The 11 Best Kids Activity Books to Keep Kids Busy

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

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Our Top Picks

Best for Young Toddlers: First Words Sticker Activity Book at Target

"Young toddlers can play with stickers in lots of shapes and sizes."

Best for 2-Year Olds: Water WOW Books at Melissa and Doug

"This pain-with-water coloring book is reusable and makes absolutely no mess."

Best for 3-Year Olds: Kumon My Book of Easy Mazes at Barnes and Noble

"This book of mazes will keep young kids occupied utilizing their problem-solving skills."

Best for 4-Year Olds: Melissa and Doug Stamp Markers and Activity Pad at Melissa and Doug

"Young kids will use stamp markers to complete mazes, play games, and complete paterns."

Best for 5-Year Olds: Mo Willems We Are In an ART-ivity Book! at Barnes and Noble

"With this art-focused book kids will be able to create collages, color, and complete puzzles."

Best for Siblings: Melissa and Doug Write On Wipe Off Activity Pad at Oriental Trading

"Siblings can play together with this white-board style activity pad."

Best Classic: The Best of MadLibs at Target

"MadLibs will bring laughs to the whole family, all while teaching your kids grammar, reading, and creative thinking."

Best Educational: Brain Quest Workbook at Workman

"These educational workbooks range in age from Pre-K through 6th grade."

Best Origami: Origami for Kids at Amazon

"Children will learn how to make origami animals like dogs or crabs with just a piece of paper and their hands."

Best Advanced: Paint by Sticker Masterpieces at Barnes and Noble

"These innovative books let older kids recreate famous works of art with stickers."

As any seasoned parent knows, an activity book is a perfect way to keep your kid busy, whether you are quarantined at home, waiting for food at a restaurant, or on-the-go. The best ones are age-appropriate, easy to use, portable, and will surprise and delight your kid for the exact amount of time you need to keep them busy and out of your hair.

To help you find one that your child is sure to love, we've researched the best kid's activity books for every age group and ability level.

Our Top Picks

Best for Young Toddlers: First Words Sticker Activity Book

First Words Sticker Activity Book

Courtesy of Target

Little hands will be pleased to play, stick, recognize, and say lots of shapes and images, all in sticker form. While there are some simple activities in the book, young toddlers can appreciate removing the stickers and sticking them on themselves and the world around them.

The stickers are purposely not extremely adhesive, so parents don’t have to worry about spending hours peeling stickers off of precious furniture or somewhere else a sticker absolutely should not be.

Best for 2-Year Olds: Water WOW Books

Water WOW Books

 Courtesy of Melissa and Doug

The first time you see these genius books, you’ll thank the experts at Melissa & Doug and wish you invented them yourself. The paint-with-water coloring book is a no-mess sensation.

Simply fill the included brush-pen with water and kids will have fun “painting” the four pictures. Once they dry, the pictures are ready to be painted again and again. The chunky pen is easy to hold and fits in a storage spot on the book’s cover.

Best for 3-Year Olds: Kumon My Book of Easy Mazes

My Book of Easy Mazes

 Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

Toddlers will find this easy maze book engaging, fun, and a nice change from any academic learning they are doing. The mazes help young kids learn how to guide a pencil and utilize the problem-solving skills required to complete a maze. They’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment at each completed maze.

Best for 4-Year Olds: Melissa and Doug Stamp Markers and Activity Pad

Stamp Markers and Activity Pad

 Courtesy of Melissa and Doug

The colorful (and washable) stamp markers will keep your 4-year old busy while they master fine motor skills. With four colorful shapes, each stamp marker is different.

Kids use the markers to complete mazes, play dot-to-dot games, complete patterns, and more. The 20 pages of activities will keep your child busy for a while.

Best for 5-Year Olds: Mo Willems We Are In an ART-ivity Book!

We Are In an ART-ivity Book!

 Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

Kindergarten age kids will recognize their favorite Mo Willems’ characters, Elephant and Piggie, in this art-focused activity book. Using just the book and a few basic supplies, kids will be able to create collages, color, complete puzzles, make a mobile, and more. This book is best for working at home and isn’t as well suited for on-the-go activities like some others.

Best for Siblings: Melissa and Doug Write On Wipe Off Activity Pad

Write On Wipe Off Activity Pad

 Courtesy of Melissa and Doug

Keep siblings from bickering with this fun and portable activity pad. The book is made with white-board style cardboard pages and comes with two dry erase pens, so it’s fun over and over again. There are over 15 words, number, and picture games including some well-known classics like hangman and ISpy.

Best Classic: The Best of MadLibs

MadLibs

 Courtesy of Target

You’ll have the whole family cracking up when you introduce your kids to the more than 50-year old classic fill-in-the-blank word game. Not only will MadLibs bring on lots of laughs, but you’ll actually be teaching your kids parts of grammar, reading, writing, and creative thinking. Keep a book in the car, your travel bag, or a vacation tote and you’ll be glad you did.

Best Educational: Brain Quest Workbook

Brain Quest Workbook

 Courtesy of Workman

Brain Quest workbooks are chock full of age-appropriate, fun, and educational activities for kids. All books come with exercises, skill challenges, and stickers to track progress and reward finished work.

The books range in age from Pre-K through 6th grade, so use them to help your kids stay on their level, catch up, or level up to the grade ahead. All books cover a range of topics from reading, science, phonics, math, social studies, and more.

Best Origami: Origami for Kids

The ancient Japanese art of origami is sure to challenge and entertain. Geared toward kids, this book includes easy to follow step-by-step folding directions for 20 origami projects.

Children will be delighted when they make cute animals like dogs, crabs, and bugs with just a piece of paper and their own two hands. The book comes with 100 sheets of large format origami paper, so there’s plenty of paper for lots of projects (and room for error).

Best Advanced: Paint by Sticker Masterpieces

Paint by Sticker

Courtesy of Barnes and Noble 

Best for older kids (or adults) with a lot of time and focus, these innovative books provide a compelling new kind of activity. You’ll create famous works of art, one sticker at a time. If classic artists aren’t compelling, there are lots of Paint by Sticker themes, including rock stars, cats, travel, and more.

Each book contains everything you need to create 12 images, including the stickers, the labeled template, and the very easy directions. Made on perforated cardstock, it’s easy to remove, hang, or even frame the art. 

Best for Readers: Mightier Than the Sword

Mix an activity book with a choose your own adventure book and you’ll get this hybrid. An inventive and interactive experience, all kids need is a pencil and their imagination to have fun with this book.

They will draw, scribble, write, and doodle their way into and out of an adventure. An engaging, silly, and fun experience, both parents and kids will enjoy this unique activity. 

Why Trust Verywell Family

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She's also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 6-year-old son, and 2-year old daughter.

Activity books are her secret weapon against long airplane rides, sibling fights, quarantines, and waiting for food to come at restaurants. A new activity book can quell a fight, make restaurant food appear, and actually be a lot of fun.

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