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Best Busy Books for kids and why they are a must!

by | Mar 3, 2020 | Just Kids, Reading | 1 comment

Whether you’re planning a trip by car or air… A dinner somewhere “less than child-friendly”… Need your little one to play quietly during church or other silent gatherings or maybe just as an extra something fun to pass the time during rainy days or while waiting somewhere in line… Busy Books for kids have come to our rescue on more than one occasion and we have quite the collection. So, I thought I’d share our favourites, enjoyed by all the girls (and their friends).

Our Best Busy Books for kids – Tried, tested and approved

First busy books for tiny toddlers

When it comes to something special and unique. Something your little will treasure forever…

Hops Collection Busy Books

You can’t go wrong with a loving, handmade fabric Busy Book by Hops Collection. Themed for Christmas or just for fun each one of these books are made to order so, you’ll need to follow their Instagram and basically stalk the page not to miss when orders open BUT mama, it’s worth it!

My Reënboogboek Boek 1 en 2 (2+)

busy Books For Kids 2

Author: Ballon Media
Category: 2-6 years
ISBN: 9780798180115 / 9780798180122
Format: Soft cover 20 pages

My Reënboogboek Boek 1 en 2 (3+)

Busy Books For Kids

Author:  Ballon Media
Category: 3-6 years
ISBN: 9780798180139 / 9780798180146
Format: Soft cover 20 pages

This little collection of carry along books make for the perfect 1st busy book. Big pictures, simply illustrated with easy to follow instructions and bold colours. Plus added stickers too… What toddler doesn’t love the sign of a approval stickers hold?

The outlines of the pictures show children which colours to use and the stickers help decorate completed pages. Each pages expects the same but with gradual climbs in expectation, as little ones learn about colours while practicing those fine motor skills.

Ava really enjoys the repetitive nature of this series and believes she can read just as well as her 8-year-old sister while completing her “homework” too.

Painting with water

Melissa & Doug – On the Go Water Wow! Books

Melissa Doug Water Wow Books

No-mess painting for kids! Yes mama, no mess! These are a must for road trips or any travel actually. Simply fill the water pen (included) with water and have fun! Colour, connect the dots, find hidden pictures, practice numbers, words, letter and shapes.

And it’s so easy:

  • Use the pen to colour in each scene.
  • See the vibrant colours appear with every stroke.
  • Then let the page dry to erase the pictures and start all over again!

Reusable pages and the pen refillable means you can buy a variety of themes and rotate them amongst the kids. The chunky-sized water pen is also easy to grip and use even for tiny toddler hands like Avas. (2 years old)

We only play with these when traveling giving the girls something to look forward to.

Fun “Look and Find” Books for preschoolers

Vou en vind: Ontdek diere!

Vou En Vind Ontdek Diere

Author: Really Decent Books
Category: 1-6 years
ISBN: 9780798179522
Format: Hard cover 5 pages

Vou en vind: Reis deur tyd!

Vou En Vind Reis Deur Tyd

Author: Really Decent Books
Category: 2-6 years
ISBN: 9780798179577
Format: Hard cover 5 pages

These unique folding books made our list for 2 reasons:

  • The unmistakable  “WOW” factor you experience once opening one of the huge fold-out pages
  • And the clever way the illustrators have hidden 250 different items throughout the 5 pages. (We still haven’t found them all)

“Reis deur Tyd” is our favourite and evokes many clever questions from the girls which makes this history buff mama’s heart skip a beat!

Sticker books for older kids

My eerste plakkerboek: Prinsesse en Dinosourusse

My Eerste Plakkerboek Prinsesse En Dinosourusse

Author: Imagine That , Kobus Geldenhuys
Category: 4-9 years
ISBN: 9780798179751 / 9780798179768
Format: Soft cover 24 pages

Pages of beautifully illustrated princess and dino scenes with big reusable stickers! Little ones enjoy hours of play creating interesting scenes, fun stories and new moments. This is such a creative activity stretching the imaginations and language skills.

Plakkerpret met 555 monsters / diere / voertuie / perde en towerponies

Plakkerpret Met 555

Author: Imagine That , Kobus Geldenhuys
Category: 4-9 years
ISBN: 9780798179232 / 9780798179249 / 9780798178709 / 9780798178716
Format: Soft cover 24 pages

Monsters, trolls, fire-spitting dragons, zombies and mummies…

Cows, duck, monkeys, lions, polar bears, snakes and eagles…

Vehicles of all shapes and sizes, trains, space rockets and hot-air balloons…

Magic forests, rainbow bridges, pony parades and unicorns…

Whatever your little’s interest, this series, with 555 stickers per book (more than enough to cover every page) guarantees to keep tiny hands busy for hours on end.

Foundation Phase Maths for extra practice

Pret Met Wiskunde: Graad 1 tot 3

Pret Met Wiskunde

Author: Mart Meij, Mart Meij, Glaudina Rossouw, Charlotte Sullivan, Laverne Hattingh, Sarie Verwey, Carinda van Heerden, Helena Coetzee
Category: 7-9 years
ISBN:9781776070435 / 9781776070442 / 9781776070558
Format: Soft cover 104 pages

“Maths anxiety can have a debilitating effect on children’s self-confidence and learning potential, and may eventually even limit their choice of career. Instilling basic numeracy skills at an early age and teaching Maths in a way that engages young learners can go a long way to prevent a life-long fear of numbers.”

Not a traditional choice but our Eliana loves maths – she gets it from her dad. The “Nuwe Pret met Wiskunde” books aim to help children grasp basic numeracy concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division at a young age, helping to lay a solid foundation.

This book also comes in pretty handy for a mathematically challenged mama providing step-by-step math resources that can be applied and practiced throughout the entire year.

  • Practice pages instill the basics that children need to be able to recall readily
  • Worksheets enhance creative thinking and problem solving
  • Full-colour games serve to further inculcate skills

Areas covered include: patterns, functions and algebra; numbers, operations and relationships; space and shapes; data handling and measuring.

A little bit of everything

Speelmaats : Woef & Maats

Speelmaats Woef En Maats

Author: iSeek Ltd
Category: 3-10 years
Format: Soft cover 48 pages

Speelmaats : Kiets & Maats

Speelmaats Kiets En Maats

Author: iSeek Ltd
Category: 3-10 years
Format: Soft cover 48 pages

iSeek Ltd is a UK based children’s book publisher that specialise in creating and producing entertaining and interactive children’s books and family gift products. That’s probably why this busy book would make such a great gift.

The illustrations are works of art and with the carry-along handles, these books are truly something special. Great value for money too, loaded with a huge variety of activities aimed at developing your child’s hand-eye coordination, counting abilities, fine motor skills, knowledge of colours, shapes and counting abilities – just to name a few! All while keeping them busy for hours.

We take ours to church every week and when the sermon gets too long the girls enjoy some drawing, colouring, finding the differences, mazes, dot-to-dot, tracing, matching, and more!

A Classic worthy of mention

Bennie Boekwurm se besige pretboek

Bennie Boekwurm Se Besige Pretboek

Author: Louise Smit, Johann Strauss, Luan Serfontein
Category: 6-9years
Format: Soft cover 32 pages

This one was a favourite even before we turned a page bringing back many childhood memories of Bennie, his flower choir, Karel Kraai, Sarel Seemonster and the Wielie Walie crew!  Puzzles, quizzes, pictures to colour in and other games to play, as seen in Huisgenoot’s activity pages for kids. Remember those! We definitely enjoyed this book more than the kids and will be buying another, to share – maybe if they got a turn to complete an activity on their own, they’d love this busy book just as much as we do!

There are loads more busy books for kids focussed on arts and crafts, reading, writing… You name it!

The ones mentioned above have however proven most effective and easy to use while on the go – which is key for a travel-loving family, like ours BUT I’m always scouting bookstores in search of new titles. So, be sure to check back for updates.

You can find these books at your closest bookstore (Exclusive Books, Bargain Books) or online at and Readers Warehouse.

Disclosure: Some of the books mentioned above was sent to us by NB Uitgewers to review.
I am not paid to do so and only share books we love and recommend. All opinions are my own.

Best Busy Books For Kids

For more BOOKS WE LOVE (in English and Afrikaans) click here.

PHOTO CREDIT | Selected photos by Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison & West Lifestyle Division.

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1 Comment

  1. Caley

    SO many fun and awesome books! x


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