It’s my turn for a Storytime blog this week and I am going to be writing about Interactive Books. There are two types of interactive books – books that ask you to do something, and books that prompt you to actively disagree with the statements made in the book and then the book and child are involved in a dialogue. I love interactive books and we include them in Storytime where we can, though these are always better one on one. There are many benefits to interactive books, they are full of fun and foster a love of reading, they are very visual books which are good for children who have shorter attention spans or who respond better to visual rather than auditory information. And they encourage children to be active in the reading process.

The thing that makes books interactive is that it asks children to follow instructions/directions. And learning how to follow directions is important for children’s brain development – it shows their ability to hold things in their working memory. It shows an understanding of the language they are hearing, and the ability to turn that understanding into physical actions. It is an important skill in society because we all have to follow instruction and procedures and developing this ability will help children settle well into school.


I’m going to start with one of this year’s Notable books for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year: Early Childhood. When we were talking about the notable books this one was very popular around the table. It’s a great book!
This is a Ball by Beck & Matt Stanton

I think the cover tells you a lot about this book. And haven’t we all played this game. I know, from long, long, long sessions of guess this animal, eye spy, etc. how much delight telling me ‘no, don’t be silly, Aunty’ *giggle giggle* is for my niece. And this book encourages children to do that with the book. We know that’s not a ball but how hilarious that the book is telling us that it is. And this is where the interactive part of the book comes into play – when children are told this is a ball, children disagree and the book responds to the comment that the child makes because the comment/response in this is obvious and wonderful. I will freely admit that this book makes me laugh too, so it’s a delight for all.

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet

I know you’ve heard about these books before if you read our blogs regularly but they are an excellent example of an interactive book. These books ask you to physically do things as instructed by the book. Clap, shake the book, press down on the pages, and each time you interact with the book and turn the page your interaction has an effect on the book. These books don’t have a traditional story but they are a delighful read and great for use when learning colours, numbers, following instructions, and colour mixing.

Do You Want To Build A Snowman? by Calliope Glass, with illustrations by Olga T. Mosqueda
I like this song, and the movie, and this book – in a very similar style of Press Here – allows children to interact with the book to create a snowman. They have to shake and tap and as they do they ‘build’ Olaf.

Pirate Pete by Nick Sharratt (this book isn’t available for loan due to the little removable pieces – but would make a great present)
This book is wonderfully interactive, like a choose your own adventure but for small children. On each page there is a line of story with an element missing, and six little cards that can be popped into the slot available to change the story. So, each time you read the book it could be a different story. This book is ALWAYS a winner at Storytime.


The two rhymes I’m giving you today are about following directions.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, show your shoe.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, I love you.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, climb upstairs.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, brush your hair.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn out the light.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say goodnight!

and something for bath time…

This Is The Way We Have a Bath
This is the way we have a bath,
Have a bath, have a bath.
This is the way have a bath.
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we wash our hair,
Wash our hair, wash our hair.
This is the way we wash our hair.
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we scrub our knees,
Scrub our knees, scrub our knees.
This is the way we scrub our knees.
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we clean our toes,
Clean our toes, clean our toes.
This is the way we clean our toes
On a cold and frosty morning.

This is the way we dry ourselves,
Dry ourselves, dry ourselves.
This is the way we dry ourselves.
On a cold and frosty morning.


To start with I have a suggestion for a game and for places you can find other activities. Small children can only hold so much information in their working memory so limiting instructions to one, or two, at a time makes their chances of success much better. And getting them to repeat them back to you also helps then retain them for longer. And the more practise you have, the better.

Things you can do that encourage interactive and following instructions play:
– Play ‘Simon Says’,
– Check out Pinterest for boards like this.

Button Bracelet
Ten on top

To make this you need:
– Wool
– Buttons (any will do, we just have nice big ones)

Instructions (Ask your child to follow instructions similar):
– Thread a purple button onto the wool,
– Thread on a red button,
– Thread on a green button,
– Thread on a purple button,
– Thread on a blue button,
– Thread on an orange button,
– Thread on a red button,
– Thread on a purple button,
– Hold the two ends of the wool and tie a knot

Instructions are easy to incorporate into lots of every day activities but remember to have fun ones as well, not just the ones about picking up three toys, or all of the red cars.