Reading stories at bedtime is an amazing ritual for families. Get these classic bedtime stories for children (babies on up!)
Every mother who likes peace in the evening hours knows this secret… wind down routines and bedtime routines make or break nights.
Instead of having the kids, 5 minutes before bedtime, putting on costumes and running around the house screaming, why not help everyone settle down with some interesting and fun bedtime stories for children.
Ask me how I know this is better. With my 5 kids in 5 years… we had to pull out all the stops.
Why Bedtime Stories are Good for Children
It’s undeniable and the science it out. Children benefit greatly from being read to. I venture to say that bedtime is one of the best times to read to your children!
My kid’s for example, wind right down when it’s story time before bed. It signals in their minds and bodies that it’s calm time. Granted, this is because I have worked on their routine since day one.
Yes, I read to my children when they were brand new babies.
I would sing and read to them books as they laid in my arms. We spent that time together and they were precious moments that I’ll never forget.
Other benefits to reading bedtime stories include:
- It enriches their language development, comprehension, and listening skills.
- Reading bedtime stories for children grows their imagination and appreciation of stories.
- It opens up great topics of conversation and gives them an outlet for empathy.
- Bedtime story books build vocabulary so children can be well spoken.
- It gives you a chance to be silly with your little one and provides great opportunities for bonding time.
Reading stories together helps you bond on many levels. You can even use stories to help talk about difficult things with your kids. I nearly ALWAYS buy a book to read that’ll help me approach a tricky topic with the kids.
Read: Why Bedtime Stories are Good for Kids
Bedtime Stories for Babies
Some people may think it’s pointless. But, I’m here to tell you that reading bedtime stories to babies is very beneficial.
I’m going to give you some effective tips right here on how to read to your baby:
- Pink sing-song books that you enjoy singing or reading out loud.
- Board book are great for pre-reading skills (like page turning).
- Read books with bright colors and fun pictures/shapes.
- Don’t feel like you have to read every word. You can simply read the pictures or make up your own story.
I remember being so proud when my six month old began reaching up to turn the pages of the board book we were reading.
Reading to babies is important, even though they don’t understand everything yet. Even just having then sit still and listen for pockets of time helps develop that ability to pay attention.
You may be shocked.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much they retain and how much you enjoy this time together. I will never forget the day my 3 year old recited an ENTIRE BOOK to me as I flipped the pages. She had memorized it without me even knowing it.
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?– Click Here for a great price on this perfect bedtime story for babies!
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar– It’s been years since I’ve read this one…and I can still quote it. Click Here to purchase this treasure!
- I Love You to the Moon and Back- This sweet bedtime story is perfect for bonding and precious moments together. Here it is!
- If Animals Kissed Goodnight– I love this one because of all the animal sounds. And, of course the kissing. Click Here to purchase.
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom- This rhyming alphabet book was always a favorite read before bedtime! Here is is!
- Wheels on the Bus- If you can sing it, I recommend this fun book! Babies love to hear this song over and over again! Click Here.
- Baby Beluga– Baby Beluga is a songs to read book with beautiful illustrations! I highly recommend. Here is it!
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Classic Bedtime Stories
With so many books to choose from, a great place to start is with some classic bedtime stories. Without a doubt, try those new authors. But… don’t neglect to read the all time best classic stories that have stood the test of time.
I actually nearly always prefer the classics to new books, so these are on our bookshelves or already passed down to others.
- Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever- This book is a necessity for any child’s library. You’ll read each page again and again. You’ll find it Here.
- Aesop’s Fables– Oh, the lessons and discussions you’ll have while reading Aesop’s Fables! Here is a great collection of 130 in one book. Did I mention that they are great for teaching morals, ethics, and empathy?
- Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes– From Twinke, Twinkle, Little Star to Hickory, Dickory, Dock… This Collection of rhymes is a great classic edition to bedtime reading.
- The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories– Children love hearing Bible stories read at bedtime. Here is a great collection.
- Love You Forever– This heartfelt classic is a favorite of mother’s everywhere. Be prepared, you may cry. Here is it.
- Where the Wild Things Are– This iconic story is beloved of children and families. Not to mention, perfect for bedtime story time. Chick Here to purchase.
- The Beatrix Potter Classic Stories– Let’s talk about enriching your children’s vocabulary with these stories. There are lots of collections out there, but This One is a great treasury with beautiful illustrations.
- Grimm’s Fairy Tales- From Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, to many more. Here is where you will find original collections of favorite bedtime story fairy tales.
Story Books For Older Children
Now, they aren’t babies or toddlers anymore. They even enjoy reading on their own before bedtime. No reason to stop reading to them altogether.
Here are some highly rated books for elementary aged kids:
- Holes– What a great bedtime story! You’ll have kids of all ages begging for just one more chapter. Here is where you can purchase it.
- Wonder– A great story to teach perspective and compassion, Wonder deals with topics such a bullying and overcome insecurities and loss. Here is is.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz– Yes, it’s a classic and they will love it. Here is where you can find the original version.
- The One and Only Ivan – Tells an incredible story of family, courage, and dong the right thing even when it’s tough. Here is is.
- Charlotte’s Web– A Newberry Winner in its own right. This story of endearment is a great read aloud for elementary school kids. Here is where you can purchase it.
- Crenshaw– This family tale brings to light courage in the life of a young boy who’s family is suffering a hard time. Purchase it Here.
- Bridge to Terabithia– A story of courage, adventure, and imagination. You’ll feel like you’re actually there. Click Here to purchase it.
Book Series For Young Children
When the kids are a bit older you can even read some classic book series to them. The benefits are endless. Also, you’ll have great conversations, really get them thinking, and have some great bonding moments. My older kids became dedicated readers when they found series they loved.
My oldest son mastered reading simply because he loves… Pokemon. That’s right. We got him a few Pokemon books and, lo and behold, the desire to learn about those characters was stronger than his resistance to taking the time to sound out words, etc.
You’ll find adventure and excitement in these book series. I recommend reading at least 15-20 minutes nightly and building anticipation between each book in the series. You’ll enjoy the time together.
The Chronicles of Narnia
A classic book series with the most well known title being The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. This series build faith, family ties, and imagination in its readers.
- The Magician’s Nephew
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- The Horse and His Boy
- Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Silver Chair
- The Last Battle
You will find the complete series Here.
The Box Car Children
A beloved story of four siblings who work together to overcome all odds against them. Each story has an exciting mystery that will leave the reader begging for more.
I would absolutely start at the beginning of this series. Here is the first four books for purchase.
However, If you know that you’re wanting adventure bedtime story books, you can purchase a 12 book collection Here.
The Borrowers is a 5 book series about a tiny family who lives under the kitchen floorboards of an English home. The details of these stories will amaze you and leave you questioning.
A complete set of 5 books will include the following: The Borrowers, The Borrowers Aloft, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Avenged, and The Borrowers Afloat. They can be purchased Here.
The Magic Treehouse Collection
Jack and Annie go on some amazing adventures. I love that each story has historically correct information as well as adventure for these two explorers! There is also an underlining theme of honesty, perseverance, and family ties throughout the series.
I recommend starting at the beginning of the series, although you don’t necessarily have to.
Here is a collection of the first 28 books at a great price.
If you would rather start with just the first four, Here is that set.
This series includes realistic fiction tales of children invoiced in dangerous situations. However, they are told from a child’s perceptive and innocent in nature. Also, they make great history lessons and discussion topics.
These titles are found in a compilation series, available Here:
- Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
- Shark Attacks of 1916
- Attacks of September 11, 2001
- Nazi Invasion, 1944
- Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941
- Battle of Gettysburg, 1863
- the Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79
- Hurricane Katrina, 2005
- Francisco Earthquake, 1906
- Japanese Tsunami, 2011
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