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10 Best Toddler Busy Books for Learning and Playing

Keep your kiddo entertained and educated with the best toddler busy books.
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By Lynsey Eidell, Contributing Writer
Updated September 12, 2023
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Image: Sasenki | Shutterstock
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Seeking a toy that fosters independent play, promotes creative thinking, provides educational value and is fun for your toddler? While that may seem like the holy grail, it exists—thanks to busy books. Busy books (or quiet books, as they are also known) are designed to keep your child, well—busy!—with various interactive activities. They’re ideal for keeping little ones entertained while traveling, dining out or simply playing at home while you enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet. As always, we’ve rounded up our favorites—but first, let’s take a closer look at busy books and their benefits.

What is a Busy Book?

Busy books, or quiet books, are books with interactive pages that encourage toddlers to use their hands and mind to solve various activities. The activities within the book are designed to help your toddler practice and develop skills in a variety of areas—including cognitive, fine motor, problem-solving, literacy and more—through play. The pages, which are often made of a laminated cardstock or fabric, also provide a sensory experience through the use of multiple textured materials, such as felt and velcro.

Busy books are commonly used within the Montessori method of teaching, which is a child-centered approach to education and development that embraces hands-on, multi-sensory activities that kids can engage in at their own pace. As such, they are also sometimes referred to as Montessori busy books or activity books (although not every product that calls itself a busy book is necessarily suited for Montessori education).

Whatever you call them, busy books are a fantastic way to keep your toddler entertained and educated. They can also be a great alternative to screen time for parents, particularly since recent research shows a link between screen time and developmental delays in toddlers.

The Best Toddler’s Busy Books

Ready to find the right quiet book for your little one? Keep reading for our top picks of the best toddler busy books available.

Pre-assembled Montessori busy book

Momo & Nashi Montessori Busy Book for Toddlers
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$21.47
What We Love
  • Pre-assembled and ready to use out of the box
  • Features extra velcro pieces for any fixes
  • Includes its own storage box and carry handle, to keep all pieces in one place
Things To Consider
  • Some of the concepts might be advanced for younger toddlers

This Montessori busy book features 14 themed pages that will help your little one master everything from the alphabet and colors to shapes and the calendar. The colorful pages are designed with your toddler in mind, with sturdy laminated cardstock and rounded edges (perfect for tiny fingers!). It comes with 165 pieces for endless matching activities, but perhaps the best feature of this quiet book is that it comes pre-assembled, with the velcro already attached to all of the pieces and the book. Less work for parents and more fun for your little one? That equals a win-win.

Age rating: 3+ years | Dimensions: 8" x 11"

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Busy book with travel bag

ZICOTO Busy Book for Toddlers
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$24.99
What We Love
  • Includes travel bag that zippers shut for safekeeping
  • Velcro is pre-attached to the pieces
  • Features larger-sized pages
Things To Consider
  • Some users report that pieces were missing

Hitting the road with your toddler? Pack this busy book. It not only provides endless entertainment (thanks to 12 pages of learning activities), but it also comes with its own zippered travel pouch for easy transport. An added bonus? The velcro comes pre-attached, meaning zero assembly time for parents.

Age rating: 3+ years | Dimensions: 9.2" x 12.6"

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Felt busy book

Leo Felt Books Bear Quiet Book
Image: LeoFeltBooks | Etsy
Buying Options
Etsy|$39.99
What We Love
  • Handmade with hypoallergenic felt and high-quality cotton
  • Each page has features that help hone your toddler’s fine motor skills
  • Great for younger toddlers
Things To Consider
  • Only six pages

Let your toddler’s imagination run wild with this handmade quiet book. It features seven pages of colorful felt scenes and activities that will help foster both their creativity and their fine motor skills. The soft designs feature fun animals, including a crocodile who needs his teeth brushed, a teddy bear finger puppet and a crab with claws to pull, as well as manipulatives such as zippers, velcro and lace.

Age rating: 6 to 24 months | Dimensions: 6" x 6"

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Personalized busy book

Playing Tots Toddler Busy Book
Image: Playingtots | Etsy
Buying Options
Etsy|$59.99
What We Love
  • Pre-assembled and with a zipper pouch for storage
  • Front page can be personalized with your child’s name
  • Pages are laminated for extra protection
Things To Consider
  • On the pricier side

Pictures of popsicles, ice cream scoops and watermelons in this busy book will keep your little one entertained for hours—all while they master matching, counting, shapes and more. Plus, you can have the front page personalized with your kiddo’s name for an extra special touch.

Age rating: 4+ years | Dimensions: 7.6" x 9.6"

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Themed busy book

HUATOL Montessori Busy Book
Image: Walmart
Buying Options
Walmart|$16.69
What We Love
  • Pages are tear- and water-resistant
  • Different themes appeal to a variety of children’s interests
  • Affordable
Things To Consider
  • Doesn’t come with any storage case or bag

This Montessori busy book allows you to choose from one of four themes that you think would interest your child most: traffic, animals, vegetables and numbers. Inside, you’ll find activities designed to improve your kiddo’s motor and cognitive skills, memorization and identification and hand-eye coordination.

Age rating: 3+ years | Dimensions: 20.2" x 17.2"

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Cloth quiet book

Pockets of Learning My Quiet Book
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • All of the pieces are tethered to the book, meaning no potential lost pieces
  • Zippers shut and has its own carry handle
  • Can be embroidered with your child’s name
Things To Consider
  • Some users report the snaps difficult to unsnap

Unzip this cloth quiet book and discover a variety of activities that will not only help improve your toddler’s fine motor skills, but also practice life skills. The pages allow little fingers to work on buttoning buttons, snapping snaps, tying shoes, opening and closing zippers and more. When you’re done playing (and learning!), simply zip the book shut and use its built-in carry handle to tote it around.

Age rating: 0+ months | Dimensions: 8.5" x 9"

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Busy book with removable boards

HarVow Quiet Busy Board Book
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$18.89
What We Love
  • Removable learning boards allow multiple children to play at one time
  • Includes a built-in carry handle
  • Affordable
Things To Consider
  • Some users report that the velcro is not very sticky

Busy books and busy boards combine in this option from HarVow. Open up the book and discover 14 different life skills (including tying shoelaces, undoing a belt buckle, working snaps and buttons and more) built into the front and back covers. The middle of the book features four removable learning boards (and 56 pieces to play with) that help your toddler work on their ABCs, 123s, shapes and colors. With its removable boards, this busy book is great at entertaining multiple children at once—perfect for families and classrooms alike!

Age rating: 3+ years | Dimensions: 10.7" x 7.9"

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Busy book with zippered bag

Tinkletots Montessori My First Busy Book
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$32.88
What We Love
  • Included storage bag has a zipper pouch to keep all of the play pieces secure
  • Pre-assembled with the velcro attached
  • Pages are sturdy and durable
Things To Consider
  • Some users report the velcro backing is too small

Pre-attached velcro pieces, 12 pages of fun learning activities and a zippered storage bag (with a separate pouch for all of the play pieces)? Talk about the busy book trifecta. This Montessori busy book from Tinkletots includes all of those features, plus thick, sturdy pages with rounded edges to protect little fingers as they play and learn. It’s no wonder it has over 1,000 five-star reviews!

Age rating: 3+ years | Dimensions:11.3" x 9.1"

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Career-themed quiet book

Curious Columbus “When I Grow Up” Quiet Book
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$34.98
What We Love
  • Uses gender neutral terms to avoid stereotypes
  • Zippers shut and features a built-in carry handle
  • Machine-washable
Things To Consider
  • Some of the activities may be too difficult for younger toddlers

Let your toddler dream about what they want to be when they grow up with this quiet book from Curious Columbus. The 10 different activity pages showcase different careers—from doctors to astronauts to firefighters and more—to inspire creative role play in your little one. The pages also allow your toddler to practice fine motor skills including buckling, zipping, popping, looping and buttoning. But perhaps the best part about this fabric quiet book is the fact that it’s machine-washable (because toddlers can be a messy bunch!).

Age rating: 3 to 6 years | Dimensions: 9.5" x 8.5"

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Handmade felt busy book

Cozy Book US Soft Activity Book for Toddlers
Image: CozyBookUS | Etsy
Buying Options
Etsy|$64.99
What We Love
  • Made from non-toxic, eco-friendly felt and cotton
  • Includes backpack-style carry bag
Things To Consider
  • Pricey

Whether your toddler wants to practice telling time, tying shoes, brushing teeth or undoing buckles, this Montessori busy book has it all. Beyond the practical skills, this (handmade!) felt book will also spark your kiddo’s creativity, thanks to pages with cooking, travel and ocean themes. The 10-page busy book also comes with its own backpack-style carry bag, which lets your toddler carry it around hands-free.

Age rating: N/A | Dimensions: 9" x 9"

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How We Chose the Best Busy Books

Busy books are meant to be fun and games, but shopping for them can be a different story. The wealth of options available can be overwhelming to parents, but that’s where we come in.

To help you find the best busy books for your toddlers, we’ve done the majority of the leg-work for you. We considered a list of criteria (including quality, cost, ease of use, design and durability) to determine which options provide the best bang for your buck. We also leveraged our familiarity with leading brands to make sure the quiet books are from reliable manufacturers, and read user reviews to get the lowdown on how these products work for real families (and we typically don’t consider anything with less than a 4-star rating). And since many of us are also parents, we tapped into our editors’ own experiences and knowledge to help determine the best products available.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

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