During the last year since our daughter was born, I’ve done my best to take my stay-at-home-mom role seriously. I became a self-taught baby sleep training expert in those early months. I read everything I could get my hands on about baby led weaning when it was time to introduce food. I’ve established age appropriate daily and weekly schedules to ensure our daughter is developing socially and emotionally. And most recently I’ve been completely enthralled with at home preschool curriculums.
No, I’m not going to homeschool our daughter. And yes, I realize she’s not yet at the age to attend preschool.
But holy cow guys. If you want to feel guilty about how little you’re doing with your one year old, just look at homeschooling preschool parents. The activities! The games! The exercises! The field trips! It’s over the top in the most awe-inspiring and envious kind of way. I can only hope that one day I’m engaging our daughter that consistently and creatively!
One concept that many homeschooling families incorporate into their daily routines is a morning basket. This idea particularly piqued my interest, so I read and searched and read some more to understand what this entails, it’s purpose, and the benefits of “morning basket.” Unfortunately morning basket doesn’t really fit into our current routine, so I’ve filed the idea into the back parts of my brain for another day (or year).
But the idea nonetheless got me thinking. How can I curate activities around seasonally relevant themes and topics into the daily routine of our one year old?
The answer is books.
And since we’re at the local library at least once a week, I decided to start a new tradition with our daughter. Every one to two weeks, I check out a half dozen (give or take) books that all share a common theme. These books go into a small basket that we keep on the floor in her nursery, and these books become the only books we read before bed for the next week or so.
We have dozens and dozens of books throughout the house. In the living room, in the dedicated play space, in the bookshelves in her nursery. And trust me, she has access to these books all day every day. But by curating a limited selection of nightly bedtime books we’ve found we can help Gemma begin to understand big concepts, things that go together, what’s happening around her, and best of all: new words!
So far we’ve explored four themes in our bedtime books basket.
- The first time we did this curation, I picked out only books about animals. Gemma had recently met her first real life dog and was practicing her woof woof sound, so this seemed appropriate.
- Next, I checked out books about farms (and farm animals). We have a farm nearby with a petting zoo that we had started visiting 1-2x a week, so narrowing in on farm animals and the other sights and sound she saw at the farm was a great learning opportunity.
- Most recently, we read all about things that go! Cars, trucks, school buses, planes, trains, bicycles. This one was so fun! Although we haven’t yet figured out a way to help our daughter differentiate between planes and helicopters. But we’ll get there 🙂
- It was nearing the end of September when our things that go books began to feel a bit stale. So naturally, with October just around the corner I choose Halloween for our next bedtime books basket. This round of books has been a hoot. Gemma now has perfected her owl and cat sounds, and can spot (and screech) pumpkins from a mile away.
Our Favorite Halloween Books for Toddlers
Since this round of our bedtime book basket has featured Halloween books, I thought it would be fun to round up the very best halloween books for toddlers (and babies).
Each time we swap in new books, our daughter seems to instantly gravitate to a few, and while we haven’t figured out exactly what causes her to love some and loathe others, a few rules we usually follow for our bedtime books are:
- Board books only. We do read a few paper page books to Gemma on occasion, but since she’s only 1 there’s a high risk of pages being ripped, crumbled, or eaten.
- Flaps and peek a boo. The excitement here is endless.
- Sounds! While certain books with sound get a little… irritating to us adults, our one year old CANNOT get enough of her books that play music.
- Touch and feel. We started really loving touch and feel books at around 6 months of age, so I was sure she was soon to grow out of this interest, but… 15 months in and we’re still digging them.
Without further a do, here’s a round up of the very best Halloween books for toddlers and babies.
If your family has another fan favorite for Halloween (or other upcoming holidays), let me know in the comments!