Your kids may be too young to truly understand a story or, face it, even sit up without tipping over. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be involved in the experience. That’s where touch-and-feel books come into play. The books, which let kids pull, twist, rub, and pet characters and objects, not only invite them to be a part of the story but also help them learn how to interact with the world. Here are 8 great tactile tales to experience with your kids.
That’s Not My Puppy: Its Coat Is Too Hairy
Any entry from Fiona Watt’s “That’s Not My…” book series is (hard)bound to be a hit with babies. But this puppy-centric tale is a good first choice. It’s repetitive, bright, and — most importantly — short. Despite its length, the book has a lot of items including, yes, a puppy to touch.
That’s Not My Puppy: Its Coat is Too Hairy, by Fiona Watt ($10)
Tickle, Tickle, Peter Rabbit
Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit is the OG bunny. And the antics of him and his friends never fail to attract a baby’s attention. At least for 15 minutes or so. But hey, in terms of infant attention spans? That’s not bad. And this book is loaded with simple rhymes and lots of soft textures that present plenty of moments for teaching. Like, explaining what a foot is. And the fact that actual bunnies probably don’t like having their butts pinched.
Tickle, Tickle, Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter ($10)
Touch And Feel Town
So many touch-and-feel books exist in the small farm/soft critter genre. It makes sense (so many obvious things to pet), but where’s the love for the urban life? Touch And Feel Town is for the city babies. Its pages take kids on a stroll through a bustling metropolis, asking them to touch a taxi, traffic light, and sidewalk. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a touch-and-feel box of Clorox wipes at the end of the adventure.
Touch and Feel Town, by DwellStudios ($7)
This tactile tale is crawling with spiders, centipedes, and other creepy critters. So, unless you want to be responsible for your baby’s first nightmare, it’s best reserved for slightly older kids. That said, the bugs each have inspired textures and shapes that should increase a young appetite for the insect world — and probably lead to tasting a few worms later in life. It’s only natural.
Feely Bugs, by David Carter
If you have a pet and a toddler, then you’re aware of this: Babies love to yank the hell out of tails. It’s like a furry ripcord they can’t wait to pull. Matthew Fleet’s Tails is packed with a variety of waggers kids can touch and feel without fear of pet-retaliation. Alongside the tufts of fur are tabs and flaps that let kids open and discover. There’s even a scratch and sniff skunk tail. Because knowing that a skunk can coat you in stink is a lesson any tail-grabber should learn early.
Tails, by Matthew Van Fleet ($14)
Fuzzy! Fuzzy! Fuzzy!
Chances are you already have about 700 Sandra Boynton books. Well, make it 701 because Fuzzy! is required touching for tiny people. They can tickle the furry bunny, stroke a pig’s smooth snout, and scratch the puppy’s rough paw as you read them the silly, entertaining narrative for which Boynton is known. And don’t feel shy about making some animal noises. It adds to the experience.
Fuzzy! Fuzzy! Fuzzy! By Sandra Boynton ($10)
Curious George at the Zoo
It’s pretty likely that your kids have grabbed at a page or 2 when reading about the man in the yellow hat and his curious little companion. There’s just something about seeing that little monkey that unearths a kid’s innate need to rub. This book allows babies to touch and feel the animals George interacts with, including a rhino and zebra. Bonus: George is hiding on each page, so help your baby find the furry guy.
Curious George at the Zoo, by H.A. Rey ($10)
Stroking fur? That’s pretty great. But this book ups the ante by rewarding curious touchers with blasting the honks of those titular trucks. Each page features bright illustrations of a different vehicle, along with a place to feel and push for sound. The text is playful enough that you won’t mind that your kid hits the dump truck noise 72 times in a row. Maybe.
Noisy Trucks, by Tiger Tales ($10)