Fun Activities to Do With Your Child This Summer

Summer is right around the corner! While Americans typically think of beach vacations as the best use of summer, you can have plenty of fun without even leaving your city! With some planning and intentionality, you can make this a summer to remember! 

Planning: The Key to a Fun Summer

At the beginning of summer vacation, you feel like you have all the time in the world. Before you know it, the first day of school is rapidly approaching and you wish you had used your time more wisely. Take advantage of your summer break with just a little planning!

First Things First

Put the big items on your calendar first: vacations, day trips, visiting family, or other out-of-town trips. Summer camps can be a week or more out of your summer vacation, so these need to be scheduled in advance. 

Reach out to friends and family for playdates. Friends have schedules, too! So if you plan on meeting with a friend, put these playdates on the calendar early. 

Summer Work

Summer is about fun, but work (both your job and special projects) still needs to get done. Write out some household or yard projects, planning for no more than one a week. 

The extra time of summer is an excellent opportunity to include your child in special projects! Let them help you paint the fence in the yard, plant or weed the garden, or hang pictures on the wall. Putting these special projects on the calendar will help you feel accomplished at the end of the summer. 

Consider Local Events

Once you have planned the big items on your calendar, you can fill in the gaps with fun local things to do. 

Social media pages, local news sources or magazines, and neighborhood bulletins can help discover local events, new parks, parades, and more! You can also search for “summer events near me” in a search engine.

Leave Time for Rest

When planning your summer activities, be sure to schedule regular breaks. Your child shouldn’t return to school exhausted from their summer break–if they are, they may struggle when school starts. Schedule a few days off a week for leisure and to recover from busy activities. Consider your child’s personality and whether they need more alone time to recharge versus social children. 

Ready for some fun and free summer activity ideas? Here are our favorites!

Your Local Library

If you haven’t discovered the resources in your neighborhood library, summer is the perfect time! Most libraries have weekly scavenger hunts, baby to kindergarten story times, arts and crafts events, culinary events, LEGO play dates, science experiments, and so much more! 

Many libraries have reading challenges where kids can win prizes. These help children stay motivated, improve their reading skills, and keep their brains sharp during the academic break. 

Most library events are free and require no registration, so they are the perfect last-minute activity to add to your calendar. 

Backyard Campout

Camping provides many wonderful childhood memories. But many of us don’t want to pack up our whole house or forfeit indoor plumbing. When you camp in your own backyard, you have the best of both worlds!

Children are just as delighted with pitching a tent, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire, and stargazing in their backyard as they are in the middle of the forest. Backyard camping is a low-risk activity because if things don’t go well, you can just go inside! But if your child loves camping, you can try an official campground later. 

Watch an Outdoor Movie

Going to the movies can be expensive and you’re limited to what you can watch. But with just a projector, a big sheet, a speaker, and some blankets and pillows, you can have a memorable outdoor movie experience!

Invite over some friends or keep it small; go all out with a candy and s’mores bar or just pop some popcorn. The details are up to you! Either way, your kids will love watching their favorite movie outside.

Nature Hike and Picnic Lunch

There’s only so much video gaming and television watching that a kid can (or should!) do in the summer. While technology has its place, summer is the main time schoolchildren have to explore outdoors for a great length of time. These opportunities should be taken advantage of!

Pack a picnic lunch and find a local hiking trail. Many parks in your area have walking paths or easy hiking trails. Even better, pick a park that has a splash pad and pack a swimsuit to cool off after your hike!

To make your nature hike more engaging and educational, bring along a bird or insect identification guide, print out a scavenger hunt page, or bring along a bag or cup to collect interesting nature items and flowers for a bouquet. 

Water Fun Four Free Ways

Children of all ages love to play in the water, even if it’s just splashing in a shallow pool. While adults typically think of swimming in a pool as the main summer activity, this isn’t always possible from a time and financial standpoint. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on water fun! Here are some easy ways to enjoy water activities:

  • Splash Pads: Many local parks have splash pads in addition to their playground equipment. For extra fun and creativity, bring some plastic cups or bath toys.
  • Water Balloon Fight: There are countless ways to enjoy water balloons on a hot day: games, races, battles, and more! Make it a neighborhood event or keep it small–either way, it’s sure to delight your children!
  • Sprinkler: This old-fashioned backyard water fun never goes out of style! While there are hundreds of colorful blow-up sprinklers, any yard sprinkler would do!   
  • Squirt Guns: Another favorite that never gets old! Similar to a water balloon fight, you can make a squirt gun battle a social event or keep them handy for when boredom strikes. 

Have a Nature Evening

Nature is full of beauty and magic at night, but children are often sleeping by the time it gets dark. But one night, plan a special night to soak up all the beauty and enjoyment of nature, even if it goes past their bedtime:

  • Watch the sunset
  • Catch fireflies
  • Stargaze on a night with a full moon
  • Find the constellations

No matter what your summer plans include, there’s always time to make memories with your children that will last a lifetime!

Developmental Milestones Parents Should Look For

Some children are early walkers, talkers, or readers. Some children want to do everything like their big siblings while others like to just watch. 

Every child develops at their own pace, but developmental milestones are one of the ways pediatricians and parents can anticipate upcoming skills and ensure each child is developing normally.

What Is a Developmental Milestone?

A developmental milestone is the expected level of gross and fine motor skills, mental and emotional skills, cognition skills, and social skills for the child’s age. These will build on each other over time to accomplish greater strength, coordination, and comprehension. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of age-appropriate developmental milestones that many pediatricians use as a guideline in tracking developmental progress. These are not an absolute standard–in fact, it was revised in 2022! Many children eventually develop normally, even if they are “behind” in certain areas. 

While developmental milestones aren’t something to stress over, they can help determine necessary care and therapy if a milestone is missed or delayed. A pediatrician noting these delays can qualify your child for beneficial therapy or healthcare procedures to benefit their quality of life. 

Why Parents Should Know Developmental Milestones

Because most children only see their pediatricians at well-visits, months or even a year can go by before a pediatrician examines and observes your child. Even then, the pediatrician relies heavily on the parent’s subjective report because they can only observe so much in a 30-minute appointment.

Parents and guardians, then, need to know what to expect in the age range (or upcoming age range) of their child so they can give an accurate report. Many pediatrician’s offices will provide a handout of these milestones.  

You must be honest at the pediatrician’s office. The pediatrician is on your child’s side! Even if your child isn’t meeting developmental milestones, the pediatrician is the one who can help, so sharing honestly can only benefit your child. 

2 Months

By two months old, babies should be able to look at your face and be happy to see you. They should make other sounds than crying and be startled by loud noises. They should watch you move around the room and look at toys for several seconds at a time. They can hold their head up when lying on their tummy, move both arms and legs, and open and close their hands.

4 Months

At four months, babies can smile, chuckle, and make cooing sounds. They will look at their hands with interest and recognize that a bottle or breast means food. They can hold their head up, put their hands in their mouth, use their arms to swing at toys, and hold themselves up on their forearms while on their tummy.

6 Months

Your 6-month-old should be laughing, love looking at himself in a mirror, and recognize familiar people. They can squeal, take turns with you making sounds, and blow “raspberries.” They can reach for toys and put them in their mouths, roll from tummy to back, push up on straight arms when on their tummy, and can sit (leaning on hands for support if necessary).

9 Months

At 9 months, your baby may be shy or fearful of strangers and react when you leave by crying or reaching for you. They will laugh at peek-a-boo, show various facial expressions (like happy, sad, mad), and respond to their name. They will say repeated sounds like “mama” or “baba” and lift their arms to be picked up. They will look for objects dropped out of sight, bang objects together, and transfer objects from one hand to another. They can get into a sitting position and sit unsupported.

12 Months

At a year old, babies play pat-a-cake, wave “bye,” say “mama” and “dada,” and understand “no”–even if they don’t listen! They like to put things in a container and look for objects you hide under a blanket as a game. They will pull to stand, cruise alongside furniture, pick up food between their thumb and pointer finger, and drink from a cup with help. 

15 Months

Around 15 months, toddlers love to copy what other children do, show you their toys, clap, stack objects, and show physical affection to toys and loved ones. They may say one or two other words, like “da” for dog. They will look at objects when you name them, follow simple directions (“give me the toy”), and point to someone or something for help. They may be stacking steps on their own and feeding themselves.

18 Months

Toddlers at 18 months point at interesting things, play away from you, look at books, and know how to help you dress them. They try to say more words and follow one-step directions. They copy your chores and mannerisms. They walk on their own, climb on and off a couch, scribble, and try to use utensils. 

2 Years

At 2 years, toddlers pay more attention to social situations by acting sad when others cry or look to see your reaction to a new situation. They can point to familiar objects in a book, say two words together (“more milk”), point to two body parts, and gesture more often by blowing kisses or nodding yes. They are interested in knobs and switches, playing with more than one toy at a time, running, kicking a ball, walking up steps, and eating with a spoon.

30 Months

At 2.5 years, toddlers begin to play with other children instead of beside them. They can follow a simple routine (“it’s time to clean up”) and like to get your attention to watch them. They can say about 50 words, using a noun and verb together like “doggie run.” They can tell you the names of objects in books and say “I,” “me,” and “we.” 

They begin to play imaginatively and use simple problem-solving skills. They can follow two-step instructions like “shut the door and take off your coat.” They can identify at least one color. They begin to use their hands to twist things, take off some clothes independently, jump with both feet, and turn pages in a book.

3 Years

3-year-olds can self-soothe within 10 minutes of childcare drop-off, and play with other children. You can begin to have simple conversations, and they ask “who,” “what,” “where,” or “why” questions. They can identify an action in a book like running or jumping. They say their first name and talk well enough for other adults to understand them. 

They can draw a circle, string large beads on a string, use a fork, and put on some clothes independently. They avoid touching objects like a hot stove when instructed.

4 Years

Young children pretend to be something else during play, like a superhero or ballerina. They comfort a sad friend, avoid dangerous situations like jumping from a tree, like to help, and can change behavior based on their surroundings (home vs. school). 

Their sentences are four or more words long, ask simple questions, and can tell you something about their day. They can name colors, tell what comes next in a story, and draw a person with three or more body parts. They can catch a large ball, serve their own food, unbutton buttons, and hold their utensil and pencils in a pencil grasp. 

5 Years

Children at this age can play games with simple rules, act or dance, and do simple chores. They can tell simple stories, answer simple questions, keep a conversation going with up to four exchanges, and recognize simple rhymes.

They can count to 10, recognize some written numbers and letters, and write some letters in their name. They can pay attention for 5 to 10 minutes, use words about time like “yesterday” or “afternoon,” button some buttons, and hop on one foot.

Developmental milestones should be used as a tool to help you and your pediatrician evaluate your child’s development. Some children develop faster than others, and some develop quicker in some areas and not others–like a socially aware child who is a late walker. 

If you have concerns about your child’s development, speak with your pediatrician! They can best assist you.

At Bright Start Louisville, we have a well-rounded curriculum for every age group that helps them meet their developmental milestones. We provide many opportunities throughout the day for children to develop fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills, and social and emotional skills. 

Bright Start Louisville offers exceptional childcare to children six weeks to 12 years old. We’re proud to offer a fun and educational preschool program that prepares your child for kindergarten per state educational standards.

If you’re looking for excellent childcare that gives your child a head start in life, contact Bright Start Louisville today!

What’s Next

Kid-Friendly Snack Recipes to Try at Home

Kid-Friendly Snack Recipes to Try at Home

Every parent can relate to the frustration of their child frequently asking for a snack. While it’s easy enough to provide packaged snacks or easy fruits like apples and bananas, this can get expensive quickly! 

Plus, the ingredients and additives in many packaged snacks can make your child’s food cravings and mood swings even worse. 

Dyes like Red #40, Yellow #5, and Blue #1 are found in many packaged snacks, especially those marketed to children because their vibrance is attractive. But these dyes are detrimental to human health: they are carcinogenic and are linked to behavior problems, ADD/ADHD, and so much more. 

Other ingredients like sugar (and all their lesser-known names), seed oils, preservatives, artificial flavorings, and more, can have negative effects on childhood development, disrupt hormones, increase the risk of obesity, and more.

What Makes a Good Snack?

There’s a lot of health and diet advice out there! But basic science concepts can be applied to choosing a healthy snack.

We all know that sweet things (sugar and sweeteners, but also substances our bodies process as sugar like wheat and dairy) spike our blood sugar. We get a burst of energy, feel alert, and are in a good mood, but it’s only a matter of time before we feel sluggish and cranky again.

This blood sugar roller coaster happens when there isn’t a healthy fat to slow the absorption of sweeteners. Not all fat is bad, and when healthy fats are eaten in moderation, they are actually beneficial. Fats keep you full for longer, so you eat less–which is good for your budget and waistline!

Not to mention, children need healthy fats to grow strong minds and bodies!

It can be challenging to get kids to eat healthy fats, so a good snack for children will combine something yummy and fun with a healthy fat or protein.

Here are some fun, yummy, and healthy snacks that your kids will love!

Chocolate Hummus

While beans as a sweet dip may sound like a bad mashup, don’t pass this recipe over before giving it a try! 

This healthy dip can be served with a variety of sweet and salty dippers like fruit slices, pretzels, or crackers. The protein in the garbanzo beans or chickpeas slows down the sugar in the honey (or fruit dippers) so your child stays full for longer. Just blend these ingredients well:

  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans or chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Yogurt Fruit Cups

Sweetened yogurt and fruit is a classic snack combination and irresistible for children and adults alike. The protein and healthy fat in the yogurt keep tummies full for longer than fruit alone. Plus, this snack is simple to prep and store a week’s worth of yogurt cups in your fridge for a super easy and delicious snack! 

  • 4 cups cut-up fresh fruit or berries 
  • 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup granola (optional)

Evenly distribute the fruit amongst five single-serving cups. Spoon the yogurt evenly over the fruit. If using, portion granola into snack baggies to keep fresh until consumption. Keep refrigerated. 

Peanut Butter Date Energy Balls

These energy balls are the perfect size for little hands that taste like a cookie without giving your child the sugar crash of a sugar-sweetened snack. 

  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 2/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup oats, quick-cooking or rolled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, dairy-free if needed

Soak the dates in warm water for about 10 minutes. Drain the dates and blend them in a food processor. Once smooth, add the peanut butter, oats, vanilla, and chia seeds. Blend until the consistency is firm but pliable enough to roll into a ball. Add more oats if the batter is too sticky, or add more peanut butter if it is too dry. 

Add the chocolate chips and mix with a spoon. Portion batter into 1 tbsp balls and store in a container in the refrigerator. 

Frozen Yogurt Bark 

If your kid is always wanting ice cream or popsicles, try swapping out this frozen yogurt bark instead. It gives your child the same enjoyment of a sweet frozen treat without the sugar and artificial flavors. 

  • 2 cups vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup granola

Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the yogurt evenly on a baking sheet. Then sprinkle the berries and granola evenly onto the yogurt. Freeze for at least 3 hours, or until firm. Break into pieces and keep frozen until serving. 

Growing children need to snack throughout the day to meet their dietary and energy needs. It’s your job as a parent to choose snacks that keep them healthy.

Bright Start Louisville offers exceptional childcare to children six weeks to 12 years old. We’re proud to offer a fun and educational preschool program that prepares your child for kindergarten per state educational standards.

If you’re looking for excellent childcare that gives your child a head start in life, contact Bright Start Louisville today!

What’s Next

Best Developmental Toys Your Children Will Love

Best Developmental Toys Your Children Will Love

Children learn primarily through play. Playtime is their “school” or “job” to develop the skills they need later for their actual schooling and occupations. When you see playtime as education, then you’ll want to provide your child with toys that grow their brains, bodies, and language skills. 

Should All Toys Be Educational?

Not necessarily, but children should have access to mostly educational toys.  

Toys shape your child’s understanding and interpretation of their world. If every toy has lights, noises, music, or some technology component, they won’t be satisfied with anything that isn’t interactive in later years. 

Children who grow up playing with open-ended toys (that is, toys that can be used in more than one way, like blocks) will be more curious, have excellent problem-solving skills, and be more content. Tech-based toys usually have only one function or purpose and can be addictive just like other forms of technology.  

Tech toys are permissible throughout the day but shouldn’t be your primary form of toys.

Understanding How Your Child Develops

Children develop in three primary areas: cognitive (which includes emotions), physical, and speech/language skills. 

  • Cognitive development includes problem-solving, decision-making, abstract thinking, and emotional regulation.
  • Physical development includes both gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are big movements, like crawling, walking, running, jumping, climbing, and more. Fine motor skills involve picking up or manipulating small objects purposefully. Coordination is also important for gross and fine motor skills.
  • Speech and language skills include growing a vocabulary, developing sentence structure, and comprehending what others are saying. 

A developmental toy will encourage growth in one or more of these areas.

Best Developmental Toys for Babies 

The best developmental toys for babies have high-contrast colors because their vision is still developing and toys with bright or high-contrasting colors and bold patterns will grab and keep their attention. Playmats with mobiles are great for newborns, while blocks, stacking rings, and rattles are good choices for older babies. 

Toys should include various textures, as babies want to touch everything–and put it in their mouth! Ensure that toys and books don’t have any small pieces that a baby can choke on. 

Once your child begins to be mobile, push and pull toys will help develop their gross motor skills, as they both make these toys cruise and chase after them. Grow speech and language skills with simple books. 

Best Developmental Toys for Toddlers

Children at this age are testing their newfound independence, so it’s important to find toys that give them a challenge but are still simple enough to grow their confidence in independence. Puzzles with large pieces, blocks, and matching games combine cognitive development with gross and fine motor development.

Toddlers love creating artwork. Simple art supplies help develop sequencing skills, fine motor development, and creativity. Crayons, paint sticks, paint brushes, or markers should all be non-toxic, as children often try to taste them.

To develop your toddler’s speech skills, puppets, dolls and action figures, and kitchen sets let your child utilize their growing vocabulary. Age-appropriate books introduce new words, help build sentence structure, and reinforce their understanding of words they already know. 

Best Developmental Toys for Pre-K Children

Pre-K children have more developed cognitive, motor, and language skills and can do more coordinated activities. They can do many of the same activities as toddlers but on a higher level. For instance, puzzles with interlocking pieces, magnetic tile pieces for building structures, and Duplo or LEGO blocks are more appropriate and challenging for Pre-K kids.

Tripod scooters, balance bikes or tricycles, or bicycles with training wheels improve their gross motor skills. For fine motor, you can choose more challenging art projects, such as paint-by-numbers, scissor activities, stickers, or tracing. 

Keep reading age-appropriate books to develop your child’s language skills. They may also benefit from an interactive toy that teaches letters, letter sounds, numbers, a second language, and more in preparation for kindergarten. 

Choosing the right toys for your child is just as important as choosing the right foods. While everything is alright in moderation, you still want your child to eat their fruits, veggies, grains, and proteins. Don’t give your child just tech-based toys–instead, choose a variety of toys that develop their cognition, motor skills, and language skills.

Bright Start Louisville offers exceptional childcare to children six weeks to 12 years old. We’re proud to offer a fun and educational preschool program that prepares your child for kindergarten per state educational standards.

If you’re looking for excellent childcare that gives your child a head start in life, contact Bright Start Louisville today!

What’s Next

How Important is Story Time in the Evening?

How Important is Story Time in the Evening?

Parents intuitively know that children benefit from being read to, but how important actually is story time?

Studies have proven that reading to children benefits them immediately and in the future! Children who are read to have:

  • Better language skills – Quality literature improves language understanding, grammar, and sentence structure
  • Increased vocabulary – Quality literature exposes children to a wide vocabulary and better understanding of words
  • Improved literacy – Research shows a strong connection between reading aloud to children and advanced literacy skills. 
  • Emotional bonding with parents – positive connections are made between a parent and the child during read-aloud

Here are a few suggestions for finding time slots for reading to your child. Be sure to read to the end to learn the best time of day to read to your child!

Early Morning Reading

If your child is an early-morning cuddler, take advantage of this time to read with your child! Cozy up with a blanket, some books, and something to drink or eat. This will quickly become one of your favorite parts of the day and cherished memories.

Even if your child is bouncing off the walls early in the morning, you can still have early morning reading. It can even be an excellent way to teach your child self-regulation. Children want to engage with you when they first wake up and may be willing to snuggle up with a good book. 

Mid-Morning Reading

By mid-morning, babies are ready for their first nap of the day. Taking just a few minutes to read to them before naptime signals that it’s time to sleep. 

Young children may have burned through their breakfast energy and are looking for something to do or eat. Children turn to their parents frequently for engagement, ideas for activities, and to regulate their emotions. If your child turns mischievous, so it can be easy to turn to technology or snacks to get over the mid-morning hump.

Taking a few minutes to read will give them the emotional regulation their bodies are craving, and you may be surprised that they aren’t as needy for technology or snacks as you previously thought. Often after reading, children are regulated and ready to choose their next activity with cheerfulness and independence. 

Before Nap Time

Babies, toddlers, and young children should have regular naps. Often, children of these ages will take a nap in the early afternoon. This is another perfect time to sneak in some reading!

As your child starts to slow down, choose quieter activities, or zone out, initiate some reading time. Take the child to a cozy spot such as their bed or a rocking chair, and read one to three books. This further relaxes your child, gives them a visual timeline of when it’s time to nap (“This is our last book!”), and helps them fall asleep faster. 

After Nap Time

If your kid is grouchy, sleepy, or whiney after waking up from a nap, cuddling with a book might be the perfect solution. A healthy snack or drink also helps gently raise blood sugar and mood so they are cheerful after reading together. 

Before Bed 

What’s the best time to read to your kids? Right before bed!

Science is now showing that reading before bed is the best time to read with your child. In one study, reading at bedtime significantly lengthened children’s total nighttime sleep duration. That’s music to every parent’s ears!

At bedtime, kids are sleepy enough to be relaxed but are still alert as they fight sleep. Reading with your child before bed establishes a routine that promotes bonding and gets them into a sleepy state of mind to fall asleep–and stay asleep!

Bright Start Louisville offers exceptional childcare to children six weeks to 12 years old. We’re proud to offer a fun and educational preschool program that prepares your child for kindergarten per state educational standards.

If you’re looking for excellent childcare that gives your child a head start in life, contact Bright Start Louisville today!

What’s Next

What Is Quality Literature in Kids Books? (Plus Age-Appropriate Book Guide)

What Is Quality Literature in Kids Books? (Plus Age-Appropriate Book Guide)

You may have heard about the importance of reading to your child, but what books are best? Can you read any book that interests your child, or should you pick one that is of higher quality?

Quality literature expands your child’s world! Through well-written stories, their imaginations are inspired and they pick up important educational concepts like sentence structure and vocabulary. Watching stories unfold helps children develop social and emotional skills. 

What Makes Literature of High Quality?

What exactly is quality literature? It’s not just Shakespeare or old poets!

A book would be considered quality literature if it includes all (or most) of the following:

  • Well-written, interesting stories: Some stories are too simple, don’t make much sense, or don’t provide a positive message. 
  • Age-appropriate words: Most of the words should be understandable to a child, but quality literature will stretch a child’s vocabulary just a little bit.
  • An overall positive message or conflict is resolved: Quality literature often has role models, teaches life lessons or positive character quality, or has inspiring themes. Conflict resolution is also important.
  • Illustrations are detailed: Interesting illustrations draw children back to the book because they want to look at the pictures. Detailed illustrations allow you to discuss the pictures, which further expose your child to language understanding. 
  • Has won an award: Outstanding books are awarded every year. Some popular awards are the Randolph Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Book Awards, and Pura Belpré Award.

In summary, if you (or your child!) want to read the book more than once, it’s likely quality literature. 

What’s not quality literature? Here are a few things to avoid when choosing books:

  • Trending animated characters: Children may want to read books with their favorite movie or TV character over and over, but it’s not because the literature is quality. 
  • Graphic novels: While not all graphic novels are bad, these can be a crutch that keeps children from making the transition from picture books to chapter books. The plot lines are often shallow and too much like a cartoon. 

Finding Quality Literature

It’s easy to find quality literature for story time! While you should purchase some of your favorite books, you can find most books through your local library.

Type in “quality literature + age of your child” into a search bar for thousands of options for quality books. You can then request your favorite titles from the library.

You can also ask your librarian for suggestions. They will know of classic books as well as new award winners and recent releases. 

Here are some age-appropriate quality literature books for young children.


  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox.
  • Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
  • I Am a Bunny, by Ole Risom
  • Mommies Say Shhh! by Patricia Polacco.
  • Peekaboo Bedtime, by Rachel Isadora. 
  • Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt
  • My Farm Friends, by Wendell Minor. 
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
  • Moo, Baa, La la la, by Sandra Boynton
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr
  • Goodnight, Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
  • The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats


  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Corduroy, by Don Freeman
  • The Little Red Caboose, by Little Golden Books
  • Llama, Llama, Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney
  • Little Blue Truck, by Alice Shertle


  • Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf
  • Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss
  • Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman
  • Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey
  • Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey

Go a Little Deeper

As you read a book with your child, ask age-appropriate and thought-provoking questions or commentary before turning the page. 

For instance, if a picture has animals in it, tell your baby or toddler what sound it makes. If your child is older, ask them what sound it makes. You can also tell young children about colors, shapes, and numbers, as well as spatial concepts like up and down, in and out, and over and under. 

Older children can also make social and emotional connections through stories. If a picture shows a character who is sad, happy, or surprised, ask them why they might feel that way. Or if there is conflict in the story, ask your child what should happen to make things right. 

Technology Can’t Replace the Parent

If you want your child to experience the benefits of reading but don’t have the time to sit down with your child, you might turn to audiobooks or children’s podcasts. Your library may also have children’s books that read the book aloud to your child. 

While these are better than iPads or television shows, podcasts and audiobooks aren’t the same as reading with your child. This is because the emotional bonding over books is lacking; a stranger is reading to your child.

This doesn’t mean that you can never let your child listen to a podcast or audiobook, but if you want your child to fall in love with reading, it’s vital to take the time to read with your child. 

Bright Start Louisville offers exceptional childcare to children six weeks to 12 years old. We’re proud to offer a fun and educational preschool program that prepares your child for kindergarten per state educational standards.

If you’re looking for excellent childcare that gives your child a head start in life, contact Bright Start Louisville today!

What’s Next

Fun Arts and Crafts Activities for Young Children