“Can you give me ideas for board books?” Recently, one of my teacher friends announced she was pregnant, and she asked me for suggestions for board books. I want to share my ideas with everyone.
If there’s one maniac I don’t mind being called, it’s a bibliomaniac! When I found out I was pregnant, I continued to put my Amazon Prime to good use, but now I was shopping for an infant instead of 5th graders. Ultimately, I knew very little about what to read to infants except for what I heard my teacher friends talking about, and I had done some research 2 years prior when I became an aunt.
Let’s just say, “We’ve got board books. A-LOT of board books.” In most cases, I’d be ashamed to show you how many if I didn’t believe in books as I do, but I’m not ashamed in the least bit.
On the positive side, the reason I’m willing to let you know that it’s one area I don’t have a lot of self-control is that the books have had such positive effect on our family and the boys’ development.
Food or books? Uhm. The kids can eat, but I can go without. You get the picture.
Watch the video to see our board book collection, and I’ve already donated plenty. I show you this hoping it will help you trust the information in this article.
The Stages of Board Books
During the first year, I noticed that the child goes through stages of what books they like. I researched what books to use with 0-1-year-olds and they include these. As the doctor always reminds us, everyone is different.
The first thing to remember, keep baskets of books everywhere! In the bathroom, wherever you feed the baby, wherever the family gathers most, in the diaper bag, wherever you put the child to sleep, near the swing, in the car, EVERYWHERE and read ALL the TIME!
If you are looking to begin a library for your baby or grandkids or you may need a baby shower gift, this list is a great place to start! If you need more in any category, we have more. Email me and I will be more than happy to provide more recommendations.
My best advice is to favorite this article and every time you think your child is getting complacent with your library, add a few more from the suggestions. This is a great list to pull up while at the library. You can find many of these board books at your public library.
Black, White & Red Board Books
The best thing you can do to visually stimulate your baby’s vision and brain growth is to use black and white stripes or light and dark contrasting colors for at least the first 3 months. In addition, it won’t hurt to include them for 6 months.
Related Blog Post: 6 Proofs That It is Brilliant to Use High Contrast Books With Babies
Some of Jock’s Black & White Book Experiences
Some of Luke’s Black & White Product Experiences
Read everything you need to know about eye development here and here. You can read how it affects brain development and relaxation here. Furthermore, there are blankets, mobiles, fold-out books, and toys in black and white. All the Hello Baby books are excellent from birth until one.
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and Songs
“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” [Fox, M. (2001). Reading Magic. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.] Read how nursery rhymes are important for your child’s language, cognitive, physical and social/emotional development on pages 7-22, plus get a list of nursery rhymes and activities to do with some of them.
There are a ton of nursery rhyme books to choose from. I highly recommend all the Little Scholastic finger puppet gloves. We still use them, and around age two the kids use them themselves.
This plush block keeps the child’s attention throughout the first year. You push the animals’ noses and it plays a nursery rhyme song on each side of the block.
ABC Board Books
ABC books are one of my absolute favorites because I have seen my kid’s vocabulary grow amazingly through these books. Indeed, 3 and 4 syllable words just seem like the thing to speak when it’s in your books. There are some great ones out there, and I can’t get enough of them.
Be aware, when you buy ABC board books for the youngest ages, it is important to watch out for the kind of pictures and words that they use for each letter. For example, if they use a ch, cr, and cl word for the C, that is probably better for a child who has the letter sounds and is ready for the next level. Sometimes on the vowels, they may only use the long or only the short sound. You want it to have both. Granted, it’s just something to pay attention to before you spend your money.
The first thing I do when I see an ABC book that interests me is check the words, sounds, and illustrations that used.
If you get the Wee Gallery Alphabet Cards, you can hang those on the wall at around 6-8 months. Hang them just out of reach from the child’s standing height, so the child can’t tear them off the wall. They need to be lower though. Not near the ceiling level as you see in a lot of classrooms. Low enough that the child can see them easily, and they catch their attention.
Baby Einstein Alphabooks Set (Discontinued) but keep your eye out at Used Book Stores!! If I could only pick one for this age group, it would be the Baby Einstein boxed set. I kept these at the kitchen table, and we probably did 10 a day between all 3 meals. Both boys knew their ABCs, the sounds they make and all the words in the books when they started talking. Amazon no longer has them, but if you can find them at a used bookstore- do!
123 Board Books
Before I say anything about 123 books there is some research I want to share with you. Every parent needs to know about it, and this is a great place to let you in on it!
There is plenty of research about this, but I will share the research by Dr. Joan Cotter. Her Ph.D. Research shows that 5-month-old babies can add and subtract up to 3, and at around 12 months of age kids recognize 4 objects. They do not do this by counting. The babies can visualize the quantities.
Therefore, do not count by pointing to each object fewer than 5 objects. Instead, refer to the collections by number. Example: 3 apples, 1 block, 5 cars, 2 books
The child can look at a collection of 5 or less and name how many there are without having to count from 1 every time they see a group. Read more about the research here.
With that being said, don’t start counting from 1 on every page of these number books. Such as, “One bear, one, two birds, one, two, three monkeys….” Say, ” One bear, two birds, three monkeys, four tigers” etc.
Margaret Wise Brown
Prepare yourself because Margaret Wise Brown is an every nighter! Some of Margaret Wise Brown’s books are addicting to children because they do exactly what child development says they should. They have few pictures on a page, a simple plot and they have a nice rhythm.
Above all, if you can only afford one book for your child, Goodnight Moon is probably a good gamble.
After the 100th read, I went to Amazoning to find out what else Brown offered. We have 6 of her books, but these are the ones that were nightly repeaters. Big Red Barn is an excellent choice.
Somewhere along the way you notice that your child has a special interest. Whether it be dogs, tractors or unicorns, invest heavily in all things that subject. Indeed you can check out books from the library. Go on field trips if applicable. Watch KidsYouTube about the topic. Google it, and find all the cool stuff about it. Let your child know that you are on board with her interest.
While writing, Did the Way These 4 Men Were Parented Lead to Their Success? I noticed that their parents supported their interest and helped the child dive deep into information and hands-on activity dealing with their interest.
Do not underestimate your child. They can be an expert in their field by age 1.
The latest and greatest in education is project-based learning. Teaching your child how to research their interest sets them up for future success. You are building a foundation for your child to be an independent, life-long learner.
Baby Face Board Books
Around 6 months, babies really study other humans, and they like to look at books that have other baby faces in them. They prefer the ones with close-up, real life, photos of babies. This is a good time to name the parts of the face and inferring the feeling of the baby in the picture by reading her expression.
From Eric Carle’s Biography: The themes of his stories are usually drawn from his extensive knowledge and love of nature—an interest shared by most small children. Besides being beautiful and entertaining, his books always offer the child the opportunity to learn something about the world around them. Carle’s concern for children, for their feelings and their inquisitiveness, for their creativity and their intellectual growth that, in addition to his beautiful artwork, makes the reading of his books such a stimulating and lasting experience.
Eric Carle books draw kids in. I share those I have experienced with children younger than one-year-old. You can find his books at the library, no doubt.
Texture Board Books
Eventually, there comes a point when the child prefers texture books over all the others. See how the senses develop here. Find out about texture here. The child will like silky, bumpy, smooth, rough, slick, and any other texture you can offer. The reason this is so important all leads back to brain development.
One of the best ways I heard it described is that the infant’s senses compare to a staticy radio, and you are trying to fine-tune helping them find the clear station. Activate senses to fine tune them.
With texture books look to make sure the book gives a variety of textures. If you look at the books, you’ll notice some repeat the same texture, they just put it in different colors. Remember, a lot of the books repeat the same textures as the next book, so if you have a texture in one book, you don’t need it in 5. Provided that, try to get a variety of textures in your overall collection.
All of the Bright Baby Touch and Feel books interest children. Click on this book and you will see many. Find the one of your child’s interest.
All the DK touch and feel books are great. Click on this book and you will see many. Find the one that matches your child’s special interest.
Point and Learn- Babies First Words Board Books
Point and learn books refer to the books that have the picture with the word underneath. These types of books are best for vocabulary building and conversation starters. Research says it is best to use the point and learn books with real-life pictures, and babies connect objects in real-life to those they saw in a picture around 9 months old.
These books help children categorize their world. Also, these books have main ideas such as colors, jungle animals, farm equipment, bugs, and this is a great area to look for books dealing with the child’s special interest.
Below are some of the best general first-word books I have seen. The best brands for this category are DK, Usborne, and Bright Baby.
Your Home Library
If you find the plastic bath books in any of the above genres, bath books are a great way to relax the baby and you have their undivided attention. I found great bath books at Dollar Tree in the bath section. Barnes and Nobles has a bath book section in the kid’s book area.
The Perfect Board Book Set to Keep in the Diaper Bag
Call to Action
I hope that this inspires you and gets you started on creating a library for your little one. If you’re not 100% sold on creating an infant library, read here to find all the benefits of reading to your child. To read to your child is the most important thing you do for your child aside from providing the necessities, and this is research, not just my opinion. 100 Reasons to Read to Your Child
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS