There are literally thousands of options when it comes to activity books for kids – from colouring books to crossword books, there are all sorts and it can be very overwhelming. I have also found it can be quite hard to find ones that actually suit Tori’s abilities (she’s 5 and in Year 1 at school) or that aren’t just a bit rubbish.
She’s not a huge fan of colouring things in for long periods of time – her colouring books are either mostly empty or, currently, full of columns of sums that she has written out and answered! So I am usually looking for something that isn’t 95% ‘Colour in the happy fish!’ but is still simple enough for her to mostly tackle on her own without having to have me sat beside her the whole time to read instructions or explain how to do things. That just gets us both frustrated and isn’t much fun.
I have created a list of the three activity books Tori has had the most pleasure from – great stocking fillers if you have a five year old in your life this Christmas!
1. I Love Animals Giant Activity Book
I actually bought this book when Tori was three and it has sat on our shelf ever since, waiting for her to catch up with it!
It lives up to the title, being A4 sized and a whopping 104 pages long! It has 200 stickers which are all numbered and feature photos of all kinds of animals from butterflies to elephants – they all have numbered spots through the book to fill in pictures, answer number questions and enhance puzzles.
There are full colour pages of fun facts about animals and bright photos of the featured animals along side big, bold activity pages that have simple instructions which Tori can manage to read and understand herself almost every time. The paper thick and good quality too so pens don’t go through and they don’t rip when she colours in.
The activities include counting activities, simple sums, mazes, colouring in, spot the difference, basic word searches, dot-to-dots, letter practice, drawing challenges and much more.
I really cannot recommend this activity book enough, it has already kept Tori occupied for hours and has plenty left to do. It’s not girly at all – there are all sorts of animals in there from kittens to sharks and woodlice to rhinos – and the sheer variety of things to do means it has something for almost everyone in there.
2. Gold Stars Ready For School Big Work Book (Ages 5-6)
I have always loved the Gold Star range. When I was little, this style of work book was my favourite thing and I remember many happy hours working through them, so it makes me happy to see Tori loving them too.
The Gold Star range is possibly my favourite now I am a parent – they are bright and bold which makes them visually appealing and the activities are presented in such a way that it doesn’t feel so much like ‘work’ as just fun.
The bumper book that we have is great because it covers phonics, english and maths all in one volume – Tori enjoys dipping in and out depending on her mood. She is going through a maths phase at the moment but before that, she would ask to practice her spelling or writing instead. Having them all between one cover saves a lot of faffing around finding the book that she wants and she also really enjoys learning to use the contents page at the front to find what she fancies doing.
The gold reward star stickers (that give the series their title) are great, too because Tori loves looking through the book to see how many pages have their little star on them to show she’s completed them.
3. The Usborne Monsters Colouring & Activity Book
Tori received this for Christmas last year but we didn’t really pick it up until the summer and I’m actually glad we waited because I think those six months made a big difference as to how much Tori would have enjoyed the book.
A great balance between colouring in and other activities, this book really let Tori embrace her creative artistic side with various drawing and doodling activities and instructions. It was great watching Tori draw herself a werewolf and the pride on her face when she came to show us afterwards was immense – it gave her the confidence to start drawing things off her own back a bit more, something she had previously been quite reluctant to do.
There was also the chance for her to finish off a creepy monster story, create her own yucky monster menu and find her way through the Minotaur’s labyrinth. A bit more fun than just colouring or counting but still within her abilities with just a little help from me.