Within a baby’s first year, it’s important to encourage as much cognitive growth as possible. This will ensure better social skills, language development, listening and communication, emotional connection, and more later in life.
You might be surprised to hear what milestones babies are working on in those little noggins as we raise them. Within the first three months, they learn to detect differences in pitch and tone, see colour, differentiate between various facial expressions, and learn to move their bodies in simple ways, to name a few.
Before 6 months, they’ll learn to recognise familiar faces, as well as respond to and imitate familiar expressions and sounds. At 9 months, they can understand the differences between animate and inanimate objects, and understand depth perception. Finally, before 12 months, they’ll start getting a grasp on object permanence, which is the idea that an object exists even when you can’t see it. Of course, these are just some examples as much more goes on behind the scenes.
As you can see, many essential life skills develop within the first year. To give them the best chance of developing these and more, it’s super important to read to your children. So here’s our top 10 favorite books to aid in baby’s development.
Pat the Zoo: A touch-and-feel book
Touch is actually the first sense your baby develops, so Pat the Zoo is perfect for even the littlest of babies. You and baby can feel a lion’s mane, a parrot’s feather, a frog’s tongue, and more in this tactile story.
Aussie Baby Animals
Did you know that babies can’t see colour for the first few months? That’s why it’s best to read black-and-white, high contrast books to the very youngest babies, like this one by Julia Murray. It’s also great for introducing baby to the cute Aussie animals they’ll soon learn more about.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has definitely stood the test of time! You may even remember reading it yourself when you were little. We’re happy to keep recommending it for babies today, as it’s full of fun colours, holes, shapes, and storytelling. It’ll also help teach them about the magic of nature!
Little Peep-Through: Are you there little Tiger?
Sam Taplin, Illustrated by Essi Kimpimaki
Babies may not be old enough to play hide-and-seek in real life, but it doesn’t mean they can’t read about it! In this pick, the reader plays hide-and-seek with a tiger. It introduces other animals along the way, and features bright colors and cute cutouts.
Indestructibles: Let’s be Kind
Amy Pixton, Illustrated by Ekaterina Trukhan
Little ones can be a bit messy, which is why we recommend the brand Indestructibles. All these books can be washed, and are rip-proof and waterproof. We especially love Let’s Be Kind because it introduces the idea of kindness, sharing, and helping other people out.
Baby sign language is a great way to communicate before they know how to talk. If you practice using this book, it’s easily achievable! This one features a list of simple words like milk, water, more, all done, diaper, it hurts, dog, cat, sleepy, and more.
The Feelings Book
Feelings can be hard to identify and communicate – heck, even adults struggle with it! To help with this, try The Feelings Book, which is bright and colourful but also teaches babies about their feelings. And, instead of sticking with the basic sad/mad/happy, Todd Parr also includes more obscure ones we can’t always explain.
What’s that Noise?
Sally Rippin, Lorette Broekstra
Introduce your baby to the sounds around them with What’s that Noise. The rhythmic story and inclusive, bright illustrations will interest your baby to no end.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Bill Marin Jr, John Archambault, Illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Yep, we’re still obsessed with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. This fun book introduces babies to the alphabet in a rhythmic way that every little one loves.
Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrated by Clement Hurd
Finally, this classic comfort book will quickly become a favourite in the house with its intricate illustrations and ultra-cosy storytelling. It’s perfect for any age, including babies, and you’ll be able to read it with your kids for years to come.