Books, Educating your child, Parenting

10 Books That Your Toddler Will Love


“So which book should I read to my toddler?” is a question I often hear mothers ask. There was a time when I struggled to find the answer to this question myself.

There are a zillion children’s books in the market but of course one can’t buy them all, so I scoured the internet, blogs and parenting websites. I asked my friends and other parents on what their child loves. I spent hours at cute little bookshops to find books that I wanted to read to my daughter. I bought some books we both didn’t like so much after all and then there are some which are loved and read so much that I have to put cello tape on the edges to protect them from much wear and tear ūüôā

So, as I read this question once again on a Facebook group I am a part of I thought of putting down a list of books that we love…. hoping it will be a good idea to share what worked for us and to learn from you what we can read next!

So, here’s my list in no particular order:

  1. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown: This book is a master piece. I would be lying if I say that I was thrilled when I first held it in my hands…. in fact I was outright disappointed at my online purchase. My husband who was at home that time laughed and made a vague comment on the funny looking pictures. Any how night came and I thought since we already have it why not give the weird new book a try.And then magic happened! Our daughter not only loved the book right away, she was also awed but the illustrations. Yes… those weird funny looking pictures were very well received much to our surprise. That day onwards the book became a bedtime staple and has helped us through countless evenings. Goodnight Moon is still part of our bedtime ritual most days, though by now even our daughter knows the book by heart and we sort of sing it rather than read it.goodnight-moon
  2. Who Lives In The Pond by Baby Einstein: I ordered this book online thinking it will be a good read for bath time because of its plastic pages. The book immediately became a hit at all times with its bright colors, an easy to understand story line and very good choice of rhyming words which add to the child’s vocabulary. My daughter is almost 3.5 years old now and is still charmed by the book.                                      who lives in pond
  3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: What more can I say about this classic that hasn’t been said before?! Simple story and eye catching illustrations… fun fun fun all the way!HungryCaterpillar
  4. Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle: This is another book that draws instant interest. Again this book is so successful because it is simple, easy for the child to read and understand, entertaining and exposes the child to animals and their sounds.polar bear
  5. Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle: I picked up this book at a yard sale solely because its by Eric Carle. My daughter adored the book from the moment she set eyes on it. Yes, the fact that she’s obsessed with sea animals these days and Sea Horse is one of her most favorite creatures helped too. The book has Eric Carle’s signature illustrations, which honestly seem a little weird to me but were LOVED by my daughter. What I liked most about this book is how it talks about fathers caring for their children rather than the mothers through some uncommon sea animals. Don’t see too many books on this. Mr seahorse 
  6. The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry: My daughter was gifted this book by her Aunt and I’m so glad because had it not been for the gift I might have missed out on a great read. The book teaches the importance of being friendly through a simple enough story which is a lesson everyone would love to teach their child. Blue truck
  7. Little Star (Dora The Explorer) by Nickelodeon: My daughter is a Dora fan so we tried a whole bunch of Dora books before we stumbled onto this one, and this is one of the most read books in our house. A charming little story about a star (always a child’s favorite!) and some problem solving Dora style is a perfect recipe for happy times. We read this book with hand gestures and very soon 1.5 year old VMJ was completing the sentences and doing the actions as we read the book together OVER AND OVER AGAIN!51zgzBB5KpL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_
  8. Ant And Bee And The Rainbow by Angela Banner: This one was picked up at a cute little shop around the time I was teaching colors to VMJ. This book has interesting characters and their experiments with colors, something you can do with your child as you read the book with him.51Y8OOdK++L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_
  9. Corduroy by Don Freeman: This book weaves a sort of magical world with the story of a toy coming alive at night, and all kids can use some wonder especially when they are growing up. Not just that, the book also teaches kindness – a virtue the world needs more of.51vDzm3BeAL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_
  10. Goldilocks And the Three Bears: It’s an oldie but a goodie. This book has been another favorite in our house and we have loved reading it to VMJ with different sounds for the 3 bears… its so much fun for her and us alike! 

In addition to these we also love the Fischer Price Little People’s flap books. They are excellent in keeping the littles busy for a long time ON THEIR OWN!!

The Bruno and Pepper series of story books are great too, especially on how they help reinforce the lessons parents struggle to teach their kids and come at a very affordable price.  

 The Panchatantra and Hitopadesha tales are classics that never fail.

My daughter also thoroughly enjoys her collection of small board books which are again very affordable.  


Hope you and your child love these books as much as we do! 

Please do share your favorites too so I can add those to our library ūüėÉ



Educating your child

Fun way to teach Water Cycle to your child – Drippy the raindrop story

I found a delightful story that can help you teach your child the concept of water cycle. I found it on internet and am typing it here for easy and quick reference.

Drippy the raindrop was having fun. He was busy doing his favourite thing, floating on the ocean. Looking up, he smiled at his friend, Mr. Sun, who had just come up.
As the day wore on, Mr. Sun rose higher and higher in the sky. Drippy became hot, very hot. “I’m hot”, said Drippy.
Suddenly Drippy saw a cloud moving across the sky. Drippy said to himself ‚ÄúThe cloud looks so nice and cool. It‚Äôs so hot down here; I wish I could fly to the cloud and cool off.”
And just as he was thinking of this, Drippy was flying… up, up in the sky to the cloud. Drippy was evaporating.
Soon Drippy landed on the cloud and saw another drop wearing a cap. The other drop said “Hi. So you have come for the cruise. Everyone calls me Captain Salty. What’s your name?”
“I’m Drippy and I have come to cool off.” the captain asked “And where have you come from?” Drippy leaned over the edge of the cloud and pointed to the water below “I was floating on the ocean there.”
Drippy asked the Captain ‚ÄúWhere is the cloud going?” The captain told him that the cloud is sailing to the mountains “Looks like a storm is coming. If it gets rough, please feel free to leave the ship.”
Drippy said “Sure, it would be nice to visit the mountains.”
Suddenly the cloud started bouncing and shaking and Drippy jumped off the cloud waving Bye to the Captain. Drippy fell to the ground along with rain. He looked down to see a stream going through the trees in the mountain below. “That would be a nice place to land” thought Drippy. But he landed on a tree and bounced from one leaf to another and fell to the ground. Sliding from rock to rock Drippy gently fell into the stream he had seen from the cloud. Drippy said “Hurray, this is fun.”
Drippy enjoyed floating on the stream and watching the trees and mountains. Drippy found a leaf floating on the water and climbed on it. Soon the stream merged with river and the river merged with the Ocean and Drippy was back home.

There are a lot of things you can discuss with the child after you have told the story.
1. Evaporation: Drippy evaporates. Why? The heat of the sun causes him to evaporate and become a vapor that goes up and he becomes part of the cloud. (Illustration: boil some water in a kettle so children can see the vapor rising).
2. Condensation: Drippy is now in the cloud and meets another raindrop who has also evaporated — Captain Salty. While in the cloud, it is colder and Drippy is condensing and turns into water again.
3. Precipitation – What happens after a while in the cloud? Yes, it starts to bounce and shake. Why? It gets very heavy now that Drippy is water – (and all the other raindrops that have accumulated have also turned into water) the air cannot keep Drippy and the other raindrops up there . The cloud bounces and shakes – (precipitates) and Drippy and all the water in the clouds come down as rain drops or rainfall. Now sometimes it comes down as rain, or it can be hail, sleet or snow, it just depends on how cold it is.
4. Collection: Finally, Drippy ends up falling on a stream and then unto the river, which carries him back to the ocean and this will happen all over again — this is called collection. It is important to add that some of the rain will fall on land and become ground water – the water we, animals, and plants use.
There is a really easy and fun activity for young children that can be done with cotton ball & water. Take cotton balls, some flat pans or containers filled with little cold water.
1. Give each child a cotton ball to hold. Tell them to pretend that they are holding a cloud.
2. Ask them how does the cloud feel: heavy or light, soft or hard.
3. Instruct the children to place the “cloud” (cotton ball) gently over the cold water. Explain that water that has evaporated has traveled up to the cloud and it is a lot colder up in the sky, so the vapor turns into water, and it is filling up the cloud. Ask: Can you see the “cloud” (cotton ball) filling up with the water.
4. Ask the children to gently pick up the “cloud” (cotton ball) from the pan. Ask: How does the “cloud” feel now? Light or heavy. Warm or cold? What is happening with the water? Yes, the water is dripping from the “cloud”. Why? The cloud cannot hold all that water, is too, too, heavy. What do we call when water falls from the clouds because they are too heavy with water? Yes, you are right, rain! It is raining! And what happens to the water? Yes, it is coming right back into the pan, and the pan could be a stream, river, ocean or the ground.



Educating your child

Teaching Seasons: Summer

Sometimes we can’t decide¬†what more to teach our kids, especially when it is vacation time and they are too young.¬†That’s when you need to look around for inspiration and pick things from¬†your immediate environment that you can tell your toddler about. I feel a great way of teaching new things and introducing new words is by going season by season and increasing the level of complexity as the child gets older. A season¬†changes our clothing, our menu and the weather, all things that form part of your child’s surroundings, making it easy for you to educate him about these.¬†

Since its summer time, lets start by teaching our little ones about summers. You need to begin by telling that the weather is changing and we have kept the warm winter clothes away. It is getting hot and we sweat when it gets very warm. To keep our bodies cool we need fans and AC. Your toddlers might already be knowing about fan and AC and that fan is switched ON or OFF by a switch. You can show the switch and ask then to turn the fan on and off, and if your child is old enough you can teach how turning the regular makes the fan go slow and fast. This way you not only teach them cause and effect but also teach opposites Рslow-fast, ON-OFF, warm-cool. 

Another thing you can do is to invest in an inflatable pool and let your child splash away. Not only is this an activity most kids enjoy tremendously, it can help pass some time during the boring summer vacations. You can buy some cool bathing toys and cook new stories everyday. Or you can use a good bath gel, make lather and use it to hide small toys that your baby will have lot of fun finding. More opposites you can teach in the pool are wet-dry, hide-seek, clean-dirty (referring to your child’s hands or feet before and after the bath).

Summers also bring lot of delicious foods Рmangoes, watermelon, litchi, ice cream etc. You can teach colors and shapes while enjoying these yummy treats (oval for mango slice and semi circle for watermelon slice), and also teach new adjectives like mangoes can be sour and sweet or ripe and raw (more opposites!). Mangoes can be juicy, litchi can be delicious, watermelon can be refreshing and cool. 

You can make ice lollies with different flavors and relish each afternoon. Some flavors that I have made this summer so far include:

  • Watermelon mint ice lolly: Grind some watermelon in a mixer with few mint leaves. You may add a little sugar if the watermelon is not too sweet. Add chopped strawberries, grapes, cherries, kiwi fruit or any berry that you have available. Pout in ice lolly molds and set in freezer for few hours.
  • Lemonade ice lolly: Make lemonade and add finely chopped mint leaves and some cut fruits as above. I added some peeled and cut litchis and it tasted great. You can sprinkle some chat masala or salt just before handing it over to your child.
  • Fruity ice lolly: Take any fruit flavor crush – Strawberry, Mango, Pineapple or even Khus. Add enough water and some chopped fruits and freeze away.

You can also freeze tang, just experiment with different flavors and colors to keep it interesting for your little one.

When it gets very hot we usually get some rain, you can use this opportunity to teach your child about the water cycle. Teach when it is going to rain, starting with grey clouds. I teach my 2.2 year old by showing her grey rain clouds and telling her that rain comes from the sky and lives in clouds. When there is a lot of rain in one cloud it turns grey in color. When it gets even more rain that it can not handle it breaks (show how that can happen by filling a water balloon with water, that the balloon can sustain only so much water and bursts when its over filled). When the clouds break it starts raining – it rains on trees, plants, people, roads, park and hills. Plants drink this water. Sun comes out and dries up the rain (relate it with incy wincy spider rhyme). With sun’s heat the water dries up and hides in the clouds.¬†This is simple enough for toddlers to understand and when they see the grey clouds and rain, they are able to relate too.

You can tell some summer stories to your child like the story of the thirsty crow and maybe show video of the same on youtube.

Taking inspiration from Nukta you may get some fast growing plants that flower in summer and plant those with your child.

Since its so hot, most people keep a water bowl in the balcony for birds. You may do that too. Keep some grains along with the water and watch birds that come to feed and drink with your little one. 

Summers may not be too much fun when it gets awfully hot but with your creativity you sure can make it a fun time for yourself and your children! ūüôā

Happy summers



Educating your child

When to start teaching your baby and how (0-1.5 years)

As much as we like it to be, motherhood never gets easier. A new mother cribs for the sleepless nights and waits for the day her 2 hourly breastfeeding sessions will get over. Soon she starts worrying about the baby who has started turning and rolling and is starting to crawl, and once the baby starts to really move then you can forget all rest and peace for a good time. And if that’s not enough most mothers are¬†constantly worrying about teaching their¬†developing child things like animals names and sounds, body parts, alphabet etc.

A first time mother most times is clueless as to how to begin teaching such simple things to her little one Рwhat words to use and how to teach and more importantly how to know that the child is understanding it! We may be great career women but our confidence does shake a little when dealing with the most important person in our life. With a little patience and practice everyone learns the ropes and becomes a guiding light to a friend, relative or neighbor who goes down the road of motherhood after us.

What I am going to share here is no rocket science and no magic formula that will make your baby learn everything you want him to, overnight. Each baby is different and each mother’s way of handing her baby is unique so some babies respond immediately and some take a while. While it is important to keep teaching, its equally important to do it repeatedly without getting irritated or annoyed when ¬†your baby takes times.

Most babies respond very well to music and actions so the first way of teaching can be through action rhymes. You don’t need¬†to sing very well or know dance, just follow the words and do simple actions. Babies are fascinated by sounds, especially their mother’s and love everything that moves. You can pick simple rhymes from the internet, youtube can help you pick your favorite rhythm and some videos will even teach you actions. My favorite action rhymes when my daughter was younger were:

  1. Twinkle twinkle little star
  2. Snow flakes, snowflakes
  3. Incy wincy spider
  4. Hickory dickory dock
  5. Five little monkeys
  6. Head shoulder knees and toes

I introduced rhymes to my daughter when she was only a  few days old. I used to play rhymes on my phone as I gave her a massage every morning and sang along. This kept me in a rhythm as well as made massage time more fun. As she got older I used more of actions as I sang the rhymes, and those helped me through many a meal times when my daughter started solids. A few months down the line she was doing the actions as I sang. It took lot of singing and acting and but she picked up when she was ready.

The second and most important rule is talk, talk, talk. Talk as much as you can about whatever you are doing. Babies as little as few months can’t speak but they sure can listen and are learning to process. By talking you are giving them exposure to new words and sounds and if you do the talking with gestures and actions you are teaching them¬†more. But please avoid baby talk. Most parents make this mistake out of love but it makes it¬†difficult¬†for the child to pick up the right sound of a word.¬†Whenever you talk and whatever you say to the child should be spoken as if you are talking to another adult. This way when the child starts to talk he will speak clearly and you will save yourself much time and effort trying to correct his speech.

Kids around 9-10 months can’t yet speak but they certainly follow the gestures. You can begin teaching body parts at this stage. The best time to teach is while giving massage or while¬†giving him a bath. All the while say things like… now mumma will wash your hands… now lets put water on your hands… look how lovely hands you have… just make up whatever you can and teach one or maximum 2 parts one day to begin with. As with every other thing, keep patience. They maybe surprised in the beginning as to what you are trying to do but slowly they will get the hang of it and start responding. Its best not to rush kids as they sense our eagerness and are discouraged by the pressure we put on them by being impatient.

As your child gets older, talk to them about things around you, show them picture books and read out stories. Play with him making animal sounds and tell the names of animals as you do that so they can relate. Whenever you start a new activity, try not to overload the child with information and begin with a small number always. Give your child lots of love and encouragement and long enough time to respond.



Educating your child, Parenting

Spring Time: Learning with Plants

One of the most exciting things about owning a garden is you can do gardening. As the Spring was approaching closer, I decided to sprout some vegetable and flower seeds. I am not blessed with a green hand, but still decided to read online and give it a shot. Excitedly bought some seed packets from the market. Thankfully, they list the instructions on the packet on when to plant and where. Using the guide, I started a few seeds inside like tulsi, brinjal, pepper (hot and green), lavender etc. While the weather started getting warmer, some other were also planted outside directly like bhindi (okra), peas and cucumber. All this was done in front of my lo  As the seeds had to be watered, I involved my little one in too and would tell him these are beej (seeds). Soon enough, the seeds sprouted and he could see them too. He would say, paudhe (plants) and excitedly water them. The plants are a little big now and seem to be doing well and far better than my expectations. We also put some flowering bulbs to teach the little one about lillies and irises. It seems we are already reaping the benefits of the exercise with my little one recognizing the colors and flowers.

We go out everyday to check if the plants and seedlings need water. I help my lo water the plants in the desired amount. We also repeat the names of the plants and flowers together, along with the colors of the flowers. Every time we walk in and we see some flowers blooming, we happily exclaim and take a few minutes to watch the beauty of nature. We also go out together to de-weed. While my lo watches over me, I do the work and we keep the communication about the plants going.

I wish the Spring can last forever…

If you do not have a garden to enjoy, still plant a few seeds in pots. The easiest to grow I have found are, marigold, rose, tomatoes, and bhindi (okra). The kid(s) will also enjoy plucking them and eating them if they see their hardwork bearing fruits ūüėČ Here is a picture from our experiment:

PicMonkey Collage



Educating your child

Caterpillar to Butterfly: Songs and Videos

Off late I have been struggling to find new things to teach VMJ. She knows her shapes and colours, numbers and alphabets, animals and insects, fruits and vegetables and an array of other things. ‚ÄėWhat else could you teach a 2 year old without stressing her?‚Äô was the question I asked myself almost every day until I stumbled across pictures of a caterpillar turning into a pupa while looking for pictures of ¬†caterpillar to show VMJ. I thought she knows a caterpillar and a butterfly but does not yet know the connection between the two and hunted for a song or poem that explains it in a simple yet fun way, and I found a few very nice short poems that my LO has started to love.¬†

Here they go:

  1. Caterpillar, caterpillar eat and grow.
    Caterpillar, caterpillar close your eyes.
    Caterpillar, caterpillar change your size.
    Caterpillar, caterpillar where’d you go.
  1. One caterpillar ,two caterpillars, three caterpillars today. 
    Four caterpillars, five caterpillars eating all the day. 
    One cocoon, two cocoons, three cocoons today. 
    Four cocoons, five cocoons sleeping all the day. 
    One butterfly, two butterflies, three butterflies today. 
    Four butterflies, five butterflies, flying, flying away.
  1. Caterpillar, caterpillar, cat cat cat
    Making the pupa fat fat fat
    It waited and waited and sat sat sat
    Out came the butterfly just like that.
  1. First comes a butterfly and lays an egg,
    Out comes a caterpillar with many legs,
    Oh see the caterpillar spin and spin,
    A little chrysalis to sleep in.

Oh, oh ,oh wait and see 
Oh oh oh wait and see
Out of the chrysalis,my oh my
Out comes a pretty butterfly.

 I just love the way the rhymes teach an otherwise complex phenomenon of metamorphosis so easily. These are short and simple and the kids have no problem understanding them. It does seem like a complicated phenomenon to teach to a 2 year old, but the rhymes, videos and the pictures below make it so easy. 

Below is a picture of the caterpillar turning into a pupa.


 … and then one of a pupa converting into a butterfly.


Both pictures have been taken from the internet. Source: 1, 2

You can read the story ‘the Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle to supplement the rhymes and pictures. If you do not have the book, you can show the video here

Here is a wonderful time lapse video of the caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis that you can show to your kids. Though I have tried to find the shortest yet most comprehensive video its 4 minutes may still be too long for your child. The subtitles will help you talk about the video while they watch to engage them.

I hope you and your child have as much fun with this rhyme as we have.