A photo of desk with a stacked pile of books with an apple on top, a selection of colouring pencils and three alphabet building blocks

Image: Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Wise Before Five illustrated by Ekaterina Trukhan (2020)

By the time a child reaches the age of five, they have changed more in those early years than they will at any other point in their life! This vibrantly illustrated guide is packed with everything a five-year-old should know (alongside introducing more complex ideas to support further learning) – including early year concepts such as the alphabet, shapes, and numbers, as well as topics such as feelings, daily routine, mindfulness and road safety.

Actiphons Level 1 Book 1 Swimming Sally (2021)

Flummoxed by phonics? Have no fear, the Actiphons series is here! Created by two parents who wanted to make learning to read a fun and engaging activity for their own daughter, this ingenious new series combines phonics with sports. Each book focuses on one letter sound and combines fun activities and movement to reinforce that sound. The series follows the order children learn phonics at school so it’s a great way to build on their learning throughout the year.

Practise with Peppa: Wipe-Clean First Writing (2016)

Develop and practise first handwriting skills with Peppa Pig and friends in this colourful wipe-clean activity book! Children can trace over key handwriting patterns, then move on to forming first numerals and letters, including both lowercase and capital letters, before attempting some simple words.

Hey Duggee: 123 (2020)

Learning your numbers is as easy as 1, 2, 3! Well, it will be with the help of Duggee and the Squirrels. Whether they're starting nursery or school, this super fun sticker book will help children practise their counting. It includes over 55 stickers as well as activities for little hands to complete. A great one to use after school.

M Is for Mindfulness: An Alphabet Book of Calm by Carolyn Suzuki (2019)

Introduce young children to mindfulness with this beautiful alphabet book. A gentle introduction to the concepts of mindfulness, such as the importance of being aware of your body and its sensations, thinking of emotions as something that will pass, and being aware of the present moment. The perfect book for little ones facing the challenges of starting school for the first time!

My Little Pony Wipe Clean First Spellings (2017)

Little readers can practise their spellings with Twilight Sparkle and all her friends in this activity book. Each page features a wipe-clean page along with letters and words that kids learn in school. Children can then either trace over the words or write them out freehand. And if they make any mistakes, simply wipe away and start again! This is a great tool to help them build confidence when it comes to spelling and handwriting.

Peppa Pig: George’s First Day at Playgroup (2011)

For little ones starting nursery with big brothers and sisters already settled in, this book will resonate. It is George's first day at playgroup and Peppa doesn't really want him there. But when all of her friends want a little brother too, will Peppa change her mind? This fun, interactive and heartfelt book is ideal for encouraging Peppa Pig fans to get excited about their first day!

I’m Starting Nursery: Princess Polly by Amanda Li (2015)

This Princess Polly interactive sound book is a highly entertaining and immersive way of introducing boys and girls to nursery. As well as covering all the basics of the first few days, the additional feature of the cheering sound button allows children to associate nursery with reward, happiness, and fun – and gets them truly involved in the story.

Practise With Peppa: Wipe-Clean First Counting (2015)

Help support your child's number and counting skills with Peppa Pig and friends in this colourful wipe-clean activity book! Children will practise counting from 1-20, use numbers in a sequence, draw in the missing objects on the pages to make the correct number of items and other activities that make learning seem effortless and fun! Ideal for young readers who are starting school and developing their early number skills and pencil control.

Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean & Gareth Adamson (2009)

The prince and princess of new experiences, Topsy and Tim cover the fundamentals of day one at ‘big school’. Children will instantly recognise these trustworthy characters, feeling reassured that their favourite duo has gone through the same routines that they too will face at school. Most importantly, Topsy and Tim teach children that school can be really fun – with new friends to be made and exciting new things to learn!

In the Night Garden: Shapes and Colours (2015)

In this bright and fun sticker book, Igglepiggle and his friends in the Night Garden learn all about key shapes and colours. This book is a great introduction to some of the fundamental principles taught at school and nursery and will help give children an extra bit of confidence in their first few weeks.

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