The 9 Best Kids Activity Books to Keep Kids Busy

They'll love these at home or on-the-go

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Activity books are great for kids because they’re usually not only entertaining but also educational in some way. An activity book is good to have for long car rides, screen-free entertainment while eating out, or even just to have around the house for a rainy day.

However, finding one that is both age and developmentally appropriate for a child can be tough, especially with so many options out there. To help, we’ve rounded up some of the best kids' activity books on the market for you to check out.

Our Top Picks
Comes with coordinating stickers for each page, and once all of the stickers are on the image, it comes to life.
Best for 2 & 3 Year Olds:
Wipe Clean: Giant Activity Book at Amazon
It focuses on early learning topics like colors, counting, words/letters, and animals and is made for kids between 2-4 years old.
Best for 4 & 5 Year Olds:
Big Preschool Workbook at Amazon
All of the pages are bright and colorful and easily tear out with activities suited for kids between three and five years old.
Activities in this book are educational and aligned with kindergarten standards in the US, however the book is by no means boring.
Best for Elementary School:
Summer Brain Quest at Amazon
Comes with tons of fun stickers and a “Summer Map” so kids can keep track of their work. More than 150 pages full of activities.
Kids three years old and up who are starting to learn how to write will benefit from this book which has more than 80 pages.
Best for Arts & Crafts:
Origami for Kids at Amazon
There are 176 pages in this book with 20 tutorials for animals, cars, boats, fans, as well as other fun designs.
Comes with a dry erase marker so they can do an activity, wipe it clean, and do it again if they’d like.
Created for kids between six and 10 years old and balances fun, engagement, and challenge well.

Best Overall: Paint By Stickers: Under the Sea

Paint By Stickers: Under the Sea

This activity book includes 10 pages of intricate designs that are “painted” using stickers. It’s similar to a paint-by-number design, but with stickers. Each of the pictures in this specific book is of some sort of underwater scene or animal.

The book comes with coordinating stickers for each page, and once all of the stickers are on the image, it comes to life as if it were actually a painting. While the stickers in this book can be enjoyed by most kids, the best results come from kids 5 years old and up.

Number of Pages: 34 | Recommended Age: 5 years old and up | Skills Required: Fine motor

Best for 2 & 3 Year Olds: Wipe Clean: Giant Activity Book

Wipe Clean: Giant Activity Book

The best part about this activity book is that kids can play with it again and again because it uses a whiteboard marker and wipes clean after each use. It focuses on early learning topics like colors, counting, words/letters, and animals and is made for kids between 2 and 4 years old. There are 112 total pages in the book and comes with a dry erase pen.

Number of Pages: 112 | Recommended Age: 2 to 4 years old | Skills Required: Math, writing, counting

Best for 4 & 5 Year Olds: Big Preschool Workbook

Big Preschool Workbook

Pre-K kids who are starting to get ready for elementary school will benefit from this activity book that is equal parts fun and educational. It has more than 300 pages of different activities in math and counting, critical thinking, letters and reading, shapes, and more.

All of the pages are bright and colorful and easily tear out (which is helpful since it’s such a thick book) with activities suited for kids between 3 and 5 years old.

Number of Pages: 320 pages | Recommended Age: 3 to 5 years old | Skills Required: Reading, math, writing

Best for Kindergarten: Kindergarten Big Fun Workbook

Kindergarten Big Fun Workbook

All of the activities in this book are educational and aligned with kindergarten standards in the US, however, the book is by no means boring because it’s full of puzzles, games, art pages, and more. It covers sight words, colors, patterns, phonics, sorting, basic math, and more.

There are more than 250 pages in the book and it has content suiting rising kindergarteners all the way through the summer before first grade.

Number of Pages: 256 | Age Recommendation: 4 to 6 years old | Skills Required: Reading, math

Best for Elementary School: Summer Brain Quest

Summer Brain Quest

After finishing first grade, kids can spend the summer prepping for second grade with this activity book that has more than 150 pages full of activities in math, history, reading, science, and writing. The book also comes with tons of fun stickers and a “Summer Map” so kids can keep track of their work as they get closer and closer to the second grade.

In addition to the in-book activities, there are also “outside quests” kids can go on that will get them outdoors and playing, while also learning.

Number of Pages: 160 pages | Recommended Age: 6 to 7 years old | Skills Required: Writing, reading, math

Best for Writing: My First Learn to Write Workbook

My First Learn to Write Workbook

Kids 3 years old and up who are starting to learn how to write will benefit from this book which has more than 80 pages of letter and shape tracing. It’s great for kids who are learning to better control a writing utensil in their hand and will help them gradually learn the different curves and lines of shapes as well as the alphabet.

Number of Pages: 84 | Recommended Age: 3 years old and up | Skills Required: Writing, fine motor

Best for Arts & Crafts: Origami for Kids: 20 Projects to Make Plus

Origami for Kids: 20 Projects to Make Plus 100 Papers to Fold

While this book is aimed at kids between 5 and 7 years old, you’re never too old to enjoy some Origami crafting. There are 176 pages in this book with 20 tutorials for animals, cars, boats, fans, as well as other fun designs. In addition to the step-by-step guides, the book also comes with 100 pieces of Origami folding paper as well as QR codes so kids can get video tutorials if the book guide just isn’t cutting it.

Number of Pages: 176 | Recommended Age: 5 to 7 years old | Skills Required: Fine motor

Best for Reading: Wipe Clean: Learning Sight Words

Wipe Clean: Learning Sight Words

Kids can not only learn their sight words with this book, but they’ll also learn how to write them out with tracing activities throughout. The book comes with a dry erase marker so they can do an activity, wipe it clean, and do it again if they’d like. There are more than 50 pages of words that kids will learn how to sight-read, spell, write, and use in everyday language.

It’s great for kids between 4 and 7 years old.

Number of Pages: 56 pages | Recommended Age: 4 to 7 years old | Skills Required: Reading, writing

Best for Math: STEM Starters for Kids Math Activity Book

STEM Starters for Kids Math Activity Book

Elementary-aged kids with an interest in math and science will have a lot of fun with this activity book that has 32 pages of math problems, science puzzles, and fun facts. It’s created for kids between 6 and 10 years old and balances fun, engagement, and challenge well, so even though it’s a shorter book, kids will still get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Number of Pages: 32 | Recommended Age: 6 to 10 years old | Skills Required: Math, reading

Final Verdict

The Paint by Stickers Under the Sea (view at Amazon) activity book ranks highest for us because of its versatility. Kids of all ages love stickers so even though an older child is better equipped to stick to the actual goal of the book, a younger kid would still have a lot of fun coloring the pages and decorating them with the included stickers however they see fit.

What to Look for When Buying Kids Activity Books 

Entertainment

Entertainment is key when it comes to kid's activity books because if it isn’t engaging then it can end up either feeling like a chore or turn into a dust collector. To find one that will keep your child occupied, you’ll want to look for something that plays into their interests and keeps them busy doing things they already love. Here are some examples.

Arts & Crafts: There is no shortage of activity books that have space for coloring, drawing, and creating, so if your child loves a good craft then an art-centered activity book will surely keep them engaged. 

Puzzles & Games: Connect the dots, word searches, crossword puzzles, hangman, and Sudoku are all games you can usually find in activity books. This is going to be great for the kids who love playing with LEGOS and blocks and who love a good challenge. 

Trivia, Riddles & Word Problems: Similar to activity books focused on puzzles and games, this genre is a good option for kids who love to solve problems, whether they’re math problems, sequencing/patterns, letter scrambles, or even just general trivia. 

Writing Development: This can be anything from letter and number tracing for preschoolers to writing prompts for older kids. If your child loves to put their pencil to paper, then an activity book with a focus on writing will definitely entertain them. 

Math & Science: They don’t have to be in school to flex their STEM muscles. In fact, bigger kids may even enjoy the subjects more in an activity book simply because it’s not at school. These kinds of books are really good for educational purposes, but there is also a big group of kids who love all things math and science and find true joy in them. 

Age-Appropriateness

Just because an activity book says it’s made for a certain age group, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for your specific child. Instead of blindly relying on the suggested age on the book’s cover, look through the pages (or read some reviews) to see if the content is below, at, or above your child’s current age and/or developmental stage.

Books that are filled with activities that are too hard or too easy will likely go unused. Similarly, if the pictures inside the book are too “babyish” for your big kid, they won’t want to use it. 

Educational Value

An activity book does not have to be obviously educational in order for it to be a quality option for your child (if a book is full of tic-tac-toe and mazes, and your kid loves it, that’s perfectly fine), but a lot of them tend to offer some kind of educational value, whether it’s subtle or the entire purpose of the book.

If your child is struggling in a subject, then you may want to look for activity books with that general theme so that your kid can strengthen their skills in a fun and engaging way. Or, if your child just happens to love a subject, like reading and writing, look for an activity book that lets them tap into that interest all the more in different ways. Essentially, if the book having educational value is important to you, you’ll want to mindfully seek out those options.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer and mom to a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old. She has personal experience in researching and purchasing a variety of children’s products and key considerations she used when selecting these recommendations include materials, design, and user reviews.

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