Active Books on a Rainy Day to Entertain Toddlers

Outdoor fun is an easy way to wear out a toddler, but it’s been raining every day. That playset that we just bought and built 2 months ago is getting little use because of the rain, the extremely wet ground, or the abundant amount of mosquitos the rain attracts. And if it’s not raining, it’s quite hot and humid outside. In search of indoor activities to engage my toddler, we’ve turned to reading a lot. I’ve found a series of books that require some physical movement to release some of that extra energy we can’t burn outside. Best of all, all of these books are available at the Lafayette Public Library so these have been completely free activities we’ve been doing!

Fine Motor and Direction Skills

Press Here and Let’s Play! are both written by Henre Tullet and ask toddlers to interact by pressing, shaking, clapping, or tracing various dots or lines. It’s been a fun way to learn the difference between left and right, up and down, and release a bit of energy while reading! If your toddler enjoyed this book, also check out “Mix it Up” which has a similar concept but is more related to color and color mixing.

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson follows the life cycle of a tree through various seasons. This has been great to teach my toddler about weather change while also asking her to tap, count, and blow air to interact with this book.

Gross Motor Skills

One quick tip on these books below, the more exaggerated and enthusiastic you play out these motions contained within the books, the more active your toddler is likely to be! 

From Head To Toe by Eric Carle is a fun book about the ways in which animals move starting from small movements to large movements. This gets my toddler moving her body and pretending to be various animals.

We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Rosen/Oxenbury has a fun refrain that is repeated throughout the book. Turning this refrain into a little song is a good way to have my toddler interact with the book while reading. For added fun, lay out material on the floor to reenact this bear hunt, such as colored blankets or shirts on the ground to make the bear hunt an even more interactive experience. Or even try setting this up outdoors one day with different mediums for a full-on sensory experience. This way my toddler hiked and splashed through the terrain just as the characters in the book.

Good Night Animal World by Giselle Shardlow is a book of yoga poses inspired by animals from around the world. It shows you how to complete yoga moves based on characteristics of various animals, contains a little education as it maps out where each animal is found in the world, and even includes a Parent Guide with helpful tips.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear illustrated by Timothy Bush follows the traditional nursery rhyme but this invites kids to move along with the Teddy Bear as he acts out the various parts of the song.

To jog your memory on additional nursery rhymes and motions to accompany them, check out Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes and Other Action Rhymes by Zita Newcome.


Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is a picture book, but it can be fun to have both you and your child mimic the movements on each page in your living room. Flora and the Peacock is another you can check out if you enjoyed this book.

Dinner and a Book Anyone?

Soup Day by Melissa Iwai follows a storyline of a child and her mother preparing dinner for the evening complete with a recipe in the back. For extra fun and a way to extend this book activity, even more, have your toddler help in recreating this recipe for dinner following the storyline and activities in the book.

Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig follows the story of a dad (pizza maker) making a pizza out of his son by mixing the ingredients, kneading, rolling, and topping his pizza. For a fun twist, act out this book with your toddler and have a family DIY Pizza Night.
Another favorite available to rent from the library, though not pictured, is “Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party”.

If you need any inspiration on getting some extra energy out on rainy days, check them out yourself! Also be sure to check out any of the other programs the library has to keep you busy indoors on a rainy day!

Emily Miller
Emily is a dual citizen, residing in Lafayette, Louisiana, yet a temporary visitor in her other residency of Germany. She is a wife of four years and full time working mother to two kids: a 2.5 year old girl (C) and 5 month old boy (H). Having graduated from LSU with her bachelors, she continued her education by getting her Masters in Business Administration from UL. Working in management in retail, her schedule frequently varies and consists of unusual hours, but she embraces that as extra time with her children. While off the clock, Emily pours herself a cup of decaf coffee, plays in a room filled with toddler toys, teaches her children German, and attempts to be a scrunchy Montessori inspired mama with goals of raising independent children.


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