Best interactive books for babies and toddlers - 9 tried-and-tested collections that get our seal of approval

After putting the best interactive books through their paces, these are the collections we would recommend to any parent

Collage showing the best interactive books for babies and toddlers
(Image credit: Future)

Storytime can be a great opportunity for some bonding time with your little one - and for the chance to check out the best interactive books for you to enjoy together.

One of the best toys for 6-12 month olds, interactive books offer a range of textures for little hands to explore, flaps to lift or buttons to press to make different sound effects. With bright and engaging illustrations, interactive books promote sensory development and fine motor skills (like stacking and nesting toys do), while cognitive development and critical thinking (which as studies show, are vital for your child's growth) are promoted by your child being encouraged to participate in the story. If you're looking for books for older kids, then check out our picks of the best personalised books for children.

We've picked our favourite interactive book collections based on personal experience, bestsellers and customer reviews to ensure we're only recommending the very best books that your tiny human will love. Everything on the list is suitable for babies and toddlers, but especially in the case of books with batteries, should only be enjoyed under supervision.

Best interactive books for babies and toddlers

My First Heroes

With nine titles in the collection, the My First Heroes books are a great introduction to the achievements of historical and current figures. With fun scenes to explore, facts to learn and bright illustrations to enjoy, as well as things to push, pull and slide, infants will love how engaging these books are, while also developing their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Suitable from birth onwards, the My First Heroes books have also been endorsed and recommended by child development expert, and regular GoodtoKnow contributor, Dr Amanda Gummer’s Good Play Guide. Dr Gummer tells us: "My First Heroes' books made it into The Good Play Guide as they show exceptional ability to captivate the ‘reader', whilst introducing them to some really inspiring individuals. I love the inclusion of interactive features for little hands such as the slides to push and wheels to turn, which add an element of engagement, making learning about diverse and fascinating lives an enjoyable experience.

"These books are invaluable for little ones as they really help stimulate interaction and can help nurture the development of essential knowledge and communication skills right from the start. The interactive nature of the stories also helps foster a sense of participation which in turn allows babies to connect with the characters on a personal level and even start to develop a sense of empathy and identity as they explore the lives of different heroes."

Take a look inside books in this collection: My First Heroes: Great Artists and My First Heroes: Black History.

Inside My First Heroes: Great Artists and Black History

(Image credit: Future/Anna Bailey)

That's Not My...

With 69 books in the That's Not My... collection, there's lots to choose from from animals and toys to vehicles and mythical creatures. Each book contains multiple tactile patches for your child to discovery, along with simple text to help little ones associate the adjectives in the story with the materials they can touch. Perfect for infants, this collection also features in our guide to the best toys for six to 12 month olds.

Mum of one Claire told us: "My little boy loves the lamb one in this collection. He loves the little rubber nose and touching the wool, but his favourite is the really soft material of the lamb's ears. It's a really tactile experience as every page offers a different texture for him to explore."

Take a look inside other books in the collection...

Inside That's Not My Squirrel and That's Not My Hedgehog

Inside That's Not My Squirrel and That's Not My Hedgehog

(Image credit: Future/Anna Bailey)

Listen to the...

Aimed at babies and toddlers, this seven book series covers various sounds from animal noises to classical music. There is a button on every page which plays sound effects to match the bright and bold illustrations.

With a range of five-star reviews for the collection, one customer says: 'Bought this book for my 10 month old after she loved the “Birds” book. She loves it. She presses it herself and does a different little dance to the different songs. When I ask her to play me a song she crawls over to it, opens up a page and presses the button. Always makes her smile (and me). Think this will be my go to when buying a present for a little one from now on. It’s great that it comes with a battery too.'

GoodtoKnow's Editor Anna Bailey loves this collection for her daughter, Freddie, who is 16 months old: "We’re a very musical family, and we wanted to encourage our daughter to appreciate it from a young age. The Listen to the Dance Music book has introduced her to the Charleston, the Tango, Salsa, Hip Hop and Rock’n’Roll. It’s so fun seeing her reaction to the different styles, and watching her dance.”

Take a look inside Listen to the Dance Music and Listen to the Four Seasons below...

Inside Listen to the Dance Music and Listen to the Four Seasons - Vivaldi

(Image credit: Future/Anna Bailey)

Dear Zoo

First published in 1982, this interactive book is utterly timeless. With lots of flaps to lift and animals to discover, it's really engaging for tiny humans and gets their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination developing as they discover the animals in the containers.

As well as the original, there are various iterations of the Dear Zoo classic, including a noisy one and a touch and feel version.

GoodtoKnow's Sarah Handley says: "My brother and I had the original when we were kids and we loved it, and as soon as my nephew was born, I knew it would be a great gift. It felt like passing it on to the next generation."

Take a look inside...

Take a look inside Dear Zoo interactive book

(Image credit: Future/Anna Bailey)

Where's Mr...?

Little ones love books in the Where's Mr... collection, and discovering what lies beneath the flaps on each page. And the good news is, the felt flaps are robust enough to withstand even the most enthusiastic of little fingers. Each book also has a mirror on the final page, which is always an exciting reveal.

Where's Mr Duck? is an Amazon number one bestseller, with more than 3,000 five-star reviews. GoodtoKnow's Anna Bailey adds: "These were the first interactive books we shared with our daughter - and even at just a few months old, she loved them. The bright colourful pieces of felt fabric are so big, bright, and colourful, making them super easy for babies to see and grab with little hands."

Take a look at other books in the collection, including Where's Mrs Queen? and Where's Mr Pirate?

Inside Where's Mrs Queen? and Where's Mr Pirate?

(Image credit: Future/Anna Bailey)

Sound Books

In this 10 book series, kids will love the colourful pages, simple text and discovering the cutout shapes to explore, but it's the buttons on this book that are super engaging. Tiny humans can press the buttons to hear the sounds of the world they are exploring, from the jungle and the farm to the sounds of the garden or the seaside.

GoodtoKnow's Editor Anna Bailey adds: “My daughter loves these - she gets very excited about pushing all the buttons and listening to the animals' noises. It’s also helped her learn all the types of animals - I’ll say, ‘Where is the elephant Freddie?’ and she’ll point to it - and ‘What noises does the chicken make?’ and she’ll give it a go. We love how fun and interactive it is.”

Have a look inside Zoo Sounds and Jungle Sounds...

Inside Zoo Sounds and Jungle Sounds

(Image credit: Future/Anna Bailey)

Peekaboo books

From the same name behind the Where's Mr...? collection, the Peekaboo series features easy to use sliders to push, pull or turn, rhyming text, and a surprise mirror to finish the story.

GoodtoKnow's Editor Anna loves these books for her daughter, Freddie: “I just love these illustrations, they’re so adorable - very modern and Scandi. My daughter has been enjoying these for a few months, and at 16 months she’s just started using all the mechanisms - pushing the sliders up and down, and rotating the wheels. She also loves the mirror on the final page.”

Take a look inside Peekaboo Sun and Peekaboo Love...

Take a look inside Peekaboo Sun and Peekaboo Love...

(Image credit: Future/Anna Bailey)

Tales from Acorn Wood

From the names behind The Gruffalo, comes the Tales from Acorn Wood lift-the-flap collection of interactive books. infants and toddlers will love the sturdy flaps on each page as well as the rhyming stories and beautiful illustrations.

GoodtoKnow's Editor and mum of one Anna Bailey says: “You can’t go wrong with a Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler combo. The rhyming stories and illustrations in this collection are so fun, they’re a huge hit in our house. My daughter loves to look at them on repeat, we must read them several times a day. The flaps are very sturdy and have kept their shape and position despite so much use. We have the bigger board books, but also have the smaller versions as part of the Acorn Wood Little Library, which is great for throwing in the buggy.”

Have a look inside books in this collection...

Inside books from the Tales of Acorn Wood collection

(Image credit: Future/Anna Bailey)

Peppa Pig