MORE Book/Toy Combos for kids ages 3-6

One of my absolute favorite things to do with my kids is read with them.  I love going to the library with them, and I love finding new (or new to us) books for us to check out.

Last year on the blog I put together some book/toy combo ideas, and since it was a hit, I thought it would fun to revisit the idea this year with some more fun pairings!    I've mixed in the combos from last year, so that all of the ideas are all in one place.

Without further ado...let's get started!  

1. The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers with a paper making kit:  Oliver Jeffers is one of my all time favorite authors, and so I couldn't help adding this one to the list.  It's kind of like a detective picture book, and your kids will love this animal "who done it."  Pair it with a paper making kit...a fun activity that many kids don't get the opportunity to do.

2. The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg with an Aqua Doodle:  The Pencil reminds me a lot of Harold and the Purple Crayon (another one of my favorites!).  It's a cute story about pencil (and eraser) that get a little bit carrier away.  Pair it with an Aqua Doodle--which is basically an awesome travel toy that allows kids to draw with water (no mess!!) and draw again once the "paper" it dries out.  It's one of my kids favorite toys on the go.


3.  What the Dinosaurs did Last Night by Refe and Susan Tuma with plastic dinosaurs:
The title and clever pictures say it all.  Perfect for any kids with active imaginations...that have ever wondered what happens after they go to sleep.

4. Skycolor by Peter Reynolds with watercolors:  Peter Reynolds makes his first (of two) appearance in this book list...because I really love his books so much.  This book is perfect for the budding artist. Pair with some watercolor pencils...an often overlooked art supply for kids.

5. Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman with underwear:

Are your kids obsessed with underwear?  Mine are.  They are constantly begging me to buy them underwear with different characters on them.  They found this rhyming book about aliens that love underpants to be positively hilarious.

6. Dogs Don't do Ballet by Anna Kemp with ballet shoes:
This little dog wants nothing more than to be allowed to learn ballet.  Your budding ballerina will think it's positively hilarious, and the illustrations are gorgeous too. Pair with ballet shoes, a tutu, or a gift certificate for ballet lessons!

7. This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen with a Hat:
This was my daughter's favorite book for her entire 3rd year.  We checked it and rechecked it out of the library over and over again.   Pair it with a hat, of course!

8. Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae with a music set:
My daughter got this drum/music set for her 2nd Christmas (4 years ago!) and it's still a toy that my kids play with over and over again.  Giraffes can't dance is a delightful story about a Giraffe that just has to find his own song.  A favorite in my house!

9.  I Will Not Never Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child with Play Food:
Anyone who has ever dealt with a picky eater will love this book.  Pair it with some play food--one of my kids' favorites, a pizza party set!  My kids find so many uses for all those little veggies!

10.  Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins with a Play Cake:   This silly book has a cute message, and what better way to learn about manners than with cake?  Pair it with my kids second all time favorite play food, a cake set!  The funny thing is that I remember playing with a similar cake as a child, and I think I loved it just as much as my kids.

11.  Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Williams with a Playmobil bus:
Mo Williams books are hilarious, and this one's no exception.  This little pigeon makes my kids totally goofy!  Pair it with a playmobil bus.  The bus is a well-made toy that even lights up!  Ellie got it for her birthday this year and has played with it almost daily.

12. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister with a fish purse:
I always say that my kids are attracted to things that sparkle and things that they can cram with stuff.  This pairing checks off both criteria.  

13.  How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan with a sleeping bag:
Another giggle book in my house!  My kids love to read this with their grandparents... as it explores who is REALLY in charge when there's a sleepover at Grandma's!

14.  The Mighty Lalauche by Matthew Olshan with macaroon erasers:
Probably better for 5-6 year olds, this book is stunningly beautiful.  We checked it out of the library and my 6 year old spent hours studying the beautiful illustrations. It truly is a work of art that you need in your collection.

15. The Dark by Lemony Snicket with a flashlight:
I don't really understand it, but my kids would give up any toy in exchange for a flashlight.  This book explores childhood fears in a charming way.  The only way you could make this pairing better is by adding a book on how to make shadow puppets!

16. If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff book with a sock puppet kit:

You're probably familiar with Laura Numeroff's If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, but my kids actually love this moose better.  They love it when the moose makes sock puppets.  I've bought this kit for a friend's child once, so I can't say I've personally used it, but I love the fact that it's supposed to be relatively low mess and easy for kids to do on their own.

17.  Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett with knitting looms:
I've written about these knitting looms before when I put together my 4 year old gift guide last year.  Lu loves them!  It's probably more appropriate for kids on the older side of the 3-6 age group.  I absolutely love the book Extra Yarn too--it's a beautiful story with lovely illustrations.


18. Mix it Up by Herve Tullet with Crayola fingerpaints:
Are you familiar with Herve Tullet's Press here book?  If not, it's definitely one to check out.  It's interactive, meaning that kids need to shake, tilt, and press the book according to the storyline.  Mix it up is similar, but it's all about color theory.  I suggest pairing it with some finger paint for the younger kids, or maybe watercolors for 5-6 year olds.  Crayola is my favorite brand for art products for kids this age, as I find it to be truly washable, something I can't say for all other brands.

19. Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty with Legos:
Iggy Peck is creative, unique, and loves to build.  It's a cute (and educational story) that both my kids love.  Pair it with some age appropriate blocks..Both my 3 and 5 year old still love Duplos.
20. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith or Curious Garden with a garden root viewer:
These two gardening books are my absolute favorite gardening books of all time.  Grandpa Green is the story of a grandfather who has sculpted all of his life's memories out of plants in his garden.  The Curious Garden is the story of bringing green back to an urban city.  Both are beautifully illustrated. I've paired this one with a root viewer kit.  I've never actually tried this gardening kit...but I love the idea!
21. The Dot by Peter Reynolds with an art kit:
The dot is the perfect book for a child who lacks artistic confidence.  Again, a great story about "making a mark and seeing where it takes you." I've paired it with an art kit.  Lu received one of these last year and it probably gets more use than any of her other toys. Again, Crayola is my favorite brand for art supplies for this age range.
22. Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown with plastic animals
Ok, so can I say this is my favorite book.  It's a beauty.  Mr. Tiger (who wears clothes and lives in a city) is tired of being proper and decides he needs to go a little wild.  After a *gasp* nude scene in the town fountain Mr. Tiger returns to the wilderness, only to return later to realize that his towns animals have begun to embrace each other for who they really are.  It pairs well with plastic animals.

 23. Zoe Gets Ready by Bethanie Murguia with magnetic "paper" dolls
So this book is probably better for the younger side of the age group, and is definitely a great choice for any kid that loves to dress up.  Zoe thinks through what her day would be like depending on what she might wear.  Pair it with some paper dolls for a delightful gift for any fashion conscious child.
24.  Ladybug Girl by David Soman with a real camera
Both my kids love Ladybug girl.  Ladybug girl loves to look at ants and explore, so I've paired it with a kids' camera.  We have this camera and my kids love it.  Despite the pictures looking a little funky on the display, when we load the pics on the computer they are semi-decent, especially the ones taken outside.  It's been dropped numerous time and has held up well.  Both my 3 and 5 year old love to take pictures.
25. Snowballs by Lois Ehlert with a snow man kit
The snowballs book reminds me so much of my time on the east coast.  Each of the snowmen in the book is made from a child's bag of "good stuff."  It'd be great to pair with a snowman kit, or just grab a brown bag and fill it with pasta, seeds, buttons, and other misc. findings.

26. Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen with parachute toy
Lu loves this book.  I love the fact that it's not about a princess but instead about a little girl who is constantly making things.  Last year Santa gave my girls these "tangle free" parachutes and they loved them.  In fact, I think it occupied them more than any other gift.  They wanted to climb on daddy's shoulders, the play structure at the park, and throw them up in the air and watch them come down.  Lots of fun from just a few dollars.
27. Not a box by Antoinette Portis with my very own house cottage
You know what they say about kids liking the boxes at Christmas even more than what's inside right?  This book is all about all the amazing things a box can be. My kids have a castle cardboard kit and have gotten a lot of use out of it, but of course you could just pair with a regular box!

28. The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers with alphabet stamps
Another one of my absolute favorite books.  The little boy eats books to gain all of the knowledge inside.  It's very clever and both my kids think it is super silly.  Pair it with some alphabet stamps.  My younger daughter loves stamping, and my older one loves to use the letters to try to make words.

29.  The Bear's Song by Benjamin Chaud with binoculars
The illustrations in the bear's song are so charming, and remind me a lot of Where's Waldo.  Both my kids love looking through the complex illustrations to find the little bears.  Binoculars are a fun pairing, and are especially loved by my younger daughter as she embarks on whatever pretend play seems to capture her imagination.

30. La Luna by Enrico Casarosa with glow in the dark stars
Have you see the La Luna short film?  My kids were in awe when they saw it.  The book is equally charming.  It's great paired with glow in the dark stars.  We don't have these exact stars, but we've attached similar ones to the ceiling of my girls' room and they LOVE looking at them when they go to bed at night.
 Do you have any fun pairings to add to the list?  I'd love to hear!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that a small proportion of any sale through Amazon is given to me.


  1. What an amazing list of ideas, Jill! Herve Tullet has a shadow book that is also cute for younger kids who can't yet grasp making finger shadows - but still fun with a flashlight. This is also a great list to find some new books at the library. My kids tend to pull the first 5 books off the shelf and we often end up with ones that aren't very exciting. Well timed too -- I'm starting to think about Christmas!

  2. yupzzz i agree, is to help the development of children aged 3-6 years

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