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Our Favorite Activity Books Keep Kids Busy for Hours

Time to read? Time to play!

Sarah Burns

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There’s never a bad time to curl up with a good book, but these activity books are special: They’re specifically designed to encourage activity, creativity, and playtime! Pack them up for a road trip, bring them along to restaurants, or just have one handy anywhere a kid might need a little something to keep them engaged, entertained, and occupied.

First 100 Stickers: Words

Developing vocabulary can feel like a sticky situation, but not with this language building book. These covers contain over 500(!) stickers — including the first 100 “essential words” kids use to communicate their needs. Kids will be learning words through visual association, but they’ll also be practicing their dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Plus, stickers are just fun!

Scratch and Sketch Unicorn Adventure

Help kids scratch that artistic itch — literally! They can trace along the dreamy stars, jewels, and unicorns with the scratching tool included to reveal colorful swirling rainbows and glittery foils. Scratching is a fun and relaxing pastime recommended for ages 4 and up – but anyone who appreciates unicorns, rainbows, and doodling will have a magical time with this book.

Paint By Sticker Zoo Animals

Here’s an activity that’s easy to get stuck on: kids can create a colorful masterpiece without any brushes, crayons, or markers! With ten animal images to piece together with pre-shaped stickers, this is a unique way to introduce kids to mosaic art. This is a hit with animal-loving kiddos, but also helps develop dexterity and improves shape and pattern recognition, all while flexing those creative brainy parts.

My Book of Beautiful Oops

Artists are their own worst critics. It’s common for artists to worry that their skills don't quite measure up to their ambitions, leaving them disappointed — or worse, embarrassed by their efforts. Help kids tell that inner critic to take a hike with this lovely art journal that embraces imperfections, encourages improvisation, and helps creatives start creating without fear!

Fashion Angels Design Sketch Portfolio

When kids pick up this book, they will 100% give in to the impulse to try out those awesome reversible sequins on the cover. Then they flip it open, and they’ve got a portable fashion portfolio complete with stencil, stickers, and plenty of room to design all the coolest looks for next season. There’s over a hundred stickers and embellishments to compliment their creations, and the pre-printed model outlines mean they can get right to the stylin’. 

From Here to There Maze Book

Help your kid take a relaxing trip through a series of charming vistas, scenic landscapes, and realms not bound by the laws of physics. It’s the perfect pick for a little quiet time; they can just stroll down the paths to get away from it all. Celebrated illustrator Sean C. Jackson invites us into this twisty, turny terrain in a series of increasingly challenging mazes that run literally from cover-to-cover — no really, there’s a bonus maze that connects the inside cover!

The Super Book for Superheroes

What the world needs now is a hero – will your kid be the one to answer the call? Between these pages they’ll be battling supervillains, designing cool gadgets, and creating one of the most powerful superheroes the world will ever know! Crammed with coloring pages, doodle prompts, and awesome activities, kids will reach for this (surprisingly sturdy!) book adventure after adventure.

This Book Is Anti-Racist

Time for your kid to grab a pencil, and take some time to reflect and grow. They’ll be guided through 20 lessons to empower them to call out racism when they see it, and work towards a system free of racial oppression. This book tackles difficult concepts and subject matter and makes them easily accessible not just for young readers — adults would benefit from digging deep to undo their own learned biases too. 

Art Play Activity Book

Museums can be such quiet, stuffy places, it’s easy to forget that art can be playful! This book includes over 50 activities and drawing exercises to explore. Readers are encouraged to experiment with lines, colors, and shapes, and gather up common household objects for projects like marbling paper. This is a wonderful book to encourage would-be artists to embrace their abilities, because no matter how “good” they think they need to be, it’s always good to make something!

Updated June 2022