fabric pages can be used by babies as soon as they’re able to hold onto things.
Many parents find that allowing babies to hold things, such as books or stuffed animals, helps to calm and entertain them during car rides, diaper changes, and other difficult tasks.
The small peekaboo flaps make it perfect for independent playtime and to use as an object to keep their interest during tummy time. This book will grow with little ones and will probably be useful until they reach the toddler stage.
Author: Roger Priddy
Age Range: Baby – 2 years
Babies learn so much through touch. This book is full of describing words, like bumpy, smooth, and fluffy, which are paired with the texture they’re describing.
In addition to describing words, there are pages with things like drums, mirrors, and other features to keep the baby’s interest. The use of texture and objects that make sounds encourages tactile and auditory exploration.
This is a great book to read aloud with young babies and older littles will love to flip through it on their own.
Author: Nina Laden
Age Range: Baby – 12 years
This board book with interactive flaps made the list for Scholastics 100 Greatest Books for Kids. This short read has beautiful illustrations, fun rhyming verses, and surprises under every peekaboo flap.
Each page gives a clue about who could be hiding under the flap. When the flaps are opened, lots of surprising friends are revealed.
Littles who love this book will be pleased to know that there are many more in this series, including Peek-A Choo Choo!, Peek-A Boo!, and Peek-A Moo.
Author: To Be Ready For Life
Age Range: 3 months – 18 months
This soft book is a great choice for baby’s first book. The 3D front makes this book look like a stuffed animal with a book attached. The looped handle on the spine makes it easy to hold and carry.
Each page features something to attract a baby’s attention, from mirrors and texture to bright colors and noises.
This engaging book is great for car rides, time in the playpen, or during a diaper change. This is a great choice for littles to play with independently and it can be used to make tummy time more interesting, as well.
Age Range: 0-4 years
This extensive series of popup books are sure to provide wide-eyed wonder with each page. There are over a dozen titles in this series. Some of the most popular titles are Under the Sea, Things That Go, Farm, and Unicorn.
The interactive pages go a step beyond the standard peekaboo flaps. Each page has a flap that, once pulled up, an image pops out. There are short verses on the pages to go along with the pop-out pages, so enthusiastic reading can turn this story into a really fun experience for babies.
The pop-out images will thrill little ones and the story that goes along will engage them throughout the whole book.
Age Range: 0 – 3 months
We absolutely love this 6-pack of non-toxic cloth activity books. These books are colorful, lightweight, and sturdy enough to withstand the grabbing, throwing and lovely mess that comes with babies.
They are also machine washable, which is a huge plus for any parent and well-priced considering you get 6 books in the pack. The books included in the pack cover sea life, animals, numbers, vegetables, fruits and vehicles.
They have a variety of textures and sounds that provide sensory and motor stimulation and which will keep your baby engaged for a good amount of time. Best of all is the non-toxic fabric, meaning that they’re safe to go in baby’s mouth (because we all know that’s where they’re going).
They also come with a ribbon handle, which is a thoughtful touch for easy carrying or looping around a stroller or car seat. Best of all, parents absolutely love these books, giving them 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Age Range: 6 months and up
Captain Calamari’s Treasure Hunt is perfect to be one of baby’s first books. Plush and oversized, Captain Calamari will keep your little one entertained with the book’s bright, bold colors and patterns, multiple textures and sounds.
All of this of course is also stimulating baby’s motor and sensory skills and development. The book has durable cloth pages and is machine washable, which will withstand all of the fascinated grabbing and drooling that will inevitably go on.
There is also a mirror on the back so your baby can (quite literally) entertain themselves. Captain Calamari is a great book for learning and the story rhymes and has a lovely rhythm, so it will inevitably be one that will be a favorite for a long time for your little one.
There are no flaps for baby to lift like with other Lamaze books, but overall parents love this book, giving it 3.6/5 stars on Amazon.
Author: Melissa & Doug
Age Range: 0 – 3 years
This adorable peekaboo offering from Melissa & Doug is guaranteed to keep your baby entertained!
Absolutely full of lift up flaps, 5 animals to find, a sweet story, lots of bright colors and of course different textures, crinkles and squeaks, this book offers much more than peekaboo and will provide motor and sensory stimulation for your baby.
Some parents wish that the flaps would stay open for their little ones to look at the pictures longer, but others love the motor challenge for their bubs.
Machine washable and durably constructed, this cloth book will withstand your teething little ones. Parents give it 4.5/5 stars on Amazon.
Best Interactive Books for Toddlers
By the toddler stage, children can likely open a book the correct way, hold it right side up, and look at the pictures. Once a parent has read through a book a few times, toddlers will start to associate the pictures and words. They may even have a favorite page in their book that they turn to on their own. This is why interactive books are a great choice at this age. For the first few times, parents can read with children, then children can pick up the book on their own and flip through it.
Author: Karen Katz
Age Range: 1 – 4 years
One of the first things a baby learns to identify is their body parts. I still fondly remember asking my son where his feet were and being convinced that he was a genius when he grabbed them.
This book will help little ones learn their body parts, like hands, feet, belly button, eyes, and more. The big flaps are fun and easy for young hands to open, and the short phrases won’t be difficult for little ones to follow.
This book will grow with your baby, from day one to the toddler years, and will help them discover their body parts.
Author: Herve Tullet
Age Range: 2 and up
While this book doesn’t technically do anything, it is still incredibly engaging and will take parents and kids through a fun and silly reading adventure.
Kids will start by pressing the dot on the cover, then each page will give them another instruction. Every time they press or do whatever else they are instructed to do, the book “changes,” making them feel like they’ve altered the outcome of the story.
The simple dots in the illustrations, paired with the clever story, engage preschoolers and will have them reaching for this board book again and again.
Author: Eric Carle
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Similar to Hear Bear Roar, this book features Eric Carle’s stunning illustrations with a soundboard attached. Each of the thirty buttons makes a different farm animal sound when pressed.
As the story is read, children will be prompted to press the different sounds. Reading this type of book turns a regular storytime into a seek and find adventure.
Toddlers can also follow along so that, when the reader points to the animal on the page, they can press the button. This creates heightened interest in the story and will allow them to practice paying attention and searching for pictures.
Author: Beatrice Costamagna
Age Range: Baby – 5 years
For toddlers who love to listen to songs and sing along, this is a great choice for an interactive book. With each page, there is a matching button that will play songs like Ants Go Marching, If You’re Happy and You Know It, the ABC song, and more.
When the button is pushed, the songs melody is played and littles can sing along as they look at the song’s page in the book.
Not only will children love to read this book with an adult or on their own, but they may also love to just play with the buttons so they can dance and sing along independently. This will be a favorite well into the preschool years.
Author: Anna Ross
Age Range: Baby – 3 years
Everyone’s favorite red monster and other Sesame Street friends bring this fun book to life. This giant board book teaches toddlers basics like the ABCs, numbers, shapes, colors, and more.
Adults can read the short verses, or kids can play on their own, discovering the flaps and lifting them to reveal exciting additions to the scenes.
The flaps are surprisingly durable, so they should survive for a while with even the roughest kiddos. The large pages with anywhere from 10 to 26 flaps on each page will keep kids busy while they learn new concepts.
Author: Herve Tullet
Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Another classic by Herve Tullet, this book will help kids discover the magic of primary colors, which is the most fundamental lesson of art.
Though the pages don’t actually interact, kids will feel like they are making the colors move around on the pages.
This book is all about the reader. By reading aloud enthusiastically, kids will enjoy performing the different actions on the pages.
Once they perform the action, you turn the page and they’ll see the results. Whether smearing, shaking, or mixing, this colorful book is sure to keep kids’ attention.
Author: Melissa and Doug
Age Range: 12 months – 5 years
I have to admit, I had a little more fun with these books than my son did, at first. These books take the satisfying feeling of popping bubble wrap and turn it into an educational book for kids.
There are many different books in the series, including Who’s in the Ocean?, Ten Little Monkeys,and Old McDonald. Each book features interactive dots that kids will press.
When pressed, they make a popping sound, reinforcing their interaction. These interactive books are terrific for learning to count as well as learning to flip through books independently.
Age Range: 1 1/2 – 4 years
This book from LeapFrog is wildly popular and an absolute favorite of ours and many, many other parents.
This interactive book allows kids to learn while playing as they explore word categories such as pets, animals, food, mealtime, colors, activities, opposites and outside.
Touching the words on the page plays a word sound effect and you can choose from Spanish or English, which encourages bilingual learning. There’s also songs and light up buttons and three play modes where you choose between the word being read out loud, a sound effect or fun facts.
This is an incredible learning toy for toddlers and one which hundreds of parents love with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon, amazing considering it’s been reviewed over 20,000 times.
We also really love the 100 Animals book green which is a great option for your little ones if they’re specifically animal obsessed and features animals from the forest, the ocean and the shore. This option also plays animal noises, which is so fun for toddlers.
Best Interactive Books for Preschoolers
Preschool is when many children will have favorite books, will be able to sit and listen through a whole book, and can start to have conversations about what they’ve been read. Some kids this age will love books, while others show no interest. Interactive books are great for both types of kiddos.
Book-loving little ones will enjoy the fun elements of these books, while those who aren’t crazy about books will gravitate toward these because they are like a mixture of toys and books. The goal at this age is to get kids interested in learning so they will be prepared to go into kindergarten. Interactive books can definitely help to facilitate that goal.
Author: Eric Carle
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
No library is complete without at least one Eric Carle book. All of his books are favorites among kids, but this interactive book takes his appeal to a whole new level.
Alongside Carle’s beautiful illustrations, there is a soundboard with 30 animal sounds. These sound buttons can be pressed when the story prompts to add to the storytelling experience, or little ones can use the buttons independently to learn animal sounds.
This is another book that will grow with children and, since it features many sight words, this could even be used in early school years.
Author: Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert
Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Read along as a wide-mouthed, curious frog talks to his animal acquaintances about what they like to eat. With each page, another 3D illustration will pop out.
There’s a mouse that eats seeds and berries, a bird that eats worms, and other fun friends.
At the end of the story, there’s a funny twist where the big-mouthed frog learns a lesson about being so curious. This is a classic popup that will hold a kid’s attention with its popup illustrations and its fun story.
Author: Anna Llenas
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
This popular story about controlling and understanding emotions has been turned into an exciting popup book. This is a great read for preschool-aged children because, at this age, emotions often start to run high.
Each page will talk kids through their emotions, like scared, mad, and sad. It teaches children what to do with their emotions and how to understand why they are feeling the way they do.
The color monster shows up on each page to talk about feelings with fun, colorful popup pages. Preschoolers will learn a valuable lesson about their emotions while remaining engrossed in this colorful tale.
Author: Bill Cotter
Age Range: 3 – 9 years
Larry, this book’s main character, has only one rule… Don’t. Push. The. Button. But, as everyone knows, some rules are made to be broken.
Little ones will squeal with delight as each button push does something different to Larry. Larry turns different colors and patterns and does all sorts of silly things throughout this book.
As kids push the forbidden button, Larry just goes plain crazy! This is a fast, silly book that kids will love. And, if they do love it, Bill Cotter has many other “Don’t Push” books for kids to enjoy.
Age Range: 2 – 5 years
The seek-and-find pages of the Highlights magazines are my five-year-old son’s favorites. There’s something about the instant gratification of finding a hidden object that kids just can’t get enough of.
This book takes the fun of seek-and-find and adds interactive flaps, so there’s an extra layer of engagement. Instead of just one page of searching for silly objects that you find in Highlights magazines, there’s an entire book of things to look for.
Kids will lift up the flaps on the pages, where they will reveal the object they need to find. Then, they will search the page for the hidden object. This book will provide hours of fun for kids in preschool up to about second grade!
Author: Christie Matheson
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
This is another book where kids can tap and see the change they’ve made when the page turns. This may be my favorite one yet. This book starts with a bare brown tree.
Kids will touch the tree according to the directions and, when the page turns, the tree magically changes. The tree gains its leaves, the leaves fall off, buds sprout, and lots of other exciting things happen throughout the book.
This is also a great way to explain the seasons and how they affect nature. The simple yet beautiful illustrations and creative verses make this book a winner with preschoolers and parents.
Author: Tiger Tales and Georgie Birkett
Age Range: 2 – 5 years
For parents who want their little ones to learn while they read, this is a terrific choice. Each page encourages kids to trace the numbers, which will help them learn the shape of each digit.
There are objects on each page that can be counted, as well, so the number will be reinforced. Then, a flap below the number furthers the interactive nature of this book.
Once they’ve mastered the numbers up to 10, they can move on to the other pages which feature counting to 20 and addition problems. This is the ultimate interactive numbers book for preschool-aged children.
Author: Educational Insights
Age Range: 36 months – 6 years
These interactive activity books include over 100 lessons and a talking pen kids can use to complete the activities. This set is a great way to get the benefits of educational games without screen time.
Kids will start with the basics, like letters and phonics. They’ll need a parent to sit with them to read the lesson, but the talking pen reinforces their answers by telling them if they’re correct or if they need to try again. These book sets are a great way to keep kids engaged while learning valuable early-education skills.
Make Reading Fun for Kids of All Ages
Using age-appropriate interactive books can help to build a love of reading starting at a baby’s first few months of life. By building this love of books at a young age, as kids grow, they will be more familiar with reading and more likely to choose reading over other activities, like screen time. These interactive books are a terrific way to introduce books to children and keep their interest.