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Fun Books to Ease Kids Into a New School Year

The simplest way to ease back into a new school year is for kids to keep kids reading and learning all summer long. Today I am featuring a series of books pre-approved by my four children. These fun-to-read activity books, picture books, and chapter books will keep kids reading and learning throughout the year. This post features recently-published books that your children have probably not seen before.

Fun Books to Ease Kids Into a New School Year

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Fun Books to Ease Kids Into a New School Year: Books to Keep Kids Reading and Learning

We’ve reached that point in summer where school will be starting soon. Both kids and parents start looking for some structure around this time. Giving children fun books to read and complete activities in can be a wonderful way to ease kids into a new school year. This post includes a mix of books I purchased and books we received as review copies. The activity books, picture books, and chapter books featured here were all published in 2016 – brand  new!

Activity Books Published in 2016 That Will Keep Kids Reading and Learning

I’ve divided this portion of my post into three sections: activity Books for babies and toddlers, activity books for preschoolers and kindergartners, and activity books for 6-12-year-olds (elementary school aged nad primary school aged children).

Activity Books for Babies and Toddlers

Splash in the Ocean! introduces kids to the ocean and its sounds. This board book makes a fun read for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and even older kids who still love to push buttons and learn about the ocean.

Activity Books for Preschoolers and Kindergartners

I adore Margaret Wise Brown, and three-year-old Anna was delighted to discover this activity book featuring her wonderful illustrations based on her book, Count to 10 with a Mouse. The Count to 10 with a Mouse Sticker Activity book features fun puzzles and adorable stickers, as well as a cute puzzle eraser mouse. This is a fill-in sticker book – the stickers have specific places where they belong.

This giant Under the Sea Sticker Book features just about any sea-themed sticker your child could wish for. The stickers go with activity pages, but your child chooses where to place them on the pages so it is fairly open-ended. It makes a great airplane activity book, and there are enough stickers to include in summer snail mail letters and on holiday postcards.

Activity Books for 6-12-year-olds

Learn About the Summer Games

Fun activities for kids to go along with the summer games.

My kids have loved this printable Summer Games Activity unit as excitement builds around the Olympic games beginning! We printed this set out and bound it into a book using my binding machine (highly recommend investing in one if you buy a lot of ebooks). The set is really well put together. It includes:

  • A history of the Ancient and Modern Olympics
  • Brief descriptions of all the sports played in the 2016 Summer Games
  • A world mapping activity
  • An introduction to this year’s host city and country
  • Introductions to the Olympics top ten nations (those with the most medals). These introductions include country facts, geography, brief histories, landmarks, wildlife, music, famous people, Olympics facts, a kid-friendly recipe, and recommended reading
  • Information about seven famous Olympians from around the world
  • Worksheets that allow students to show what they’ve learned, including flag matching, word search, matching, fill in the blank, multiple choice, and trivia.

So far my kids have used this book to make recipes and learn about countries and athletes.

LEGO Learning

We LOVE all things LEGO, so it’s no surprise that my kids are loving The Unofficial Guide to Learning with LEGO. So far they have built bridges and made play mats inspired by the book. This book is also available as an ebook.

Harry Potter Crafts

My ten-year-old daughter wants to throw a Harry Potter themed birthday party for her eleventh birthday. We agreed that she would do all of the planning, and we bought The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter as part of her research process. She loves the book, and so far she has made butterbeer lip balm. While the book targets 10-14-year-olds, I feel like the crafts are fairly sophisticated and so would recommend it for the older end of that age spectrum on up. Emma already knew how to make wands, and I have a post about her version of wand making coming up sometime soon.

Picture Books Published in 2016 That Will Keep Kids Reading and Learning

Biographical Picture Books

Ada Lovelace is widely recognized as the first computer programmer. Ada’s Ideas paints a rich image of this brilliant woman, providing important background that explains why she became the woman she grew into without glossing over challenges she faced. I highly recommend this well-written and charmingly illustrated book for children aged 6 and older.

Social-Emotional Intelligence Picture Books

There are many books about friendship. My Friend Maggie touches on popular themes such as being different and being made fun of by other children. The book stands out because the protagonist start off making a serious error in judgement (one that is commonly made on the playground). My children certainly identified with the feelings and situations in this story. We recommend this book for preschool through early elementary.

We think of picture books as being for young children, but my 10-year-old daughter was instantly enthralled with Milk Goes to School. The unusual illustrations initially caught her eye, and I know she identifies with some of the dynamics you see between the students.

Fantasy Picture Books

Day Dreamers is the type of board book that parents enjoy for the words and children enjoy for the illustrations. This makes it a great book for babies through older children.

Funny Picture Books

The main character in My Favorite Pets lives in a house (farm, it looks like) with seventeen sheep. While the book is primarily funny, you will learn a few things about sheep in between laughs.

Lift the Flap Picture Books

All My Treasures: A Book of Joy is a fun look about the things that make us happy and are true treasures. Kids will love lifting the many different flaps to discover what is underneath. Amazon classifies this as a board book, but it’s more like a heavy cardstock book.

Chapter Books Published in 2016 That Will Keep Kids Reading and Learning

There are several detective series out there for kids. The easy-to-read L.O.L detective club series stands out because it features three siblings working together. We bought the entire series on Kindle, and my three oldest kids – aged 10, 8, and 7 years old – LOVED it. The books are quite fantastical – the 8-10-year-old siblings roam Paris and New Orleans on their own – but very fun to read. I’m hoping to see more from this author!

What books is your family loving that we should look for?

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MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

8 thoughts on “Fun Books to Ease Kids Into a New School Year”

  1. Joshua, who is 14, just started reading the Harry Potter series. He can’t put them down! He hasn’t found a book he can’t put down in quite a while so this Mama is super happy!

  2. I should get the unofficial Harry Potter crafting guide for Princess who is now also talking of a Harry Potter party, of course by the time her birthday rolls around she might decide to change it to something completely different…..

  3. Elisa | blissful E

    What a great roundup of recent books! I love how you point out what makes the ones you chose stand out from others in the same genre.

  4. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    Harry Potter crafting book sounds interesting! A lot of great books on your list!

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