Books That Inspire Play

Play is more than just fun for children. It’s a vital ingredient for development, from motor to social skills. In particular, open-ended, imaginative play is key. You don’t need flash cards for your baby or toddler. Early learning comes naturally through activities like reading together and playing make-believe.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning,” said Pittsburgh’s own Fred Rogers. “But for children, play is serious learning.” Blocks, play kitchens, and dolls are all perfect for this type of play. Unlike something like a board game, there are no rules. You don’t even need toys. It’s all about imagination! See what you can find around your house to play with.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, there are many books about play. Here are a few great choices you can find at the library.


Ruby has red blocks. Benji has blue blocks. But what happens when they won’t share?

Digger Man

A young boy imagines how he will use his digger to make a park where he and his little brother can play.

Fire Engine Man

A young boy imagines the work he will do and the safety gear he will wear when he becomes a fireman some day, as his younger brother first watches then joins him on the job.

Jungle Gym

Come on in to Noah’s Park and join the rhyming adventures of animal friends on the jungle gym.

Splish, Splash, Baby!

Sturdy flaps, bright colors and a bouncy interactive text introduce a diverse group of babies to a soon-to-be familiar everyday experience filled with toys, bubbles and fun.