Category Archives: babies toddlers

Only a few more days till the Elkhart county 4-H fair

This is so exciting!!  I have about 10 boxes of books to bring to the fair this year.  But not all of the books I bought will be there because *someone* saw Illustrated Stories from Aesop and just had to buy it for her son.   And who could blame her: the pictures are luscious.  Her son and his little sister are loving storytime! 

She also bought Peek Inside Beauty & the Beast and a couple other books.   The little girls really like this version of Beauty & the Beast.  As soon as I finished reading it to them, one of the girls said, “Read it again.”  Success! 


Why play is important for babies and toddlers

     [click here to find toddler games]

Play might not be the first thing on your list when you’re busy changing dirty diapers and getting up for 4 AM feedings. However, even the smallest forms of play early on are important for your baby’s development.

Simple forms of play are ideal for babies and toddlers. It gives them a developmental boost that helps them the rest of their lives. Plus, what’s more fun than making babies laugh?

Play Starts At The Beginning

Play begins from day one. While your newborn can’t play with toys and run around like a toddler would, they still benefit from being talked to and shown new things. To them, this is play because it’s helping them to discover the world around them. This early form of play helps form a foundation for them to continue learning and socializing.

Play Affects Social, Emotional And Mental Development

  • Splashing in water while taking a bath helps develop basic motor skills
  • Reading to your child helps develop their language skills, even before they can speak
  • Playing with crayons helps toddlers start learning how to write and comprehend
  • Puppet shows start teaching important social skills

While these might seem minuscule, they’re major milestones for babies and toddlers as they learn to thrive in the world around them. Play isn’t just something kids do for fun, especially at this young of an age. Play is a type of exploration that helps them develop emotionally, socially and mentally.

Play Boosts Brain Development

A shocking 75% of brain development happens after birth. This is why play for babies and toddlers matters. The earlier you start, the better it is for their development. Babies are eager to learn any and everything. After all, they start as a blank slate and it’s up to you to help them develop through playful interactions.

Play Is How Kids Grow

Think of early play like school. Each grade builds upon what a child learned in the previous grade. The same goes with play. The types of games change over time, but that’s just because they’re building on the skills they have already developed from earlier forms of play.

Remember, it’s never too early for children to start playing. Whether it’s playing with you or themselves, play is a vital developmental tool.

SimplyFun blog

[link to this article]

New books for the summer

To see all the new books, meet me at the Elkhart county 4-H fair July 20th to July 28th.  This is just the first shipment.  The other books are still on the way!


Just a few of our newest books – publishers are Usborne & Kane Miller.

Just a few of our newest books - publisher is Usborne & Kane Miller

King Arthur (graphic novel, ages 12+), Axel & Beast (chapter book, ages 7-11), Are You There Little… (board book)

Illustrated Stories, chapter books, That's Not My...

Illustrated Stories, chapter books, That’s Not My…

How Young Children Are Wired To Learn From Play

Having fun and playing is actually educational.
   You already know children love to play, but did you know that young children are actually wired to learn from play?
   Play isn’t just something enjoyable for kids. It’s a vital educational tool that helps with their lifelong development. Their brains are made to experience the world in a playful way.
   Children are born with 100 billion neurons. During the first few years of life, the brain goes through a variety of changes as children go through various experiences. As children begin to learn new things, the number of synapses per neuron increases, going from 2,500 to around 15,000 by age 3. 
   The way children form these vital connections is important. For instance, in one study, children who were given specific instructions on how to interact with a toy only learned one thing that the toy did and they became bored quickly.
   The second group of children were allowed to freely play and experiment with the toy. The result was an exploration of all the things the toy could do and highly engaged children. 
   To read more about important learning windows, how children are wired to learn from play and how unstructured play is an important companion to structured learning, visit the SimplyFun blog article, “How Young Children Are Wired To Learn From Play”.

Reading to children

 Sharing books with children has many wonderful benefits and it will give you the opportunity to cuddle up, relax and share a special moment with your child. And remember, it’s never too early or late to start!

Reading with your child can:

  • Develop his language skills
  • Help you bond with him
  • Help him feel more relaxed
  • Boost his confidence
  • Encourage him to draw and write
  • Give him a head start in life

Scottish Book Trust

lots of new books!!

Lots of new books to choose from!!

1001 Things to Spot

1001 _______ Things to Spot is a series of books that has lots of things to find on every page.  The child is given the task of finding 4 goats or 9 spiders, etc.   It keeps the little ones busy while you’re in a waiting room or in the car or at the soccer field, anywhere in which the kids need to be wait quietly.  As soon as they find 4 goats, they immediately begin looking for the 6 sheep, etc.  Big Book of Things to Spot is a collection of four of these books: Town, Long Ago, Farm, and Animals.

This series is great on so many levels! A great non-fiction search and find : learn about cities around the world (1001 Things to Spot in Town), introduce young ones to history (1001 Things to Spot Long Ago).  Rather than finding Waldo, you can learn, too!

It’s a great early math book! “We need to find 7 of these, and we found 5 – how many are left?’

Pre-readers can enjoy this book too – they can see the number and the picture and they’re off searching. Great book for church, waiting at restaurants, a quick phone call!

I always carry the Big Book of Things to Spot in library binding, ours lived in the seat pocket of our van. The paperback wouldn’t have stood up to the abuse our book took but the library binding was perfect! –Suzanne B.

Absolute favorite at our house! –Lacy D.

1001 Things to Spot books include Fairy, Pirate, Bugs, in the Sea, on the Farm, on Vacation, in Fairyland, at Christmas, around the World, Animals.  9.99 for hardcover and $17.99 for library binding.

Big Book of Things is $20.99 for library binding.  Library binding is the strongest binding known (librarians know these things!)

There is even a new series especially for 18-month-old to 4 years called Baby’s Very First book of things to spot.  These are board books (very thick pages) for $11.99 each.  The other two books in this series are at Home and Out and About.

Why you should read to your baby

from the NYC office of early childhood education:

Focus on Literacy – A love of reading begins long before your child starts preschool.

Every time you hold your child and read aloud, he experiences the joys of reading and connects to the reading experience. This will help your child develop literacy and reading skills, which will help him become a successful independent reader in the future.

Don’t wait till the child is old enough to understand the story in a picture book; that’s too late.  Begin reading to him as soon as he’s born and you can hold him & a book at the same time.  We have books written especially for the way infants see, hear, and understand.  As the baby gets bigger, he can see more and understand more, and we have books for that, too. 


To find books for infants, look for books with the polka-dot borders or Playbook somewhere in the title.  When he’s about 9 months old, he’ll be ready for the That’s Not My… series, the Very First Words series, and the My First Word Book series.  Cedarstone Children’s Books has many baby books to choose from, including Usborne; the cool thing about Usborne books is that you don’t have to wonder what to say on each page; just read whatever is written.  You don’t have to point out every item on each page of the That Not My… book; just read the words.  As you read the book to your baby each day (and feel the textures), on his own he will notice there are other things besides a Pony, Cow, or Dragon on the page.  As his understanding grows, the book stays new because he starts noticing more and more!

Babies need eye contact

Scottish Book Trust

“From the moment a baby is born they are seeking to make eye contact, and photographs of babies in particular are very relatable to them.

“Thankfully publishers know this and there are lots of wonderful (and cute) books out there which feature pictures of different babies.

“Photographs are best but illustrations of other babies are great too.  I’ve listed a few recommendations for you:  Babies Very First Black and White Books: Babies by Usborne.  (Babies are also particularly drawn to books in black and white as they love the contrast).”



All of the Babies Very First Black and White books have the contrasting black & white drawings that babies love!  There are two sizes: small for the baby to easily hold, and larger for the baby to see the pages better.  This larger size is a favorite for those looking for a baby-shower gift.  If fits nicely in a basket full of diapers.