morning invitation inspired by picture books

Morning Invitations probably saved my life as a mama. I said this on Instagram a couple of years ago and immediately started fielding questions about what was a morning invitation? Did I really do this every day? Wasn’t it a lot of extra work?

I wrote a post about the life changing powers of these simple morning invitations and the basics on how to get started. If you haven’t read it yet, pop over to Bambini Travel (my other site) and read that or pin it for future reference.

The lesser known history is that these started as Snack Invitations to ease into our afternoons because one of my dear children did not wake up from naps as a pleasant person. I started using a similar concept in our mornings about a year later when our kids could be a little more independent and Morning Invitations was born.

I say this to tell you that these ideas do not have to be Morning Invitations, they can work for any time of day when you could use some open ended independent play to transition or calm down or wake up.

In fact, many of these you will recognize as part of Story Times.

Often in the mornings, my kids play with the invitations pictured below. They explore the materials and look through the book(s) independently. Then once we have our breakfast food, we sit down together to do an activity and read the book together. What starts as an independent activity moves into a quiet time together.

I can’t imagine a better way to start our days.

Want to try? Here are 20 simple morning invitations that were inspired by some of our favorite children’s books.

If you give these a try or come up with your own, I’d love to see them. Pop them in an email to or share them to #30morninginvitations on Instagram and I’ll share my favorites!

20 Book Inspired Morning Invitations

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1. Not My Hat Chalk Drawings

This is a simple morning invitation that explores the illustration style of the book.

Book: This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Materials: Black Construction Paper, Colored Chalk

2. Penguin Black, White, and Blue Paintings

Another morning invitation that explores the colors of the illustrations.

Read details in our Waddling Penguins Story Time post.

3. Silver Snowflakes

Tip – fold your foil beforehand so your child can do this activity independently and open the snowflakes veeerrry slowly to avoid tearing.

Book: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Materials: Tin Foil, Child Scissors

Grow a Seed Storytime

4. What Will Grow?

This is a collage activity that encourages some imagination.

Read details in our Growing Seeds Story Time post.


5. Building Castles for Cinderella

Think outside the box and match some toys to books for a different kind of morning invitation.

Book: Variety of Cinderella tales – or just one favorite.

Materials: Cinderella figurine, Blocks (any, but we LOVE these Fairy Tale Blocks)

6. What is Growing in Your Garden?

This is a creative collage activity perfect for Spring!

Book: Collection of Garden or Flower Books

Materials: White Paper, Do-a-Dot Markers, Glue Sticks, Green Tissue Paper

7. Alphabet Art

A fun excuse to play with letters. What goofy words can you create?

Book: On Beyond Zebra by Dr Seuss

Materials: Construction Paper, Foam Letters, Glue Sticks

Valentines Day Window Collage Art Activity

8. Colorful Heart Suncatchers

We made these and hung them in our window for Valentine’s Day.

Book: In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

Materials: Contact Paper (sticky side up on the table), Tape (to hold contact paper in place), Red Construction paper, Varied Tissue Paper, Scissors (for adult use)

9. Counting Cookies

Read details in our If You Bake a Cookie Story Time post.

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Truck Story Time for Toddlers and Preschoolers Digger Color Sort with Loose Parts

10. Construction Site Math

My kids love construction trucks so this was a fun way to add a little math to their morning play. Read details in our Construction Site Story Time post.

Birds Story Time and Loose Parts Nest Invitation

11. Loose Part Nests

Tinkering and collage are two of our favorite morning invitation activities. They almost always turn out differently in real life than what I imagined in my head, but usually in wonderful ways. Read more about this one in our Tweet Tweet Bird Story Time post.

12. Very Busy Spider Counting Sensory Bin

I do not make sensory bins for mornings nearly as often as I probably should, but they are always a huge hit whenever I do. This one (bonus!!) was NOT a huge mess. Check out details in the Very Busy Spider Story Time.

13. Making Stone Soup

You have to make stone soup when you read Stone Soup right? This didn’t involve any actual cooking, but it was tons of fun. Read details in our Stone Soup Story Time post.

numbers counting preschool flight airplanes

14. Loose Parts Counting

This open ended exploration with loose parts encouraged all kinds of math skills including patterning, counting, and sorting. Read details in our Learning Numbers with Airplanes post.

15. Red, Black, and White Art

Here is another way we studied illustrations in a book more closely. This one was about exploring the colors used and the playful use of cutting shapes. See details in this Apple Picking Preschool Read + Make post.

Moana Morning Invitation

16. Moana Weekend Invitation

On Saturday mornings my kids usually find a more involved morning invitation because we don’t have to rush off anywhere (and mom and dad want to wake up a little more slowly, shhh). This one was inspired by their obsession with Moana and the amazingly creative Katherine Marie (follow her on Instagram. It’s endlessly inspiring). Details and more Moana inspired ideas are in this Moana Preschool Unit.
St Patricks Day Creative Invitation

17. Leprechaun Rainbow Invitation

We did this morning invitation for St. Patrick’s Day and the Rainbow theme on the KidLitArt Instagram page.

Book: Too Many Leprechauns by Stephen Krensky

Materials: White Paper and Do-a-Dot Markers
Valentines Day Creative Invitation

18. Make Valentine’s Invitation

Valentine’s Day week we read these short sweet books and then made Valentines to send to friends.

Books: Valentine Mice by Bethany Roberts and Panda Kisses by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Materials: White Paper, scissors (for adult use) and a Variety of Pink and Red art materials. (We used washi tape, markers, crayons, and do-a-dot markers but whatever you have on hand works).
Football Creative Invitation

19. Football Weekend Invitation

My beloved Packers were in the playoffs and so we had some fun one weekend with this larger football / Packers themed morning invitation. You could easily recreate this for any sport or team.

Book: Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems 

Materials: Large piece of paper, construction paper, markers, popsicle sticks, tape, scissors, letter stamps, markers, dry erase letters and markers.

20. Create a Creature

Read more about this simple morning invitation in this post along with even more creative invitation ideas for your morning.

20 morning invitations inspired by childrens picture books

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