I am not a big fan of putting a lot of pressure on kids, but I do love books and activities that help kids learn as they play and explore. These books introduce little kids to big concepts early and beautifully.
Kids learn through play, and reading is one sort of play that’s especially beneficial. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended reading to kids right from birth to help develop their language and communication skills. Classic books for babies like Pat the Bunny and Goodnight Moon do the job, but why not also choose some beautiful books that gently teach?
Related Reading: How much homework crosses the line?
Before we get started, I do want to say that I’m not advocating any sort of formal teaching for young babies. These books aren’t about your kids mastering color codes or a second language. They’re just about exposing developing brains to these concepts, so that later in life they’re not encountering them for the first time. These books are a head start, not a lesson plan.
1. For the Little Graphic Designer
In the design world, Pantone is king. Their color swatches help designers see how screen colors will translate to print, and those rainbows of swatches are an inspiration on their own. I love design and color, so the Pantone Colors book has been on my son’s shelf since before he was born. The book features gorgeous illustrations along with pages of Pantone color swatches in every color of the rainbow plus brown, black, white, and gray.
2. For the Little Coder
HTML is the foundation for every site on the Internet. It’s a web design language that almost everyone is going to need to know by the time our kids are grown. Why not give them a head start? HTML might be a little bit more technical than Spanish or French, but it’s as much a language as the ones we speak out loud. HTML for Babies is a colorful, fun way to get your kid used to seeing code. HTML for Babies is part of a three-book series, so you can really fill your child’s shelf with web design goodness, if you’re so inclined!
3. For the Little Linguist
Dual-language books are a fun way to expose your baby to a second language in a no-pressure way. There are tons of dual-language books out there, but the one that my baby loves the most is This Little Piggy/Este Cochinito. The great thing about dual language books is that it’s a nice break for parents. Babies love when you read them the same book over and over, and you can make that a little bit more fun for yourself by switching up the language that you’re reading.
Does your baby have a favorite book with an educational edge? I’d love to hear about your favorite books for babies in the comments!