Why are interactive books important for children?
When I look back on the time with my kids, the books I remember most are those that encouraged my kids to get involved. They were what started tickle fights, sing-alongs, and fun activities.
Because these interactive kids books did this, my kids begged to read them over and over. And, often we felt (and still feel) a strong emotional attachment to them.
Plus, these reads helped them develop vocabulary, motor skills, and decision-making abilities.
How does an interactive book work?
Interactive books can come in many forms, but they all draw in the reader through action. The kids interactive books featured in this article include:
- Pop-ups and lift-a-flaps
- Touch, tap, or feel books
- Books that make you giggle
- Seek and find books
- Sing along and sound books
- Flashlight books (these are so fun!)
- Books that encourage movement
- Choose your own ending books (great for older kids!)
Plus, you’ll find age ranges with the book titles so that you can see which books go well with the age of your child. Now, let’s get started!
Reading specialist-approved recommendations!
Interactive Books For Toddlers & Babies
First these interactive children’s books are great for toddlers, for preschoolers, and for kindergarten too. Any young child will be delighted to read them!
1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See (Slide and Find) By Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr. Ages 1-3
This revamped board book of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” adds a hands-on element to the beloved classic. Slide the box to find what the animal sees coming.
Ask your child if they have ever seen a blue horse or a white dog. Soon you will hear them reading it to siblings or stuffed animals!
2. Pout Pout Fish Lift The Flap By Deborah Diesen, Illustrated By Dan Hanna Ages 1-3
*Unique hide-and-seek flaps!
Every child loves a good lift-the-flap book, and this familiar character is back in a sturdy board book design. Pout Pout Fish is looking for his friends and he needs your help searching the ocean during a game of hide and seek.
The giant tabbed pages surround the edge to help children visualize who they are searching for under all of those flaps.
3. Dear Zoo By Rod Campbell Ages 1-3
*#1 Best Seller
This classic book is just that, Classic. It’s beautiful, simple, fun, funny, and it has flaps too!
Every kid wants some sort of wild animal for a pet, except for this one! The zoo keeps sending the wrong pets. In this fun guessing game, will the zoo ever send the perfect animal?
4. Silly Sea Creatures: Silicone Touch and Feel Board Book By Little Hippo Books
5. Tap the Magic Tree By Christie Matheson Ages 2-4
*A family favorite!
In this acclaimed interactive kids book, the tree changes with the seasons. But the reader needs to help it along. Rub, shake and tap until the tree has passed through all of the stages of the year. It’s a magical process to watch together!
6. Where’s Spot: Book & Toy Gift Set By Eric Hill Ages 1-3
*Excellent Goodreads Rating
Generations have loved the adorable ‘Spot’ book series, and this one is perfect for young minds. Mama calls Spot for dinner, but he must be hiding. Look high and low in this lift the flap style book, uncovering some of the strangest things.
7. The Monster at the End of This Book By Jon Stone, Illustrated By Michaell Smollin Ages 1-4
#1 Best Seller In Children’s Interactive Adventures!
Go ahead, read out loud in your best Grover voice! He is scared. After all, there is a monster at the end of the book and he is trying to warn you! Kids will laugh as they drive Grover bonkers flipping pages and ignoring his warnings.
Sesame Street fans especially adore this fun, quick interactive book.
8. Peek a Who by Nina Laden For Babies, 1 Year Olds, 2 Year Olds
*A staple for first libraries!
Simple rhymes and peek-a-boo cutouts make this book a favorite for little ones! Kids giggle through the anticipation of what’s hiding on the next page. And they’re excited to see which animal comes next!
9. A is for Apple: Flip and Trace By Tiger Tails, Illustrated By Georgie Birkett Ages 1-6
*Part of Smart Kids Trace & Flip Books
The wide age range for this sturdy book is perfect because it is made to last for years.
- Babies enjoy the bright illustrations
- Toddlers begin lifting the flaps and naming each item
- Pre-schoolers start to recognize letters
- Kindergarteners learn letter sounds associated with each picture.
The letters on every page are beveled and have arrows directing you on where to begin and how to write the letters. This simple practice is a key foundation for reading in the years to come.
10. Tickle Monster Book By Josie Bisset Ages 1-5
*This one brings on the giggles!
A lovable monster has just flown in from Planet Tickle. Read the colorful rhymes as the fun monster directs you to tickle your little one all over.
In our home, the kids asked to read this book again and again! They LOVED the anticipation and interaction this book fosters.
11. Pull-Back Busy Car Book By Stefano Tagnetti and Fiona Watt Ages 1-3
*Unique book for active kids!
What kid doesn’t love a pull-back car?! This book has one right on the pages.
Pull back the car and watch it drive through busy streets and the countryside. Each illustration is filled with detail, giving the reader the option to dictate the words or just notice what they see in each scene.
12. Find Fergus By Mike Bolt Ages 2-4
*Winner of several state awards
In this fun book, your child will learn good hiding tricks by teaching a silly bear named Fergus to hide better too. The text is speaking right to Fergus which makes it a fun, interactive way to narrate the story.
Once Fergus gets really good at hiding he gives you his own list of things to find!
13. Mix It Up By Herve Tullet Ages 2-4
*New York Times Bestselling Book
This bright book leads the reader to mix up colors. Poke the red dot, then the yellow, turn the page and find you just made orange. Turn the book upside down and get a surprise mess of color on the next page!
Children learn greatly through kinesthetic touches. It helps the brain make connections and commit things to memory. So of course, Mix It Up is perfect!
14. Glad Monster Sad Monster: A Book About Feelings By Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda Ages 2-4
Have you ever asked your kids to make a mad face? This book has monster masks displaying all sorts of feelings!
Learning about emotions can be a serious topic, but Glad Monster Sad Monster makes it light-hearted and fun. Use this book as a resource to return to again when your little monster needs to describe how they are feeling. Then, work through the emotion together.
15. Tails By Matthew Van Fleet (Ages 1-3)
Toddlers love tails. They’re irresistible.
That’s why your little one will love this book! It’s unique and features many different textures for kids to touch. It also has pull tabs and a scratch-and-sniff scent.
16. Don’t Push the Button By Bill Cotter Ages 2-4
*USA Today Bestseller
This monster has only one rule for his book: don’t press the button! But who could resist? And what could go wrong?
Surely nothing crazy like changing the monster’s colors. Go ahead, push it. Just once. Your child will belly laugh when they follow the directions to get Larry the monster back to normal after ‘someone’ breaks the rule.
17. Press Here Book By Herve Tullet Ages 2-4
*Longest-running picture book on the New York Times bestseller list
Follow the instructions in the book to see what one little dot can do! Watch as the dot multiplies, changes direction, and grows in size…all because of how a child interacts with the pages.
18. Can You Make a Scary Face? By Jan Thomas Ages 2-6
This ladybug helps the reader get rid of a bug. And you wouldn’t believe the silly actions she suggests!
Kids get such a kick out of the goofy pretending. And the recognizable illustrations are bright, bold, and focused. Have fun letting your kids read it to you while YOU act it out!
19. Shine A Light: The Human Body By Carron Brown Ages 2-6
*Unique interactive books for kids!
Grab your flashlight or glow stick, turn out the lights and have fun learning all about the human body. By holding a light underneath the pages you discover hidden secrets that are all around us!
20. Shine A Light: Secrets of the Vegetable Garden By Carron Brown Ages 2-6
In the same type of book, use a light to learn what is making that hole in the vegetables and where that line of ants is heading to.
Once you have learned by reading, get outside and see if you can find a real line of ants and discover what secrets are in your own backyard garden.
Look for even more “Shine a Light” books including Dinosaurs, Secrets of the Seashore, and Secrets of Winter.
21. Muddle and Match Jobs By Frankie Jones, Illustrated by Stephanie Hinton Ages 2-6
Your child will love taking real-life jobs and mixing them together to create a hilarious story. Each page has a picture of a person in their respective uniform with a silly but informative description.
What makes this book unique is that each page is divided into 3 parts. The reader is able to put a scientist’s head on the stomach of a zoo keeper and the legs of a plumber. Younger children mix the pictures to get a laugh while older children read out loud to get amazing alliteration speech practice.
22. The Very Busy Spider By Eric Carle Ages 1-4
*Multi-sensory board book allows children to feel the pictures too!
Even with animals trying to distract her, this very busy spider works hard on her web. When she’s done, her creation is both beautiful and useful.
See The Very Busy Spider >>
23. I Spy Pets By Edward Gibbs Ages 2-5
*A fun guessing game with an “eye” spy twist
In this installment of the “I Spy” books, children learn about animals through their EYE.
A cut-out hole exists throughout the book. When you put your eye up to it, the people around you see you as that animal. The reader can also feel through to the next page to take a guess at what pet comes next.
Interactive Sound Books For Kids
These children’s books get kids moving and singing with you. They are highly engaging and make reading fun!
24. Action Nursery Rhymes: Picture Books For Preschoolers By Maya Shine Ages 0-6
Introducing your child to classic nursery rhymes is a fundamental part of their learning. Children learn through repetition, song, and action. This book brings all of that together.
Once you have read it or rather SUNG it to them, they will mimic it over and over until they read through it on their own (before they can actually read).
This is a great one to keep in the car for longer drives, or take into restaurants and stores to keep little hands busy.
25. Pete the Cat: Old McDonald By Kimberly and James Dean Ages 1-4
26. Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo By John Lithgow Ages 2-6
A family goes to a concert one night, right next to the zoo. Find out what happens when the
band begins to play, and the boy gets sleepy.
A book about music must be heard! You can imagine and make your own sounds or hear the author himself narrate and add music that makes the illustrations come to life.
27. Search and Find Animals (Interactive Kids Books)
*With 10 Fun-to-Press Buttons
Young readers love listening to the sounds that each animal makes. This book is a great, fun-filled way to introduce animals to small kids.
28. The Wonky Donkey Sound Book By Craig Smith and Ms. Katz Cowley Ages 2-5
*Teacher’s Pick (& Crazy Popular)
This fun read-aloud is both silly and endearing. And now, kids can press the button to hear a hee-haw on every page!
More Great Interactive Books For Older Children
Next, these interactive books for kids are excellent choices for elementary students.
29. Dayana, Dax, and the Dancing Dragon By Once Upon a Dance Ages 4-7
*A Dance-It-Out Creative Movement Story for Young Movers
Dayana has a new baby brother, and she’s excited to play with him. However, he is too small to dance as she can. One day, A dragon appears who can dance with Dayana, and little baby Dax loves to watch them.
These movement poses are a great way to get your child to move their body in a direct way. This, in turn, helps kids focus. Children can even develop a dance routine out of the poses in the book.
30. The Book With No Pictures By B.J. Novak Ages 3-7
*Wildly funny (and popular) read aloud
This book is both clever and silly. You read it completely without pictures! It turns every reader into a comedian because the reader MUST say all the words on the page. No matter how funny they sound.
This incredible author turns something that should be boring into a hilarious experience for kids and adults.
31. Try Not to Laugh Challenge By Crazy Corey (6 year old version) Ages 5-7
For older children, getting people to laugh at their jokes can be hard. This book makes learning new jokes fun! Turn it into a game to see who can go the longest without laughing!
Plus, this one gets the whole family involved and laughing!
32. I Spy Treasure Hunt By Jean Marzollo Ages 5-9
*Best-selling I Spy series!
Older kids love these search-and-find riddles. Can you find the objects hidden in the stunning photographs? From pirate maps to secret caves, your child will spend hours on the hunt!
Choose Your Own Ending Interactive Books For Kids
And finally, elementary and middle school students will love these types of interactive books! The reader is able to choose how the story goes.
33. You Choose: Can You Survive Collection By Rachael Hanel Ages 8-11
In this unique set of books, the reader chooses their own path in their quest for survival. Follow the directions to find out how each decision you make influences your fate.
34. Choose Your Own Story: The Minecraft Zombie Adventure By John Diary Ages 7-9
*Minecraft lovers unite in this interactive fiction book!
What if you were a Minecraft zombie? What would you do?
With 25 different endings, the reader in this story will have tons of fun figuring it out! It’s your story, and only you decide how it will end!
35. You Can Handle Conflict: Hands or Words? By Connie Colwell Miller Ages 5-8
*Great book for students at school
Learning how to handle your emotions and make good choices is part of growing up. And this book can help!
You Can Handle Conflict has multiple endings so that the child can see how each decision leads to possible outcomes.
More great books for older kids:
To Consider With Kids Interactive Books Examples
There’s something for everyone in this eclectic list of books. And with any of these options, you’ll love how easy it is to engage and have fun with your child.
What are your favorite children’s interactive books? Leave a comment and let us know!
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