Category: Early Literacy Kits

Baby Bundles: Faces

For an overview of the Baby Bundles early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Tote Bag ($6.89) — 4Imprint
  • Global Babies Bedtime by Global Fund for Children ($6.95) — Baker & Taylor
  • Play by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis ($6.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Sassy Crib and Floor Mirror ($14.99) — Amazon
  • Activity Sheets ($2.55) — created in-house

Total Cost: $38.37

Confession time: I actually started with toys while I was creating Baby Bundles. Since baby/toddler toys are a relatively small market compared with children’s toys, it seemed like I should get a list of toys that were appropriate for circulation before I picked out themes. Luckily, the toys lent themselves to natural themes and I still have a list of toys that I may use for future kits!

We all know how much babies like to look at faces! This toy helps promote tummy time use, and lets baby see themselves in a mirror. I spent a lot of time reading reviews on mirror products. I wanted to make sure that it was a plastic mirror, which is safer but often distorts the mirror a bit. Many of the product reviews mention this. Ultimately, I decided safety was most important to me and the patrons.

Both Global Babies Bedtime and Play are very popular board books in our circulating collection. Since they are so popular, I decided to add them to the Bundle. I also really like that the whole Happy Healthy Baby series (of which Play is a title from!) also has caregiver tips at the back of the board book to encourage and empower caregivers.


It’s been three months since the Baby Bundles debuted and this Bundle has circulated five times. Fun fact: this was the first Baby Bundle ever checked out!

Baby Bundles: Counting

For an overview of the Baby Bundles early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Tote Bag ($6.89) — 4Imprint
  • Butterfly Colors and Counting by Jerry Pallotta ($9.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • My First Numbers: Let’s Get Counting by Dawn Sirett ($5.95) — Baker & Taylor
  • Infantino Squeeze and Stack Blocks ($9.99) — Amazon
  • Vinyl Bag ($2.99) — The Container Store
  • Activity Sheets ($2.55) — created in-house

Total Cost: $38.36

Confession time: I actually started with toys while I was creating Baby Bundles. Since baby/toddler toys are a relatively small market compared with children’s toys, it seemed like I should get a list of toys that were appropriate for circulation before I picked out themes. Luckily, the toys lent themselves to natural themes and I still have a list of toys that I may use for future kits!

Blocks are one of the best toys that you can give a toddler. But I knew that I wanted soft blocks, or at least softer blocks than wooden ones! I was happy to find these Infantino blocks, which are colorful and have great textures on each side of the blocks. I was able to make them almost squeak with my adult hands, but I’m not sure that young babies/toddlers will be able to, at least only using one hand.

My First Numbers: Let’s Get Counting is an oversized toddler board book and I love that it goes beyond counting to ten. So many of the children’s books stop at ten — this one is perfect for older toddlers who want to learn more. And Butterfly Colors and Counting is a book that we use in storytime. Our caregiver tip is that Butterfly Colors and Counting is easily translated as you read aloud in another language.


It’s been three months since the Baby Bundles debuted and this Bundle has circulated five times.

Baby Bundles: Colors

For an overview of the Baby Bundles early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Tote Bag ($6.89) — 4Imprint
  • My First Book of Colors by Scholastic ($6.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Rainbow Zoo by Martina Hogan ($6.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Fisher Price Stack and Roll Cups ($10.00) — Amazon
  • Activity Sheets ($2.55) — created in-house

Total Cost: $39.41

Confession time: I actually started with toys while I was creating Baby Bundles. Since baby/toddler toys are a relatively small market compared with children’s toys, it seemed like I should get a list of toys that were appropriate for circulation before I picked out themes. Luckily, the toys lent themselves to natural themes and I still have a list of toys that I may use for future kits!

This toy is actually a favorite of a small person in my life! She loves to stack the cups, and loves taking it apart when you put it together for her, and it is a fantastic ball for her to practice rolling with. So, I knew that I needed to include it as a toy for the library patrons. Fine-motor, gross-motor, color identification, basic engineering, hand-eye coordination — this toy has it all.

My First Book of Colors is a book that would probably be fine to circulate in the library, but since it has the colored plastic pieces, i wanted to save it for a kit. I also think that tabbed books like Rainbow Zoo are great for promoting fine-motor skills, but don’t always hold up on multiple check-outs.


It’s been three months since the Baby Bundles debuted and this Bundle has circulated six times.

Baby Bundles: Bugs

For an overview of the Baby Bundles early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Tote Bag ($6.89) — 4Imprint
  • Hello Bugs by Smriti Prasadam-Halls ($6.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • In My Flower by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich ($8.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Melissa and Doug Caterpillar Gears Toddler Toy ($9.99) — Amazon
  • Vinyl Bag ($2.99) — The Container Store
  • Activity Sheets ($2.55) — created in-house

Total Cost: $38.40

Confession time: I actually started with toys while I was creating Baby Bundles. Since baby/toddler toys are a relatively small market compared with children’s toys, it seemed like I should get a list of toys that were appropriate for circulation before I picked out themes. Luckily, the toys lent themselves to natural themes and I still have a list of toys that I may use for future kits!

The Melissa and Doug Caterpillar Gears toy is definitely geared for older children as opposed to young babies. But I felt it was important to have some toys for the 2-3 age range, since babies grow up to be toddlers, and they also need Bundles of their own. I love that this toy provides opportunities for caregivers to help their child with colors, basic engineering, and bugs! And since it’s Melissa and Doug, I know that it will also stand up against multiple circulations.

Hello Bugs is one of my favorite board books to give to friends who are expecting. The high contrast pages make it ideal for young children, but the shiny bits can also capture the attention of older children. And the vocabulary building is great. In My Flower is part of a wonderful series of books, but it’s books that won’t get added to the library’s general collection due to wear and tear. But it works in a Bundle!


It’s been three months since the Baby Bundles debuted and this Bundle has circulated four times. I think it’s because it’s one of the older toys that I’ve used in the Bundles

Baby Bundles: Balls

For an overview of the Baby Bundles early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Tote Bag ($6.89) — 4Imprint
  • A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka ($8.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Where is Baby’s Beach Ball? by Karen Katz ($6.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Infantino Textured Balls Multi Set ($9.99) — Amazon
  • Activity Sheets ($2.55) — created in-house

Total Cost: $35.41

Confession time: I actually started with toys while I was creating Baby Bundles. Since baby/toddler toys are a relatively small market compared with children’s toys, it seemed like I should get a list of toys that were appropriate for circulation before I picked out themes. Luckily, the toys lent themselves to natural themes and I still have a list of toys that I may use for future kits!

The Infantino Textured Balls are actually a set that we have in our in-house play items for after storytimes/during play groups. I know from personal experience that babies loooooove to chew on them and that toddlers love to put them into boxes/bins or to throw them. I figured that it would be worth it to have a kit dedicated just to balls!

I included a board book adaptation of A Ball of Daisy. This is a board book that I did not purchase for the general collection because our picture books versions do not circulate very well. I thought that the board book is a great choice for the older toddlers who are started to develop their own words and that the story would be relate-able — the best kind of book to put inside of a kit. It will reach a whole new audience! And Karen Katz is a genius of board books — her flap books, like Where is Baby’s Beach Ball? are beloved here. An easy decision to include it!


It’s been three months since the Baby Bundles debuted and this Bundle has circulated a whopping six times! Impressive!

Baby Bundles: Alphabet

For an overview of the Baby Bundles early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Tote Bag ($6.89) — 4Imprint
  • Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet ($19.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • My First ABC by DK Kids ($5.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Sassy A to Z Letter Links ($9.99) — Amazon
  • Vinyl Bag ($1.99) — The Container Store
  • Activity Sheets ($2.55) — created in-house

Total Cost: $47.40

Confession time: I actually started with toys while I was creating Baby Bundles. Since baby/toddler toys are a relatively small market compared with children’s toys, it seemed like I should get a list of toys that were appropriate for circulation before I picked out themes. Luckily, the toys lent themselves to natural themes and I still have a list of toys that I may use for future kits!

I found the Sassy A to Z Letter Links pretty early on in my searches online. These were a great opportunity to expand popular linking toys to really be about literacy. I got to include activities about spelling words, the textures on the letters, and about the colors. A great toy with a lot of caregiver tip opportunities.

As for the books, alphabet board books tend to fall apart because of their chunkiness and the sheer amount of pages that the books have in them. It worked out well for the My First ABC book. I had just weeded it from the collection and decided it would be better suited for a Bundle.

And Matthew Van Fleet’s Alphabet is such a gem of a book. But with its flaps and movable parts, it doesn’t circulate more than a few times if it’s on the floor. I’m pleased to report absolutely no damage to the book in the first four months of circulation!


It’s been three months since the Baby Bundles debuted and this Bundle has circulated five times.

Baby Bundles Overview

Baby Bundles were something that I had on my SOMEDAY list. After the success of Book Bundles, I knew that I wanted to create a Bundle that would target the very youngest patrons and their caregivers. Part of this was because baby/toddler toys often become obsolete quickly after a child loses interest. The other part of this was to teach caregivers how to use simple toys and books to teach their child early literacy skills.

This past fall, my manager was putting together a list of proposals for a sponsor and I worked out a very quick budget for the Baby Bundles without any guarantee of seeing the project come to fruition. I was pretty darn floored when Baby Bundles was chosen by the sponsor!

The Details

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Baby Bundles

  • I created sixteen Baby Bundle themes: Alphabet, Balls, Bugs, Colors, Counting, Faces, Farm, Food, Make Music, Ocean, Peek-a-Boo, Pets, Shapes, Sounds, Things That Go, Zoo.
  • The backpacks were purchased from 4Imprint and are the “Chervon Zippered Business Tote” style.
  • Book Bundles are shelved on the floor with a zip-tie securing the tote closed. I punched a grommet into the tote to allow the Bundles to be secured.
  • I provided a lot of input for our logo, but it was created by our fabulous graphic designer.
  • For each Baby Bundle, I made both an Inventory and an Activity Guide. The Activity Guides for Baby Bundles differ from Book Bundles because I wrote ideas based on the five practices of Every Child Ready to Read (read,
    sing, talk, play, and write). For Book Bundles, I wrote activities based on each item in the kit.
  • The Baby Bundles were sponsored by a donation from a patron and we do recognize that patron on our materials. I did remove the donation logo for uploading purposes in order to protect their identity.
  • Twice a week one of our adult volunteers checks the returned Baby Bundles against the Inventory sheet and then staff checks them in, backdating to the date that the patron returned the item. Because baby toys often go in the mouth, each item is cleaned with disinfectant or washed before going back out on the shelf.
  • They circulate for two weeks, with a fine of $1.00 per day if returned late. That’s the library’s standard for kits like Book Bundles, Parenting Packs, LeapFrogs, etc.

The tags on the Baby Bundles give a recommendation age range for the toy inside (provided by the manufacturer of each toy) as well as a picture of all the items inside the Bundle so that patrons know what they are checking out without having to open the Bundle on the floor.

[pic of tags]

Circulation of Baby Bundles is now handled by the front desk (and for that matter, so are Book Bundles and Parenting Packs which they were not originally)!

Over the next sixteen weeks, I’ll be showing off a kit a week so you’ll get to see what was chosen and why.

And that’s about it in terms of specifics in getting the kits put together. Technical Services helped SO MUCH in creating a catalog record for these items from scratch and making sure all the materials got tagged with the barcode. I am so appreciative of how everyone at the library works together.

Parenting Packs: Safety

bookbundlesparentingpacks

For an overview of the Book Bundles and Parenting Packs early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets and resource guide amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Carrying Tote ($15.99) — The Container Store
  • Be Safe Around Strangers by Bridget Heos ($8.95) — Baker & Taylor
  • Fire Safety by Lisa M. Herrington ($23.00) — Baker & Taylor
  • I Can Be Safe by Pat Thomas ($7.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Safe Kids, Smart Parents by Rebecca & Elizabeth Bailey ($15.00) — Baker & Taylor
  • Stranger Safety DVD ($9.99) — Amazon
  • Melissa and Doug Firefighter Costume ($29.99) — Amazon
  • Playmobil Crossing Guard Set ($14.99) — Amazon
  • Traffic Sign Puzzle ($9.99) — Amazon
  • Vinyl Bags (3) ($6.97) — The Container Store
  • Activity Sheets & Resource Guide ($3.00) — created in-house

Total: $145.86

I chose pretty much the only adult book that I could find about safety: Safe Kids, Smart Parents. I enjoyed this book and actually read it carefully because I wanted to see how it would handle many safety scenarios (consent, law enforcement, etc.). For the children’s books, I tried to select a variety of safety topics: strangers, fire, and a catch-all that mentions other situations.

The “Stranger Safety” DVD was actually one that we already have in non-fiction and have to replace every now and again for wear. It made sense to include it here.

The toys were really fun to select with this kit. I knew that I wanted to have a dress-up component and chose the Firefighters costume since kids are often frightened of the firefighter’s gear. Hopefully this will help them get used to it; although it doesn’t have the big face mask.

The Playmobil set offers a chance for caregivers to do role-playing with different scenarios (biking, crossing the street, etc.) and I thought that aspect would be helpful.

And lastly, the Traffic Sign puzzle — something that would appeal to the smallest patrons while teaching them about road signs.


The Safety Pack has been checked out eight times since debuting five months ago, which is higher than I expected!

Parenting Packs: Manners

bookbundlesparentingpacks

For an overview of the Book Bundles and Parenting Packs early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets and resource guide amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Carrying Tote ($15.99) — The Container Store
  • Be Polite and Kind by Cheri J. Meiners ($10.95) — Baker & Taylor
  • Emily Post’s The Gift of Good Manners by Emily Post ($19.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Excuse Me! A Little Book of Manners by Karen Katz ($5.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Manners Time by Elizbeth Verdick ($7.95) — Baker & Taylor
  • Time to Say “Please”! by Mo Willems ($16.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Golly Geepers Manners Flash Cards ($12.99) — Amazon
  • Playskool Picnic Basket Manners Game ($16.95) — Amazon
  • Vinyl Bag ($2.99) — The Container Store
  • Activity Sheets & Resource Guide ($3.00) — created in-house

Total: $97.80

I wanted to have a variety of kid-appropriate titles for caregivers to use. I went with two board books: Manners Time (which has caregiver tips at the end of the book) and Excuse Me!. Both of these titles work well for the younger crowd and will help toddlers navigate beginning manners. For the older kids who might be using this Pack, I included Be Polite and Kind and Time to Say “Please”!. Be Polite and Kind is very much a “teaching” book. With Time to Say “Please”!, I hoped that including a favorite author’s take on manners would help kids engage with the material.

For the caregivers, I choose Emily Post’s The Gift of Good Manners. It took me some time to find a caregiver book that specifically addressed teaching children manners as opposed to adult manners. I could have easily have selected a book on grown-up manners and etiquette, but that didn’t seem productive in the Pack.

I found the Golly Geepers Manners Game very quickly on Amazon and I was impressed with the quality of the cards and the customization for families. I also liked that this was a game to play DURING a meal together. What a great way to encourage manners and family together time!

The Playskool Picnic Basket Manners Game was another purchase from Amazon. I think this one appeals more to children because of the brightly colored pieces and the picnic basket and tablecloth game board. It encourages polite manners and turn-taking during gameplay.


The Manners Pack has been checked out six times since debuting five months ago. (That’s pretty much on par for the Parenting Packs average circulation. I find that these kits stay out for the full two weeks since there’s so much information and lots of materials in them.)

Book Bundles: Patterns

bookbundlesparentingpacks

For an overview of the Book Bundles and Parenting Packs early literacy kits, please visit the original post. The cost listed is the list price of each item, regardless of whether or not we got it on sale/discount. The activity sheets amount was calculated by cost of binder clip + lamination sheets.

Itemized List

  • Backpack ($7.39) — 4Imprint
  • The Game of Patterns by Herve Tullet ($8.95) — Baker & Taylor
  • Spotty, Stripy, Swirly: What Are Patterns? by Jane Brocket ($26.65) — Baker & Taylor
  • Too Purpley! by Jean Reidy ($7.99) — Baker & Taylor
  • Lakeshore Learning Bead Sequencing Kit ($39.99) — Lakeshore Learning
  • Lakeshore Learning Texture Rubbing Plates ($14.99) — Lakeshore Learning
  • Vinyl Bags (2) ($4.98) — The Container Store
  • Activity Sheets ($2.55) — created in-house

Total: $113.49

I’ll be honest: finding books on patterns was hard! But I’m pretty pleased with all three of the choices offered in this Book Bundle. The Game of Patterns is a really fun interactive book that encourages one-on-one reading and play with a caregiver or older sibling. Spotty, Stripy, Swirly: What Are Patterns? clearly defines patterns for young children. And Too Purpley! is a board book that many children can relate to.

The Bead Sequencing Kit from Lakeshore Learning might be one of my most favorite things that I’ve ever purchased for the Bundles. I love that the kit comes with patterns for kids to replicate and build, but I also love that it allows for creativity as kids can create and match their own patterns.

And Texture Rubbing Plates! We have another Bundle that has rubbing plates in it (Animals) and that item has been a big hit with our patrons. I thought that having a second Bundle available with rubbing plates would be a good idea and the Patterns Bundle made perfect sense once I found the Texture set!


This Bundle has gone out eleven times since it was originally released five months ago!