Activity Books for Toddlers
- What: Kumon First Steps Workbooks
- When: Ages two years and older
- Why: Practice skills with scissors, glue, and coloring
- Where: Amazon
My kids love Kumon First Steps Workbooks. They fit easily into diaper bags, purses, and even toddler backpacks for on the go entertainment, though I keep a stack at home as well.
We’ve had great experiences with all four books in the series: Let’s Color, Let’s Sticker and Paste, Let’s Fold, and Let’s Cut Paper. Both my four and six year old still practice their skills on these smaller-sized books and enjoy seeing the results of their handiwork.
For on the go fun while waiting for your food at restaurants, on airplanes, or even long car rides in a pinch, try Let’s Fold!. You don’t need any additional craft supplies to practice folding on the lines, and any folds that come out crooked can easily be redone, building kids’ confidences. The bright illustrations with high contrasts feature lots of items popular with the under five set such as food, vehicles, and animals. Best of all, folding makes very little noise, so even in close quarters, your kids’ entertainment won’t bother others.
For Let’s Color!, I found that markers worked best, but crayons would also do. You have to supply your own. The books do not include necessary supplies like scissors, glue, or markers or crayons. You’ll need the full ten color pack of markers if you go that route, or a box that includes some less common shades like pink. It includes only small spaces that need to be colored to complete the picture, such as the rest of a piece of fruit or the hair on a child. If you want blank pages to color, choose a more typical coloring book. Young children learning how to hold crayons and markers for the first time and gaining control of them are the intended audience, though my older children find it satisfying as well.
All four books progress in their specific skill sets as you further into the book. For example, with the folding book, the first pages require one fold. Subsequent pages require two folds, and then four folds, and it develops from there. The coloring version has small empty spaces that require a single color and then gets progressively more advanced, as do the others.
I tear or cut the pages out for my kids, because it’s hard to hold the book flat otherwise, and because I want to know when the books run out of pages and it’s time for new ones. My older kids often skip around between pages to whatever catches their interest, and it’s nice to not have to search for a page to complete. Some of the books, like Let’s Fold, require the pages to be removed to work.
You’ll end up with a pile of paper after working with these books but it’s easy to recycle on the sly or flatten and shove into a bag for later.