May 2nd-8th sees the return of Children’s book week, the annual celebration of books for children of all ages. Reading is the best way to increase self-esteem in children, build on their vocabulary, feed their imagination, and even improve their sleep patterns, yet current data (according to Nielson Book Data) shows that only 45% of 0-2 year olds are read to daily.
We’re so excited to join in with the celebrations, and we’re bringing you a guide to our favourite children’s books, but with a Muddy Puddles twist – they all encourage outdoor play.
Reading to your baby encourages them to look, point and touch, supporting their social and emotional development, and developing their language skills. At around 4 months old they are the perfect age to start introducing a bedtime story into their routine, and at around 6 months they will start to enjoy listening to simple stories. Little ones love books that they can play with, with flaps, push and pull mechanisms, and noises. We love ‘Where’s Mr Puffin’ with its soft felt flaps and a mirror surprise at the end, and Bizzy Bear’s ‘Playtime Park’ with its sturdy sliders, encouraging tots to have fun at the park.
At 2 years old, toddlers should be able to turn paper pages, so it’s a good time to move beyond board books. They love books that are repetitive with stories which are easy to remember. There are some incredible books available for this age group, which build on their vocabulary, and help to prepare them for School. One of our favourites is ‘The Rainy Day’ which shows little ones how much fun you can have playing outside in the rain. We also love ‘Sunflower Shoots and Muddy Boots’ a guide to gardening for pre-schoolers, and of course Julia Donaldson’s ‘Superworm’, a funny story about a superhero worm whose friends rescue him when he is captured by the wicked Wizard Lizard.
Once children start School and begin learning to read, it’s more important than ever to encourage a love of books. They will love coming up with questions about the world, and books which help them to find their own answers will boost their self-esteem, giving them a huge sense of pride and independence. The ‘Little People Big Dreams’ books are a must-have for this age group, and we love the David Attenborough book which explains how he travelled the world telling stories of incredible animals in their natural habitats. The RHS’ ‘Outdoor Adventure Handbook’ is another favourite of ours and is filled with ideas to help kids get closer to nature, with fun activities such as making a wilderness compass, learning to map read, and building a tepee.
By age 7, most children can read independently, and there are some fantastic story books available such as ‘Earth Friends’ by Holly Webb. We absolutely love the resource books available for this age group, and The National Trust’s ‘Sunday Funday’ is one of our favourites – with a nature activity for every weekend of the year, it is filled with amazing boredom-busters for the whole family to enjoy. We also love ‘The Green Planet’ - a really engaging guide to a secret world of plants which can smell, taste, and even speak. It mirrors the TV series featuring David Attenborough and is beautifully illustrated and very informative. A must-have for any nature lover!
Our final age group is 9-12 years, when children start to have an increased attention span and develop their logical thinking skills. They can read harder books for longer periods of time and place a lot of value on their independence. We love ‘Earth Heroes’ which is an inspiring read with stories about 20 people who are changing our world, and ‘Go Wild at The Seaside’ which teaches young adventurers about all the fun you can have by the Sea – a must have for British Seaside holidays this Summer.
We hope you have enjoyed this guide to our favourite books for children of all ages, and that it inspires you to get outside. Let us know if we’ve missed any of your favourites. For outdoor play in all weathers, shop our new arrivals here.