The 10 Best Books to Help Kids Learn Creative Play

Creative play is an important part of a child’s development. It helps them learn to think outside the box, develop problem-solving skills, and explore their own imagination.

Play is as important to childhood development as any other basic need. We tend to think of play as “just for fun” which it is; It is also a great learning tool! Engaging in creative play helps children develop social skills, and explore their imaginations. Books that trigger a creative play quickly become the most favorite books of children. A story time with a creative book can be a trigger for different activities like painting, drawing, sculpting with clay or dough, making music or building structures.

Here are some books that tap on the creativity of a child’s mind for comprehension:

Not a Box Antoinette Portis

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

Don't miss this wholly original celebration of the power of imagination, winner of a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award. This picture book with its visual humor and simple dialogue is great for fans of Mo Willems and Crockett Johnson—and it's a thoughtful graduation gift for creative people of all ages.

A box is just a box... unless it's not a box. From mountain to rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows.

Inspired by a memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her sister, Antoinette Portis captures the thrill when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes real—when the imagination takes over inside a cardboard box, and through play, a child is transported to a world where anything is possible.

After reading this book aloud, continue the fun by drawing shapes like a triangle or circle, and asking your child what the triangle is NOT! 

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! By Mo Williams 

When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate.

In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum.

Dont Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.

The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor — and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Press the yellow dot on the cover of this interactive children's book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey. Each page of this surprising touch book instructs the reader to push the button, shake it up, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next. Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size. Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique interactive picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!

Press Here Herve Tullet
The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Blue crayon needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. Black crayon wants to be used for more than just outlining.  And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

With giggle-inducing text from Drew Daywalt and bold and bright illustrations from Oliver Jeffers, The Day the Crayons Quit is the perfect gift for new parents, baby showers, back-to-school, or any time of year! Perfect for fans of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciezka and Lane Smith.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .

BLORK. Or BLUURF.

Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.

Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)

The Book with no Pictures
Du Iz Tak Carson Ellis

Du Iz Tak?, by Carson Ellis

A 2017 Caldecott Honor Book

The creator of Home turns a droll eye to the natural world, with gorgeous art and a playful invented language.

Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander, and soon—with the help of a pill bug named Icky—they wrangle a ladder and build a tree fort. But this is the wild world, after all, and something horrible is waiting to swoop down—booby voobeck!—only to be carried off in turn. Su! With exquisitely detailed illustrations and tragicomic flair, Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in even the humblest backyard. Su!

An Awesome Book! by Dallas Clayton

“Exuberantly written and illustrated—a surefire read-aloud hit.” School Library Journal

Based on the simple concept of dreaming big, An Awesome Book! is the inspiring debut work of Los Angeles writer/artist sensation Dallas Clayton. Written in the vein of classic imaginative tales, this is a book for everyone, young and old.

The 10 Best Books to Teach Kids Creative Thinking Skills - An Awesome Book
Tap the Magic Tree

Tap the Magic Tree Christie Matheson

Every book needs you to turn the pages. But not every book needs you to tap it, shake it, jiggle it, or even blow it a kiss. Innovative and timeless, Tap the Magic Tree asks you to help one lonely tree change with the seasons. Now that’s interactive—and magical!

It begins with a bare brown tree. But tap that tree, turn the page, and one bright green leaf has sprouted! Tap again—one, two, three, four—and four more leaves have grown on the next page. Pat, clap, wiggle, jiggle, and see blossoms bloom, apples grow, and the leaves swirl away with the autumn breeze. The collage-and-watercolor art evokes the bright simplicity of Lois Ehlert and Eric Carle and the interactive concept will delight fans of Pat the Bunny. Combining a playful spirit and a sense of wonder about nature, Christie Matheson has created a new modern classic that is a winner in every season—and every story time!

What Do You Do with an Idea? By Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom

A New York Times Best Seller and award-winning book, What Do You Do With an Idea? is for anyone who's ever had a big idea.

This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child's confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who's ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It's a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn't going anywhere. In fact, it's just getting started.

What Do You Do With an Idea

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