The Best Activity Books to Keep Kids Busy This Summer

Whether you’re looking for a way to spend a summer afternoon or if you need to help prevent the summer slide, there’s nothing like a good activity book. From simple STEAM activities to literary coloring books for tweens, these fun-filled pages will make open afternoons go by in a flash.

Rebel Girls Stick Together

From Goodnight Stories from Rebel Girls comes a new sticker-by-number book with 12 pages of heavy stock paper depicting female heroes from the original book. 

Ages: 5 and up.

Buy it here, $13.49. 

photo: Highlights Press

Longest Hidden Pictures® Puzzle Ever

Possibly the coolest hidden pictures book ever, Highlight's new 16 foot long fold-out puzzle is fun for the entire fam. Made on sturdy paper and featuring 280 hidden objects, this unique activity can be used on the go, completed in sections, or spread out all at once!

Ages: 5 and up

Get it here, $7.29.

photo: Page Street Publishing

100 Easy STEAM Activities: Awesome Hands-On Projects for Aspiring Artists and Engineers

The perfect cure for rainy day boredom, this book is packed with projects that teach the principles of science, technology, engineering, art and math with on-hand ingredients like shaving cream and cookies. Have fun learning early ideas in chemistry, physics, computing, color-mixing and so much more.

Ages: 6-11

Get it here, $11.89.

photo: North Light Books

Playing with Paints - Watercolor: 100 Prompts, Projects and Playful Activities

From kids to grownups, Sara Funduk's book is for anyone who wants to explore painting with watercolors. Includes more than 100 lessons. 

Ages: All ages

Get it here, $17.79.

photo: Patrick Barney

Literary Coloring Books from Patrick Barney

A perfect blend of sci-fi and therapeutic coloring, Patrick Barney's Wally & Sidney and Juniper & Sally stories are just what your tweens and teens need. The 71-page mini-novels are a collection of science fiction stories and accompanying coloring pages, all created by a Kansas high school teacher who writes and illustrates in his free time.

Ages: 12 and up

Find them here and here, $10 each.

photo: Page Street Kids

Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials

From a homemade to a marble maze to a superhero mask or a dino terrarium, this is the ultimate stay-at-home-and-have-fun book for winter break and beyond. Re-use materials you already have to create hours of epic inventions, crafts and more. Created by Kimberly McLeod, the woman behind The Best Ideas for Kids®, you'll find budget-friendly, eco-conscious projects that are great for imaginary play, bedroom decorations, gift-giving and beyond. 

Ages:  6-11 

Get it here, $12.92.

photo: Workman Publishing

Eyelike Stickers: Pirates

No sticky residue after peeling these stickers off your windows! These reusable and collectible stickers can go just about anywhere, including the scenes that come in this fun book of 400 pirate-themed images. Great for car rides, doctors' offices and shopping carts––there's nowhere these stickers can't go.

Ages: 4 and up

Get it here, $5.59.

photo: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers;

The Invisible String Workbook: Creative Activities to Comfort, Calm, and Connect

From the author of the picture book phenomenon The Invisible String, this companion workbook includes over 50 creative art therapy and writing activities to help kids recover from trauma and build healthy relationships with themselves and others.

Ages: 4 and up

Get it here, $11.69.

photo: Rockridge Press

Real Chemistry Experiments: 40 Exciting STEAM Activities for Kids

Create a chemistry experiment in your own kitchen or classroom with this book that guides you through the science of experiments. Each activity tackles a purpose or question and includes step-by-step instructions to solve or answer the question using the scientific method. It calls for easy-to-find materials and offers practical, real-life examples to help kids understand the importance of chemistry in their daily lives. 

Ages: 8-12

Get it here, $10.49.

photo: Pipsticks & Workman

So. Many. Stickers.: 2,500 Little Stickers for Your Big Life

There's no shortage of stickers in this 50-page book! Whether your kiddos love decorating their notes, binders or snail mail, this 2,500 collection of whimsical stickies will keep them busy and creative for at least a few hours. Parents, there's no harm in sneaking a few for yourself to dress up that planner!

Ages: 4 and up

Get it here, $10.69.

photo: Rockridge Press

Awesome Robotics Projects for Kids: 20 Original STEAM Robots and Circuits to Design and Build

Robotics for kids is a series of beautifully photographed projects that help kids create robots—from the basics to the more advanced—with clear instructions and explanations on how robots are used in daily life. 

Ages: 5-10

Get it here, $13.49.

photo: Highlights Press

Jumbo Pad of Word Puzzles

Highlights' Jumbo Pad of Word Puzzles is the perfect travel companion. The 256-page book contains over 125-word searches, crosswords, riddles, codes, and logic puzzles, with tear-out sheets and comes with a sturdy cardboard backing that's great for using on your kiddo's lap.

Ages: 6 and up

Get it here, $7.29.

photo: Clever Quiz Books

My First Quiz Picture Book

Keep your toddler engaged and learning with the adorable and colorful My First Quiz Picture Book. Littles will learn first words, expand their vocabulary and be encouraged to answer questions as they learn about the big world around them.

Ages: 3 to 5

Get it here, $3.98.


Highlights Learn On the Go Practice Pads

These large activity books from Highlights are full of colorful images, fun games and learning opportunities. Perfect for when you are on the go, choose from numbers, letters, tracing or puzzles books.

Age: 3-6

Buy it here, $4.99.

Genius LEGO Inventions with Bricks You Already Have

This LEGO project book isn't your typical activity book, but anything that promises to take up hours of our kids' time is a winner in our book. There are over 40 new robots, vehicles, games and gadgets for STEM-obsessed master builders. The instructions are easy to follow, and it’s a great way to actually use the bins of bricks you’ve got at home.

Ages: 3-7

Buy it here, $15.39.

Outdoor Sports Sticker Adventure

Designed to help girls discover their confidence and spirit of adventure, this outdoor sports sticker book features strong and confident female role models that do everything from climbing mountains to white water rafting. The adorable stickers will capture your little trailblazer’s imagination, while the empowering messages will help them believe she can do anything.

Ages 4-8

Buy it here, 12.61.

Girl Power Brain Boosters

This colorful activity book is all about combatting brain drain with over 100 original activities including codes to crack, word puzzles, rhyming games, picture puzzles, memory challenges, mazes and more. The ultimate rainy day or airplane book, we think boys will love it too. 

Ages: 8 and up 

Buy it here, $12.99

photo: Workman Publishing

Strong Is The New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls

This journal from the author of Strong Is the New Pretty is filled with meaningful quotes, over 20 of the most stunning images from the book (plus 20 new images!) and inspiring prompts that’ll allow your daughter to tap into her own “girl power.” Plus, it’ll encourage your kiddo to spend more time with her own thoughts and dreams than those she sees on social media.

Ages: 8-12

Buy it here, $7.59

— Gabby Cullen & Karly Wood



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