My Messy Mom Life

My Messy Mom Life: 4.29.20

I spent some time seeking out the best non-tech activities and books for kids of all ages. Most of them are under $20, and they all encourage learning. Even better, quite a few are from local shops! All websites for shopping are listed here, and I also linked them on my blog at With all of us at home more than we’re used to, they are a great attempt to get your kids in front of something other than a screen.

birth to 1

St. Louis City Block is one of the cutest toys I have ever seen for babies. It’s a collaboration between Honeycomb, a sustainable shop and play space on Tower Grove Avenue, and Globe Totters. Each block, handmade of certified organic cotton and non-toxic inks, takes tots to a different city around the globe.
$28 at

I love the Playable Art Cube/Ball/Angle for little learners because it’s a puzzle, toy and art activity all in one. My infant loves the colors, but your toddler also will enjoy it. You can manipulate it a million different ways for creative play and try to configure it into the shapes listed on the box.
Cube: $24, Ball: $35, Angle: $40 at

age 2 to 4

I love this coloring book that effortlessly integrates patterns and counting lessons for the tiniest of learners.
$5.99 on Amazon

I take my toddler activity books seriously! I want to find things that won’t make a mess and will provide independence even at a young age. I always look for super simple books that come with dry erase markers. $12.99 on Amazon

age 4 to 6

This book boasts 135 pages of drawing activities, creative thinking and problem-solving for preschoolers, and it’s inexpensive! It’s suggested for ages 5 to 6, but my 4-year-old loves it. I’m always on the hunt for special activities that will keep his attention. 
$15 at

This is Charlie and I’s favorite thing to do together. The set comes with magnets and a board all packed together. It’s a completely mess-free toy, and it kept my ‘lil man busy for hours. I love watching his brain work hard to find the right shape.
$34.95 on Amazon

age 6 to 8

This awesome activity book allows your little learner to journal what a day in their life is like while also learning about other cultures. It’s the perfect way to broaden their horizon of the world from home.
$13 at and

This set from City Sprouts in Clayton teaches your kids about building an electric circuit using clay. It’s at the top of my list for my daughter who just turned 7.
$22 at

The entire My Encyclopedia of … series is a must-order for little learners in grades K-2. The books are full of learning opportunities. If you check any of them out on Amazon, they have a 5-star rating. These would be a great supplement to your homeschooling efforts to spark curiosity.
$18.99 on Amazon

age 8+

I cannot get enough of this book I found on Crate and Barrel’s website. A new title from Nina Chakrabarti, it’s a child’s nature scrapbook. I believe your younger kids will love it, too, and it could be a fun family activity. It encourages kids to get outside and learn about nature through their exploration.
$18.99 at

I stumbled on these books on, but you can also find them at Target. There is an entire series of Stem Starters that includes engineering, geology, technology, math, science, meteorology, physics and art. I ordered them for my first-grader. The age ranges are only a guideline.
$6.99 at and

Katelyn Young is a local mom of three (her #crumblycrew) who shares real moments of motherhood as it relates to fashion, food and fun! Follow her on Instagram @_katelynyoung_ or follow her blog at