Board Books For Babies

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Are you excited to see your baby holding a book? Have you imagined him holding, turning, and scanning the pages of a book? Most of the parents have this picture in mind, but the reality is, if your child is in between four months up to one year, he may end up tearing, throwing, or chewing the book.

That’s why board books are born. They are made with thick pages perfect for your child’s reading development.

What are Board Books?

When we say board books, they are literally made out of thick paperboard. Each page is made with this material and they are designed for children.  A board book’s pages and content are fewer words but more illustrations designed to capture the baby’s attention.

Why Board Books are Beneficial

Board books will be one of the things you will see in the baby’s section at the mall or the gifts your baby will receive. You might ask yourself: Is it worth buying or not? Yes! It’s worth buying! When a child grows with a book, you’ll see how this object improves his development. Now, let’s dig into the reasons why board books are beneficial to our babies:

Foster Interaction

We all like it when our babies react to our voices and actions—hearing them laugh and giggle as we speak shows that they interact with us. When they respond, they are involved in our environment, and we want to maximize it. Books will be one of the connectors that we can use[1]. But how does it happen?

Using illustrations, our babies give their attention to the pictures as it creates interaction with us. You’ll notice your baby stare at a particular image that makes him smile or laugh. When he regularly sees a specific illustration, he can remember it when he sees a real object.

Stimulates the Senses

The five senses in our body play a huge role in understanding the environment we have. As for the babies, their senses gradually develop as they grow. For us parents, we want to maximize those developments and see how their senses grow.

Vision and touch are the senses that books can help with. In vision, your baby will look and focus on the picture. When your baby reacts to it, you can see a release of emotion. For the sense of touch, you can see how the turning of pages are developed. Growing your babies with a board book maximizes and stimulates the senses.

Widens Language

Early exposure to board books widens the vocabulary of babies. Through pictures, colors and words, it familiarizes the baby with these concepts. As early as six months, they can recall the frequently used words they hear[2].

For the first six months, we often say to them, “say mama” or “say papa,” and we got its results by hearing them say those words. But when we read books to them, especially board books, they get to know the concepts and even if they do not fully understand it, exposing means a lot. Babies acknowledge the sounds or the pictures they see and when they reencounter those things, they can recall them.

Also, board books help them to understand instructions. When you let them point their fingers for a particular picture or turn a page with a direction, they receive the command we are giving. As time goes on, you can see that these small directions are the foundation of the bigger ones.

Nurture Skills

One of the skills that your baby will develop gradually is attention. It is one of the foundations of learning[3]. Every baby’s attention span increases as they grow, and we want to nurture this skill to maximize the benefit it.

When you see your baby stop and stare at a picture, it means that the picture caught your baby’s attention. That’s how attention works. The way they focus on a particular thing shows that they put their focus on it.

Showing illustrations with a variety of colors attract babies. Reading, producing sounds, and turning the pages increase the possibility that your baby will pay attention. Doing these things regularly nurtures the attention span of your baby.

Strengthens Bond with Parents

Reading a book with your baby makes the parent-child relationship stronger. It is one of the activities that you can together in the morning as he woke up or before going to bed. Emotionally speaking, your baby creates a stronger attachment between you.

The bond that you create in the infancy days greatly affects his developing life[4]. If you’re doing this activity, you’re hitting a lot of stones for your baby. You nurture skills, introduce concepts and create a strong bond with your baby.

Picking the Right Board Book

Now that we know how board books benefit our baby, it’s time to get these books. But how do you pick one? Getting the right board book is crucial and it will determine the effect of it to your child. You don’t want to see your baby cry because of a book. Now, let’s look at some points for you to ponder when choosing a board book.

Content

What does the book deliver? A story? An introduction of concepts? The content of your chosen board book will determine your baby’s engagement to it. Books with simple stories answer the “why” questions and involve emotions while introducing concepts like numbers, colors, or objects familiarizes your baby to the foundation of learning.

Of course, we want our babies to know them both. We can have a collection of board books that tackle both contents and have a schedule of giving or reading it to him.

Visuals

Every board book comes with illustrations. It helps children to see and feel the story or the concept being introduced. Good illustrations or pictures engage their reader in the book and they emphasize the content.

Pictures play a huge role in developing your baby’s thinking ability[5]. That’s why exposing pictures through books at an early age means a lot. Four to six months old babies tend to focus on big colorful illustrations, so getting him big board books will enhance his vision.

Material

You also need to consider the material of the board book. What is it made of? Since books are prone to chewing, tearing and throwing, you need to get a board book that fights these problems. The traditional board books as we know, are made up of thick paperboard.

Make sure to get board books that are sturdy enough for your baby. If you’ll buy a well-made board book, it would long and you can even pass it to other kids as time passes by.

Board Books For Babies

There’s a lot of board books available in the market. From the traditional type of board book to the interactive type, you can see them at the bookstore or on the Amazon website. We’ve picked the best board books that can guarantee satisfaction to you and your baby.

All of Baby, Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler

All of Baby, Nose to Toes
A board book that teaches the basic parts of the body

This board book is perfect for teaching the basic parts of the body. It will help your baby recognize his basic body parts and it’s a good source of visualization because of its good combination of colors that can attract your baby’s eyes. For its size, it is a small board book that perfectly fits your baby’s tiny hands. Your baby can easily grasp each page. If it’s your first time giving a book to your baby, this can be a good option because of its size, illustration and concept.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

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Goodnight Moon
A perfect book that will teach your baby the concept of night time

A classic board book that you can read to your baby at night time. This is a good product if you’re looking for books that teach the concept of nighttime. It will familiarize your baby in saying greetings like “good night”. It introduces the concept of day and night.

Made with hard paperboard, this medium-sized book can be easily handled by your baby. Because of its size, your baby can turn the pages easily. It will help you in teaching your baby how to hold a book properly.

Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals by Roger Priddy

If you want to maximize your baby’s sense of touch, this book will be a big help to you. It introduces the different kinds of baby animals and it has a patch at the center on every animal. When you touch these patches, you can feel a different texture. It can give your baby a sense of curiosity and excitement as he tries to touch them.

For your part, this product gives you more sources on how to teach different textures. It’s made of durable material that can last long. So provided with proper care, you can still use this book as your baby grows old.

Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton

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Moo Baa La La La
This board book introduces the sound produced by animals in a fun way

Introducing animal sounds to your baby would be a lot easier with this book. This board book helps your baby to create connections between sounds and pictures through simple illustrations and wordings. To make this activity more enjoyable, try reading this book aloud while pointing to the animal that produces the sound. It’s an excellent introduction to basic syllables. As they hear these syllables, chances are they’ll going to remember and repeat it again.

This board book will help you in guiding your babies in their first steps of talking and reading.

Babies Love Colors by Michelle Rhodes-Conway

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Babies Love Colors Chunky Lift-a-Flap Board Book
A lift a flap board book that teaches colors to your young ones

This is a lift-a-flap board book. Every page comes with something that you should open to see more. This book helps your baby in developing his finger grip as he tries to turn the overlapping page. This kind of book triggers the emotions of curiosity and excitement.

This board book tackles the basic colors. As your baby develops, his sight discovers different colors, and this book will help him discriminate one color against another. Every page is equipped with specific colors and corresponding objects. This book will be an advantage for you as you teach your baby the basics of colors.

Another feature of this book that will benefit you is that it has a sturdy material. Even the flaps are sturdy and thick enough made for infants who don’t have any grasp control. So, this book can last long in your baby’s developing hands!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The very hungry caterpillar board book
A colorful board book that introduces the concept of numbers

An all-time favorite classic board book that you shouldn’t miss for your growing baby! This board book uniquely presents a story of a caterpillar and the concept of numbers. What’s good about this book is that it has simple illustrations intended to attract your baby’s attention.

The materials and the design of every page will help your baby’s fine motor skills. In the story, the caterpillar ate a lot of food. As he ate, the items eaten had a hole in the middle. As your baby touches them, it can increase the chances of inserting his fingers through the holes. This is a good book on promoting fine motor skills.

I Like You More Than Ice Cream by Brick Puffington

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I Like You More Than Ice Cream (Finger Puppet Board Book)
A board book that has a finger puppet design to catch the attention of every baby

This board book will help you in getting the attention of your baby. The book has a finger puppet design. The purpose of this finger puppet is to grab the attention of your young ones as you introduce the story. Having this kind of design – the finger puppet – will make reading time more fun than usual.

Another benefit of this book is that as your baby grows, she’ll also learn to put his fingers inside the puppet, helping his eye-hand coordination skills develop. Again, this book has colorful yet simple illustrations that will help your child to focus more.

A Walk in the Forest by Jaye Garnett

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Smithsonian Kids: A Walk in the Forest Board book
An interesting board book with handle made for babies.

This book has two main attractions as a board book: One, it has a built-in handle, making it easier to carry around. Using this book, you can let your baby hold it as he develops his hand grip. Secondly, it has a spinning wheel inside that will help your baby develop his little fingers. The spinning wheel will entertain him as he tries to stretch out his fingers.

This board book has a good illustration of the animals found in the forest. As you read this board book to your baby, you can easily visualize the animal or plants in the forest.

Reading the book to your baby

So, you’ve finally bought the book, and you’re very excited to give the book to your baby. But you noticed that after giving the book to him, he holds and turns it in the wrong way. Introducing a book to your baby might sound hard because we all know he doesn’t have the feeling of appreciation towards it. But as you expose the books, soon after, he’ll have the excitement for it.

Here are some ways to read and introduce the board books to your baby:

Read Aloud.

When your baby is seated on you or when he’s lying down to get some sleep, you can start reading a book. Your voice plays a significant role in his development, so when you read a book to him, it can stimulate his sense of hearing.

But how do you read aloud? Read it loudly to get his attention. You won’t shout but make sure that your baby can discriminate your voice from other sounds. At first, it can be frustrating, especially if he doesn’t even look at the book. But as he develops and continues this activity, he’ll soon look at it.

Another tip is to read a book to your baby in a quiet place with no distractions like toys or other objects. Remember, we want him to focus, so we won’t read books with him while someone is watching television at the back. Keeping away toys and the sounds could increase the chances that he’ll look in the book because that’s the only interesting item for him.

Create A Schedule

Consistency will be your best friend in developing the reading activity. We all know the thought that if you do something regularly, it becomes a habit. Having a consistent schedule in reading a board book to your baby will be beneficial to him. It can help his retention skills.

Morning will be a good time to read a book. You can start your day by sitting down and reading a book with him. This activity would brighten up his day. On the other hand, you can also read books before sleeping. Reading a book before sleeping will soothe him.

Emphasize the Illustrations

We already discussed how important illustrations are and it’s time to use them. Usually, board books have a lot of big colorful pictures, so it’s a lot easier to use them. You can let him touch or point the illustrations found in the book. This will help him develop his eye-hand coordination.

Let Him Play The Book

During playtime, you can give a board book to your baby. Just let him play with the book. This will increase the chances that they will be more attached to a book. For one to four months, there are soft books that you can buy. This will be a good toy for him as you introduce the concept of reading a book. Here is an example:

Tinzy Toys Soft Sea Animal Baby Book
Soft book made for babies with colorful cute drawings.

This is a soft book. As you noticed, the book is made with fabrics, it has a teether and a handle. It’s a lot easier to handle and it’s very light. This will be a big help for parents who loves to go out. You can attach this book to your stroller. Since this is made out of fabric, you don’t need to worry if he throws or pulls this one, because this is very light.

Final Choice

Board books will be your baby’s best friend as he grows. Choosing the right board book in terms of content, illustrations and material will save you a lot of time and money as well. If you’re going to choose the best board book, I would recommend these two: The very hungry caterpillar board book and All of Baby, Nose to Toes. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun in reading these books!


[1] Butler, Dorothy. Babies need books: Sharing the joy of books with children from birth to six. Heinemann, 88 Post Road West, PO Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881-5007, 1998.

[2] Harris, Justin, Roberta M. Golinkoff, and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. “Lessons from the crib for the classroom: How children really learn vocabulary.” Handbook of early literacy research 3 (2011): 49-65.

[3] Cooley, Eileen L., and Robin D. Morris. “Attention in children: A neuropsychologically based model for assessment.” (1990): 239-274.

[4] Winston, Robert, and Rebecca Chicot. “The importance of early bonding on the long-term mental health and resilience of children.” London journal of primary care 8.1 (2016): 12-14.

[5] Ozsezer, M., and H. Beyza Canbazoglu. “Picture in Children’s Story Books: Children’s Perspective.” International Journal of Educational Methodology 4.4 (2018): 205-217.

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Author

Tiffany Biondi

Tiffany Biondi

Mother of 4 kids, Tiffany is a certified childcarer and during her free time, she write posts in thebabychoice to share her hands on experience and knowledge.

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