Lately I have been finding excellent early learning books for my 2-year-old at local grocery stores. Often there is a display near the front of the store, marked “Children’s Books” that will inevitably draw me over to peruse for a good (though unplanned!) 20 minutes or so. Many of the books are beautifully illustrated, with thick cardboard and coated pages (perfect for a toddler who gets a kick out of tearing paper). Some of the books feature electronics and are interactive. The best one of these so far has been a book called Play Me Another Song Piano Book, which has a built in electronic keyboard and piano playing guide for 12 songs including Row Your Boat, Happy Birthday and more. This book has traveled around the world with us, and kids all over have loved it. Young family members (around age 7) got a kick out of playing tunes they knew, while the younger ones just like slapping the keys and getting sounds. Their excitement is contagious. We found it in our local Von’s Grocery story two years ago around Christmas on sale for $7.95. The joy it has brought? Priceless.
Our latest grocery store treasures are two books we found this week at a local Ralph’s here in Los Angeles. One is called Happy Baby Colors and the other is Happy Baby Words. The books focus on baby’s first words and color recognition. The words book was particularly awesome as my son is in the phase of recognizing his body parts. We go through his anatomy from head to toe every day, saying “hair” “eyes” “nose” “mouth” and so on together, while we point to each part. The words book starts off with photos of ears, eyes, etc. from different babies. My son got into it right away. The other thing I should mention is that books like these are often broken down by specific age groups and the publisher does the same (e.g. 0-24 months, 2-3 years). However, you should buy the book that is right for your child. For example, my son is now 2 years, but the books above are perfect for him now, as they engage him where he is at and he gets joy from them. And that’s what matters to me.