Counting down to the holiday shopping countdown: start small and reach high

Halloween is not yet over, Thanksgiving is still weeks away, and snowfall has so far been measured in flurries vs. feet. All true. But it’s also undeniable that Christmas decorations are making an appearance in stores and the Big Countdown to the Big Holiday will soon begin. Why not start chipping away “here and there” at buying for the little ones on your list?

Books with holiday themes can be a sweet way to both ease into the season and also build anticipation. Board books, in particular, are a great way to introduce infants to reading and to continue cultivating it with toddlers and preschoolers. Their chunky size is made for little hands, and their durability, for rugged use.

In a post titled, “Why Read to My Baby”? on Kids Health Nemours, notes that reading aloud to infants “teaches a baby about communication, introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way, builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills, and gives babies information about the world around them.” The piece by Alana Pearl Ben-Johnson, M.D., says that by their first birthday babies have learned all the sounds they need to speak their language. “The more stories you read aloud,” Ben-Johnsons says, “the more words your child will be exposed to and the better he or she will be able to talk,” adding that “hearing words helps to build a rich network of words in a baby’s brain.”

Show your child the sparkle and magic of winter with this Silly, Chilly Zoo board book. This rhyming story follows two kids who use their imaginations to create a zoo in a winter wonderland. Sure, you’ve seen a snowman, but what about a snow snake? A snow tiger? Colorful illustrations provide visual stimulation and provoke curiosity. Durable pages with rounded corners are designed for little hands to easily manage. Develop rhyming and reading readiness skills, while expanding vocabulary and also celebrating the joy of creativity. It’s a story that invites looking, point, and touching!

Another holiday story board book is Christmas Surprise. It follows a group of animal friends as they prepare for Christmas in the woods. Discover how they work together on a special night to celebrate a surprising sight!

Other holiday-themed board books that introduce and reinforce specific skills include Christmas ABCsTrim the Tree 1,2,3, and Guess Who? Colors & Shapes.

Another great option, perfect as stocking stuffers but also great for leading into the season are these adorable 3-packs of mini board books: Bible-Themed Readiness Mini Board Books, Readiness Mini Board Books, Early Reading Mini Board Books, and Early Math Mini Board Books. The littlest learners will have their very own—and very special—books. With every turn of the page, skills, imagination, and love of reading will grow.

Slightly older elves in your family will enjoy—and learn from—the new Jolly Little Busy Book series. Choose from Jolly Hidden PicturesJolly Mazes, Jolly Dot-to-Dots, and Jolly Color by Number. Two larger workbooks can expand the seasonally-themed lessons: Jolly ABCs & 123s and Jolly Activities. and Build their ability to follow directions, count, problem-solving, and concentration.

Of course, while early thinking and shopping can be super useful, when all is said and done, the calendar has not yet hit Halloween.  To add a l’il something unexpected to your bag of Halloween treats over the next couple days, consider signing up for Anywhere Teacher @, the online learning destination with 2,000+ activities that include some adorable Halloween learning fun.

Great learning makes a great gift for any holiday or season!