Starting School: Best toys and books to help children ‘get ready’ for starting primary school

Starting school can be very exciting but it is also a big step for many children that can cause worry and anxiety. There is also the concern, that after the difficult year we’ve had, losses children have experienced and the restrictions placed on children’s day-to-day lives, that starting school may be a little bit more challenging for some children. Therefore, I wanted to collate all the brilliant resources, books and toys that are out there into one post to help parents and teachers support these children as best we can. Please note as well, that reception teachers are perhaps some of the most wonderful people and are well equip to help support children with this transition and will be taking into account a range of things including children’s individual experiences of the pandemic.

If you’re looking for things to work on with your child ready for starting school, have a read of this post we wrote ‘How to Prepare Your Child For Starting Primary School‘ where we asked reception teachers their top tips.

Here are our current favourite books, toys and resources for helping children prepare for starting primary school:


Books are a wonderful way of introducing new situations, gently, to a child. And there’s a whole array of books out there that talk about starting school. Here are our favourites:

  • Suzie Goes to School– Love Charlotte Olson’s books and this one about starting school is fantastic for supporting children for their big first day! It helps children to understand what to expect when they go to school for the first time.

  • I’m Going To School- Transition Workbook – From the author of ‘My Awesome Autism’ this transition workbook is a must buy for children with need a little bit of extra help with the upcoming changes. Absolutely brilliant.
  • Starting School Sticker Book Sticker books are popular with a lot of children, this one is fantastic as children can learn about the ins and outs of a school day- from putting their uniform on to taking part in an art lesson. We’ve found that the sticker books by Usborne are always made to a really high standard too. 
  • The Everywhere Bear by Julia Donaldson – Whilst not officially about starting school, this wonderful book by Julia Donaldson is well worth a read. It’s all about the school teddy bear and it full of Julia Donaldson’s brilliant rhymes.
  • 100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play – My book is fantastic for helping children prepare for school (as well as for children already at primary school). It’s packed full of fun, play based activities that children can enjoy whilst learning really important skills (such as numeracy, literacy, gross motor etc.) But the best thing is, they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even know they are learning! There’s activities for In the Garden, On a Walk, Sitting Still, Imaginative Play, Sensory Play etc.
  • The Starting School Book (Audio book version here) This is a wonderful book for parents/carer’s to read before their children start school. It’s available on Kindle or as an audio book (great for listening to on the go!)


  • Pretend and Play School Set Your children will love playing pretend schools with this. It’s packed full of tonnes of resources including a clock, map, stickers, whiteboard, homework sheets and even a school bell. Fantastic for providing opportunities to talk about school through play.
  • Peppa Pig Toy Classroom – Peppa Pig is very popular for pre-school aged children and this gorgeous little toy set is great for letting children play schools imaginatively.
  • Fuzzikins Fuzzi School Playset Dolls Multi – We are big fans of Fuzzikins, they are adorable and wonderful for developing creativity. This school set also provides opportunities to chat about school whilst playing.
  • Barbie Teacher Playset – This gorgeous set is another great toy for helping children to play schools and encourage imaginative play. It comes with everything you need for a school…including the cutest class pet!

Learning Resources

Whilst there’s no expectation from school that your child needs to be starting to learn to read or write when they begin school, there are some lovely resources out there to help support children with early numeracy, literacy and phase 1 phonics.

New to phonics? If you’re new to phonics (don’t panic, I’ve written a blog post that explains all about phonics and what they are introduced to in phase 1 and how you can support them here.) I’ve also made a Phase 1 Activity Pack that you can download here and there’s a blog post on Best Phonics Resources here.

  • A Pocketful of books We absolutely adore A Pocketful of Books! They are little bundles of books and tailored resources that are personalised to your child’s level. They encourage comprehension, creativity, scientific thinking and language skills. You can buy their bundles as a gift or subscribe to receive a regular bundle. We received the one below and were blown away (excuse the pun!) with the vast range of resources included, there’s even a booklet based on the book that has activities and crafts that you can complete with your child (and all the craft equipment you need included!!)
  • Number Blocks Mathlinks Cubes Not only is CBeebies Number Blocks a really popular programme for young children, but it is incredibly educational and I regularly recommend their episodes for learning everything from counting to times tables (see the latest series!). This Mathlinks Cubes set by Learning Resources UK is fantastic for engaging children in maths.
  • Tactile Letters & Numbers – Learning to form the letters of the alphabet and numbers correctly can be really tricky, these tactile letters are absolutely fantastic for supporting this. Not only are they engaging, colourful and fun to play with, but they have arrows on them that you can follow with your finger to learn how to draw them correctly.

4 replies »

  1. Sounds rather pathetic but hadn’t thought there might be some resources out there to help my daughter with the transition from home to school life. Was recommended to your site by a friend. A huge ‘thank you’ to both of you! Your site is amazing!!


    • Not pathetic at all, really hope the resources are helpful and best of luck for you all for your daughter’s transition to school.


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