The best busy books to keep baby entertained

child playing with busy book

by Adejumoke Ilori |
Updated on

Busy books are designed to keep your child busy and includes colourful and interactive activities. They’re perfect for keeping your baby happy and entertained while on that road trip, having brunch or simply during play time at home, giving you some time to catch up on the latest Netflix series (we hope).

The interactive pages also encourage toddlers to use their hands and minds to unravel different activities. These creative activities inside the book are made to support your toddler practice and grow and stimulate their skills, in a range of departments: including thinking, fine motor, problem-solving, literacy and their imaginative skills.

Best at a glance:

Best overall busy book: Disney Moana Busy Book, £7.81
Best toddlers busy book: Multi-page busy book, £11.99
Best baby busy book: G-Tree Baby Quiet Books, £14.99
Best montessori busy book: Jollybaby my busy book, £22.99

Just like busy boards, busy books are often made of a plastic-coated cardstock or textile, giving your child a sensory understanding, through the use of multiple textured materials such as felt and velcro.

As always, we’ve picked our favourites and the best ones for you, so let’s take a look at busy books and their advantages.

Best lightweight busy book

Coogam busy book from Amazon
Price: $28.98

This Montessori busy board has 8 pages in 7 themes and features various activities, including dressing skills (buckles, zippers, buttons), alphabet, numbers, shapes and colours. It is great for 3-5 year old kids to learn basic life skills, laying a foundation for childhood development. It helps to enhance parent-child interaction when you play with this toy together, and is an ideal resource for any classroom or home school for curious kids. 

Review: "This book has been such a fun toy for my toddler. He loves to pull off the pieces and stick them back on the Velcro. Great fabric material for babies that like to chew on stuff/ put things in their mouth. Also, nothing sharp for them to hurt themselves on."

Pros

  • Contains 8 pages of activities in 7 themes 
  • An excellent choice for parents who are looking for travel-friendly toys

Cons

  • One review said the hook and looped pieces tended to fall off easily 

Best toddlers busy book

This 6-page learning busy book is great for 2–6-year-olds. Flexible and lightweight, it's easy for your child to carry or pack into a bag of toys. With its portable design makes it simple for kids to carry on the plane, in the car, on vacation, and while taking that road trip.

Review: "I was looking for something for my nephew who is now two years old. I love this product as there are lots of things to explore like zippers, buttons, straps and gears. It also allows you to learn the clock and geometric shapes. In short, a great, useful educational toy that I would buy again and again."

Pros

  • Ideal for travel
  • Made of soft felted wool with no hard edges

Cons

  • Not many pages

Best farm theme busy book

Amazon farm busy book
Price: $15.99

This busy book will help improve and grow your children's cognitive level skills, with matching games, shape, number, colours and puzzles, your little one will never feel bored again. Each page also comes with different challenges, allowing your child be bold and try new skills, but at the same time have some fun. 

Review: "This is an amazing busy book! I have bought other types before, and they were good, but this is a great size, with extra durable hook and eye fastenings, and lots of different ways to use each page.
It was quick and easy to put together, and my 3 year old loves it! It comes in a lovely box that we are keeping it in so that no parts get lost. It is an amazing price for what you get, and I have since bought another style! I would highly recommend this book."

Pros

  • Designed with 10 themes to meet the diverse learning needs of kids
  • Includes animal recognition, weather, colours, fruits, alphabet, words and numbers and more

Cons

  • One review said the book is bigger than expected so may need to hold it for those with smaller hands

Best Moana busy book

Moana busy book

Rrp: $16.99

Price: $13.02
Alternative retailers
Macy's$14.00View offer

A vibrant and colourful busy book for 3 years and up, this Moana-themed busy book will encourage your child to enter the enchanting world of creativity and amazement. As well as the activities within the book itself, the Moana figures mean your child can use their imagination to create their own adventures with their favourite characters.  

Review: "I like that this book includes so many of the characters. I struggled to find Moana figures for my toddler. This book is a good price and includes so many characters. It also has great artwork."

Pros

  • Will introduce your child to a world of creativity
  • Features 50 colouring pages and Moana figures

Cons

  • One review said the figures are really small, and may end up getting lost around the house

Best educational busy book

Great for toddlers under 18 months. You can use it as a sensory toy to teach and introduce them to different textures, colors and shapes. And if you want to teach your child how to to tell the time, then this will help improve their time awareness, as it promotes fine motor skills and dexterity.

Review: "I bought it for my nephew. The product has a very good quality in its material, a good variety of instructional items to play with and has a reasonable size for the suggested age."

Pros

  • A sensory toy for children, helping children learn basic manual skills. 
  • Lightweight busy board with handle design, portable for kids to carry anywhere they want

Cons

  • Not many colours to choose from

Best paw patrol busy book

Paw patrol busy book

Rrp: $14.99

Price: $11.20
Alternative retailers
Macy's$14.00View offer

A book and toy all in one, this busy book activity kit comes with a brightly illustrated book and Paw Patrol characters. Perfect for 36 months and up, this will have your child heading off on a mission with these courageous pups to save the day, so join Rubble and Rocky on this amazing journey. 

Review: "Our son loves these books so we bought this as a birthday gift for his friend - he loved them too. Good quality little figures"

Pros

  • Children can create their own new adventures
  • Includes figurines: Ryder, Skye, Marshall, Chase, Rubble, Rocky, and Zuma

Cons

  • Not suitable for younger children

Best montessori busy book

This busy daily activity book has a cute bunny rabbit character that your child can help go through their daily routine while playing. With activities like dressing up, brushing your teeth, taking a bath, doing the laundry, washing up, and a bedtime story. It's great for travel, as along with the book they have a cute bunny teddy they can take along with them.

Pros

  • Suitable from 24 months - 4 years old
  • Designed to withstand all of the pulling, tearing, or chewing

Cons

  • Warning: To be used under the direct supervision of an adult

Best Frozen busy book

frozen busy book
Price: $18.98

Full of colourful illustrations, figurines, and a playmat that brings their favourite Frozen characters to life, awaken your child's creativity with this Disney busy book.

Review: "I and my 4-year daughter are great fans of busy books, as we have double the fun of reading the book and (or while) playing with the figurines that come with it with little faces. We have many of them, this one is quite small, but still fun."

Pros

  • Lively story
  • Plastic figurines

Cons

  • Only has 10 pages

Best baby busy book

 
Made from cotton, this book is soft textured, non-toxic, long-lasting, tear-resistant, and also washable. This 3D book features adorable characters who frame the exciting features on every page. These soft pages include activities such as tying shoe laces, pulling a zipper and a range of scenes to help teach your child about life skills.  

Review: "This is a lovely little book. My 2 year really enjoyed the shapes and it kept him busy. Good value for money."

Pros

  • The fabric book is designed to stimulate important key skills
  • Non-toxic and safe for your baby, with strong stitching for extra durability

Cons

  • Only suitable from 6 months to 3 years, and has little parts (needs adult supervision)

Best Toy Story busy book

Toy story busy book

Rrp: $14.99

Price: $9.99

Join Woody and the toys on amazing new adventures! This kit comes complete with a vibrant book and well-crafted figurines. Perfect for ages 36 months and up, your little one will enjoy spending time with Woody, Buzz, and an awesome assortment of toys old and new. 

Review: "Bought on offer for my daughter and my friends child as a birthday gift. More friends have bought since. I would definitely still pay full price as the figures are played with each day, the book is fun and the playmat although just a plastic covered paper, has lovely bright images and is still in one piece! I always highly recommend these busy books."

Pros

  • Figurines and playmat stored in the book
  • Portable and great for travel

Cons

  • Would be better if the mat was double sided

FAQ's

What age is a busy book aimed at?

Busy books are popular for keeping your toddlers and pre-schoolers pre-occupied, and there is no need to wait till your child is 2 or 3 to introduce them to the world of creativity. They are usually safe for infants under supervision, but always follow the safety guidelines put out by the manufacturer to make sure your little one is safe. Particularly the ones that come with small figurines are usually more suited to older children. For younger ones look out for cotton books with no loose parts.

What is the benefit of Montessori busy books?

Many of them have learning and Montessori-aligned themes, aimed at teaching your children life skills and how to do things for themselves and be more independent.

Mummy to a little girl, Adejumoke Ilori is Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby. With a BA hon in Creative Writing, she has worked for digital platforms, where she has empowered women from the inside and out, by sharing real life stories based on relationships and loving yourself.

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