Educational Books For 3-Year-Olds: Imagination and Learning Fun!

Educational Books for 3-Year-olds

Looking for educational books for 3-year-olds to help with language development and reading readiness? You’ve come to the right place! This post is the next in our series that addresses reading readiness skills by age group.

I am a trained, licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with teaching certification who has been working with children for 15 of my 20 years in the field.  Because of this experience, I am in a unique position to offer advice about the importance of reading. 

The reading readiness skills I’m going to talk about, combine two of the things I love the most: Books and language.

*Educational Books for 3-year-olds Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you.

How do I make sure my child is ready for preschool?

When your child turns three, you will notice that their vocabulary will begin to increase exponentially. They will be using 4-5 words (if not longer) sentences that will be more grammatically correct as they begin to use plurals.

In addition to talking and interacting with your child, you can help get them on the path to learning by laying the foundation with educational books for 3-year-olds.

Educational Books for 3-year-olds: Sequencing

Throughout this next year, your three-year-old will begin to follow 2-3 step directions and begin to use adjectives like big, slow, wet, or color. This is also the age when your child will start to understand numbers.

They will also start to understand how to sequence. The idea of “first” is such an important one! We have a list of a few sequencing educational books for 3-year-olds to get you started.

if you give a mouse a cookie

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. And so the story continues in a big circle until the mouse is thirsty again. The adorable pictures and silly consequences will help your little one understand sequencing.

Why We Love This Book: I use this book in speech therapy all the time to work on sequencing and cause and effect. This is a great book to give you question prompts for your little one.
Appropriate for Ages: 2-5
Find this book in Books for a 3-Year-Old to Create a Love of Reading / Best Books 2-Year-Old / Kids Books About Food

There was an old lady

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback

This is a hilarious and completely ridiculous story about an old lady who eats whole animals. Crazy? Absolutely but, because it is so ridiculous, the story is so much fun to read and is a perfect sequencing book. This Caldecott Honor book has amazing, die-cut illustrations that make this book interactive as well.

The very hungry catterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

There are so many things about this classic book for kids that I love. Not only can you talk about days of the week, food, and counting, but you can follow the caterpillar on his journey to becoming a butterfly. When it comes to books for 3-year-olds, this one is tops.

Why We Love This Book: A gorgeous introduction to nature, food, counting, and days of the week.
Appropriate for ages 0-5
Find this book in 2-year-old Books / Classic Kids Books / Preschool Books About Food / Best Board Books / Educational Books for 3-year-olds

the secret life of squirrels

The Secret Life of Squirrels by Nancy Rose

The adorable photographs in this book are captivating. As you follow squirrel through his day, your little one can practice sequencing too. What is the first thing Squirrel does? This book is the perfect sequencing book for a three-year-old.

Educational Books for 3-year-olds: Wordless Picture Books

As much as they are talking, their understanding of words is much higher than their ability to use words. This can translate to crying or frustration when they do not have the words to express their thoughts.

I love the idea of educational books for 3-year-olds that are wordless. You can use these books in so many ways.

Goodnight Gorilla

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

I read this book with my kids over and over and never failed to make them laugh. The wonderful thing about this book is the hilarious gorilla and the antics he gets up to when he is supposed to be going to sleep in the zoo.

My kids loved to “read” the book to me and each time was a little bit different. They can point out the colors of the keys that open the cages and practice animal names.

Frog goes to dinner

Frog Goes to Dinner by Mercer Meyer

This wordless picture book is a classic that has me laughing every time I read it. After all, frogs don’t belong in restaurants.

I absolutely love the look on the boy and frog’s faces when they are caught. Work on looking at people’s faces and try to have your child name the emotions.


Tuesday by David Wiesner

David Wiesner has so many wonderful wordless picture books it was hard to choose just one. In this book, frogs take flight with their lily pads on Tuesday night at 8:00.

The details in the picture are extraordinary and make reading this one over and over a new experience every time. Let your child name the silly places the frogs end up. David Wiesner creates amazing educational books for 3-year-olds.

Novel Ideas 29 1

14 of the Best Wordless Picture Books to Love

Are you looking for more educational books for 3-year-olds? These are our favorite wordless picture books.

Educational Books for 3-year-olds: Beginning Picture Books

Your three-year-old will now understand more complex questions such as: where? who? and do you? They will begin to ask who? and what? and WARNING- they will begin to ask why?

This is the perfect time to introduce picture books that have more complex plots. When your child asks you a question, you can ask it the question back to them and see if they can answer. They will begin to appreciate silliness and humor within stories as well.

Big smelly bear

Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup

This book was a favorite picture book in our house and we still have it sitting within reach to read. Big Smelly Bear is itchy and refuses to take a bath.

He needs some help and makes a friend as well. This book is a must for a three-year-old bookshelf, especially reluctant bathers.

Mother Bruce

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce is looking for a meal. What he finds instead are three goslings who think Bruce is their mother. Bruce will do anything to be rid of the geese- or will he?

This book is one your three-year-old will want to be read on repeat. You can explore emotions in this book and what it takes to be a good parent.

Peanut Butter and Cupcake

Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border

Poor peanut butter is looking for someone to play with. Does peanut butter go with cupcakes?

Not only is this beginning picture book silly, but it also allows your three-year-old to learn about making friends! It’s a great rhyming book too.

Educational Books for 3-year-olds to Inspire Imagination

As vocabulary grows, so does the imagination. Now is the perfect time to introduce books that will spark your child’s imagination.

Not a

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

The bunny in this book can find amazing things to do with a box. When you read this book with your child, not only will inspire creativity but you will allow them to think “outside the box” literally and figuratively.

After you finish reading it, try setting up a creation station with boxes, paper towel rolls, scraps of paper, tinfoil, googly eyes, and more. This educational book for 3-year-olds is a winner!

I've painted everything and other books for 3-year-olds

I’ve Painted Everything by Scott Magoon

There is no better book to spark creativity than this book in which a painter is searching for inspiration. He learns that it is all about perspective, which is a lesson for everyone.

Grab the paints and paintbrushes and let your little Monet paint a picture of their own after reading.

if i built a car by chris van dusen

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

When it comes to books for 3-year-olds, this is a must.

This book will spark your child’s imagination as Jack imagines what his dad’s car could do if it were not so boring and bland. Ask your child what their dream car looks like.

Beautiful oops and other imagination books for 3-year-olds

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg

A good imagination book inspires creativity but also teaches a lesson. The lesson in this book? It’s OK to make mistakes.

Beautiful Oops is a 3-D book that shows a mistake, and then how the artist turns it into a masterpiece.

It’s a great book to reference when talking to your children about mistakes and how to fix them.

Copy of headers 7

Best Books for a 3-Year-Old: Create a Love of Reading

If you are looking for books to help create a lifelong love of reading, these are our favorite books for a three-year-old.

More Educational Books For 3-year-olds

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20 Vibrant Books About Colors for Preschoolers and Toddlers

If you love these counting books, check out these fantastic books about colors

22 Alphabet Books Helpful for Toddlers Learning Their ABCs

If you love these books about colors? Check out these fantastic alphabet books.

Alphabet Books for Learning ABCS
counting books

12 Playful Counting Books for kids of all ages

Love these books about colors? Check out these fantastic Counting books.

Did you find any educational books for 3-year-olds to add to your home library? Did we miss your favorite?

3 year old gifts

The Best Gifts For 3-Year-Olds: Toy & Book Presents!

You’ll find more books for 3-year-olds in this gift and book pairing list!

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