I love giving children’s books as gifts. Today I’m writing a gift guide to encourage a love of reading. F is in reception, her first year at school. We had a parent’s information evening the other day which was really trying to tell parents that reading to your child is the most important thing you can do to support their learning. These gifts are more than reading books, they are books and extra bits that help children fall in love with reading. These things can all help to make reading magical for young children and help build their vocabulary too.
Children love books that are personalised to them. Seeing their name in a story is magical for them. These 4 books can all be personalised and make great gifts that will be treasured for a long time.
This book is based on the factory in Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory. It is aimed at children aged 5-12. F is 4 so a little on the young side but we love it and it is perfect for dipping in and out of. She loves chocolate and I think really loves seeing her name on a chocolate bar for example. The personalised Oompa Lumpa song is another of my favourite features of this really imaginative book. If you want to find out even more about this really creative book then read this blog post.
We received this book when F was just a baby. We’ve read it occasionally over the years but it is only really since she turned 4 that she has really started to appreciate it. The illustrations are adorable. A little girl has lost her name and in this story, she sets off on an adventure to find it. On the way, she meets lots of creatures along the way and each of them gives her a letter that ultimately spells out her name. For example, a frog gives her an F and a robot a r. F is learning phonics as well as how to write her name and she loves recognising the letters and seeing her name in the book at the end.
Who doesn’t love The Snowman? This personalisable book is based on the 2012 sequel ‘The Snowman and the Snowdog”. You can personalise the book with your child’s name and features of the child in the book such as hair and skin colours as well as the Pyjamas. The illustrations are gorgeous and we love this story. I had this one personalised with E’s name. She might be too young to appreciate it yet but F certainly enjoyed it.
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Recently Little elephant contacted me to review one of their new personalised books. They have a range availble for different age ranges. I chose Little Red Riding Hood as F is a big fan of this classic story. This version has been personalised just for F which I know she will love. The illustration are cute, bold and colourful which makes them very appealing to children. As well as having D’s name throughout the book there are also references to our home town.
F is 4 and a half and suspect this book will be too long for her currently. You can see in the photo below how much text is on each page and there are 37 pages. Every child is different though so your child may be ready for stories this long at 4. Either way, I know that F is going to adore this personalised book soon.
I’ve never seen anything like this before but it’s such a great idea. This box comes with 20 ghost related story jigsaw pieces (don’t worry the illustrations are cute, not scary). If all 20 pieces are linked up, the story will be over 8 feet long! F enjoys making up stories and putting the jigsaw pieces together to make her own stories. I did think she may struggle with the idea that there is no correct order to the pieces but I needn’t have worried. There is also a fairy tale set which I know F would love since she loves all the classic fairy tales.
A similar idea to the story box above. My husband painted these ones for F last Christmas. She loves making up her own stories with them or asking us to make stories up for her. Story stones or story dice were recommended for reception children by F’s teacher the other day.
Last Christmas I discovered Wilko had a great range of fairy tale items that are perfect for story sacks (or baskets). The range is still available this year. We have a little red riding hood/wolf puppet which seems to be no longer available and the gingerbread man plush toys. We have a number of these great first readers books from M&S. They are perfect for story sacks or baskets.
Sticker books *
These two books both include stickers and engaging scenes for children to add them to. Stickyscapes Tropical * is perfect for my 4 year old. The stickers are reusable and the play scene is double sided and large (6 A4 sheets). One side is a tropical sea and the other is the jungle.
Sticky history of the world * is another gorgeous sticker book but I would say F is too young at 4 years old for this one. I know she will love it in a year or so. It is a really fun way for learning about history with your child. I can’t wait to use it to support my daughter’s school work once she starts learning about Vikings and such. The 15 fold out scenes is designed to be detached from the book and make a carousel.
Drawing books *
These two books are so creative and fun. They include lots of drawing prompts that children will love. Older kids will be able to read the prompts themselves but F needs some help. Even so, it’s reading practice without feeling like it. She sounds out some of the words and spots other tricky or sight words then she enjoys drawing.
Happy, Sad, feeling glad, Yasmeen Ismail* is a gorgeous and bright, A4 book full of fun drawing prompts. We love the illustrations and prompts. This book is also great as it explores emotions and opposites. Prompts include things like Dog is proud, he’s built a machine, draw the machine and Cat and dog has baked donkey a surprise birthday cake, decorate the cake.
Let’s make more great placemat, Marion Deuchars *. This is a larger (A3) drawing pad which includes prompts like make up a comic strip, making creatures from fingerprints and of course, there are some placemats where your child is encouraged to draw their favourite meals. There are 36 pages with 9 different designs/prompts.
A classic fairy tale collection *
I’ve been on the hunt for a fairy tale collection for my daughters for some time. I still remember mine from my childhood. F loves the classic fairy tales. This collection (Greatest Magical Stories chosen by Michael Morpurgo) includes classics like Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, Cinderella and Rumplestiltskin. There are other stories in this book that I’m not familiar with like The Merman, Yoshi the Stonecutter and Twelve Dancing Princesses. The stories are beautifully illustrated and I know that my 4 year old will love reading this book over the next few years and I’m sure it will be one she remembers fondly.
Post from Panda *
If your child is currently in reception then how about a letter from Panda subscription? F is loving her personalised phonics based letters from Panda. You can read my full review here and also find a code for a free taster letter.
Looking for more great gift ideas for 3-5 year olds? Why not visit my Christmas gift guide for 3-5 year olds.
Disclosure – Items marked with * were sent to us for review. All the other gifts we’ve purchased ourselves for our daughters over the years. All photos, thoughts, and opinions are my own.