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Our children’s librarian, Janssen, has rounded up the best audiobooks for calming active (aka hyper) kids. And it’s just the thing for keeping the preschool set occupied for the rest of the summer and in the fall if, like in our house, they’re missing older siblings who have ventured off to school.
Read on for Janssen’s picture book, easy reader and early chapter book recommendations!
I’ve long been a big fan of audiobooks, so it’s no surprise that they’ve become an integral part of my parenting too.
My four-year-old daughter has caught the bug too, and she listens to lots of audiobooks during her quiet time each afternoon or when we’re in the car.
I’ve discovered that I can’t let her listen to them when she’s in bed – she’ll keep herself awake for HOURS listening, no matter how exhausted she is. I love that it keeps her entertained, helps develop her listening skills, and improves her literacy and vocabulary.
I get the majority of her audiobooks from the library on CD. Most libraries will have them shelved separately, so ask your librarian if you can’t find them. I keep a small CD player in her room, and she knows how to turn it on and listen while she does puzzles or follows along with a paper copy of a book. I also like to keep a few picture book/CD combos in the car to keep everyone pleasant when we’re running errands.
Nearly every public library also has an Overdrive subscription, where you can download free audiobooks (for adults or children) straight to your phone, computer, or tablet (here’s a detailed tutorial of how to do so). The selection varies from library to library, but there are generally hundreds, if not thousands, of choices.
And if there’s something you can’t find at your library or through Overdrive, you can purchase almost anything through Audible.com (they have a free 30 day trial if you want to try a book free before you pay anything).
If I’ve convinced you that audiobooks might be a fun thing for your preschooler, here are a few recommendations, divided into picture books, easy readers, and early chapter books.
- Curious George by H.A.Ray. These books are such classics and practically every kid I’ve ever met loves them. They’re fairly long picture books, so they make great audiobooks (and I’m happy to save my voice).
- Alice the Fairy by David Shannon. A fun book for those who love the No, David series. Childhood hijinks at their best.
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall. I love James Marshall’s hilariously off-beat retellings of popular fairy tales. If your child loves fairy tales like mine does, these will certainly be a hit.
- Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. I love all of William Steig’s books (he won the Caldecott for this one and also is the original creator of Shrek) and my girls both love them for their quirky stories and bright illustrations.
- Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night by Cynthia Rylant. We just listened to some of this calssic series on a road trip, and I was just as delighted by it as my little girls were (even after four times through!)
- Penny and her Doll by Kevin Henkes. I absolutely love the Penny series about a little mouse experiencing many of the normal moments of early childhood. Make sure to check out all three of them.
- Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel. There is no duo I find more charming than Frog and Toad.
- Minnie and Moo by Denys Cazet. These barnyard cows are constantly getting into mischief, and their wacky antics have my preschooler in stitches. They are MADE to be read aloud.
Early Chapter Books
- Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary. This is perfect for a preschooler, just starting to think about kindergarten. Whether it’s wanting just the right boots or transitioning to a big kid bike, this classic hits all the right notes.
- Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins. We’re currently reading the second book in this series about three toys and their adventures when their young owner is absent.
- Poppy by Avi. Timid Poppy, a field mouse, sets on a daring adventure to prove that the owl who rules the forest is a phony.
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