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A Collection of Great Bedtime Stories for Kids

This collection of bedtime stories for kids is a mixture of some of my favourite classics, some popular newer ones, as well as some brand-new (printable) short stories, written especially for this site!

Reading to your children is one of the biggest gifts you can give them. Apart from storytime being such a special bonding time, there are numerous educational benefits of bedtime stories, such as developing vocabulary, auditory memory, sound awareness, concentration span and more.

I have also included some awesome new poems about popular fairy tales which your kids will love, as well as a collection of rhymes about books and reading, to inspire young kids to read.

Here they are:

Four animal story scenes. Text reads "12 best bedtime stories for kids."

Best Bedtime Stories

This is a list of my top 40 favourites for kids of all ages.

It includes classics such as The Three Little Pigs; stories with morals such as The Tortoise and the Hare; and modern-day favourites such as The Gruffalo.

A picture of three little pigs in the woods

In the article, I have linked all the stories to read-aloud versions on YouTube so your kids can look at the pictures while listening to the stories.

Here are the 40 best bedtime stories of all time.

Bedtime Stories for Toddlers

When reading to babies, while it’s nice to use little baby board books with pictures and words, you can pretty much read everything on your bookshelf, from a children’s story to a textbook on chemistry – and you should, as often as possible! 

At such a young age, the point is more to develop their sound awareness and to lay the foundations for their language learning. Children develop receptive language long before they are able to express themselves.

Babies become toddlers though, and they start to want to engage with the content and follow the story. This is when they will enjoy listening to stories written especially for toddlers, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar or If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

A cute little orange caterpillar

These usually contain lots of repetition, rhyming words, simple phrases and humour.

Here are 12 of the best bedtime stories for toddlers, with links to read-alouds.

8 Printable Short, Funny Bedtime Stories

These eight short stories were written by two talented authors and they are delightful for young children. 

You can read the stories online, or download the printable version at the end of the article.

The first four are written by Becky Ross Michael and teach values and morals. They are:

1. Puppy Dreams

Two young siblings get a puppy as a pet and they try to find a new name for it. He is not yet potty trained and has a “boo-boo” on the floor, which ends up becoming his name.

2. Friends in the Forest

A red fox struggles to make friends with the animals in the forest. Eventually, he forms an unlikely friendship with a gray fox, who likes him in spite of the fact that gray foxes don’t usually get on with red foxes.

Four pictures including: a grandma with a little girl watching fireworks, a squirrel by the pond, a fox and friend, and two kids with a puppy

3. Sulky and Stubby

Sulky the chipmunk has dark stripes on his face and his harsh appearance makes others perceive him as unfriendly. He meets another chipmunk who has a stubby tail and understands how it feels to be judged.

4. Family Fireworks

Two sisters visit their grandmother with their mom to watch the fireworks from her apartment. The older sister finds herself in some trouble when she gets curious and goes through Grandma’s personal belongings in the bathroom.

Read these four short bedtime stories.

The next four are funny stories all about animals, written by Christina Wither:

5. Wake Up Mum

Two little bears are trying to wake up their mother after a long winter. They try all kinds of things – tickling her with spiders, inviting a noisy cuckoo to the cave, and putting some honey near her nose.

6. The Mighty Meeting

A lion and an elephant are both on their way to the water hole when they meet along the path. Neither wants to move out of the way to let the other pass and a battle of wills ensues until a monkey finds a solution for them.

Four pictures including: a sleeping mother bear with little bears nearby, a bunny and a cat, a sleeping cat with mice under a hat, and an elephant upset at a lion

7. Five Rats and a Funny Top Hat

Five rats are trying to walk past a big sleeping cat without waking him up. They use a top hat to cover themselves as they attempt to escape.

8. The Spotty Grey Kitten

Grady, a little grey kitten, gets lost on his farm and tries to find his family. Eventually, a spotty dog carries the little kitten back to the farmhouse to reunite him with his mum and sisters.

Read these short, funny stories about animals.

Short Stories With Morals

These short stories with morals will teach your kids about sharing, taking care of the environment and appreciating home.

They are inspired by Icelandic folktales and include trolls, elves and magical flowers.

Rhyming Fairy Tale Stories

Your kids will absolutely love these fun poems by Becky Ross Michael.

She has retold the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk, Pinocchio, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Red Riding Hood with rhyme and humour!

Pinocchio with a long nose.

Here’s an excerpt from Goldi:

So close, she peeked in through the glass,
She snooped and sniffed, this nosy lass.

No one at home, she tried the door,
The bowls were filled, the glasses poured.

One bowl too hot, the other too cold,
For this small girl with hair of gold.

Here are the fairy tale poems.

Rhymes About Books

And finally, while these rhymes about books are not stories themselves, they are fun to read to kids to share with them the magic of reading and how it can open up their whole world.

Here’s a verse from Jack Prelutsky’s poem I Met a Dragon Face to Face:

I met a dragon face to face
the year when I was ten,
I took a trip to outer space,
I braved a pirate’s den,
I wrestled with a wicked troll,
and fought a great white shark,
I trailed a rabbit down a hole,
I hunted for a snark.

And here are a couple of verses from Julia Donaldson’s I Opened a Book:

I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.

Read these awesome rhymes about books.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of bedtime stories for kids of all ages. Remember to download the short stories by signing up for the Free Exclusive Content below – you’ll get instant access!

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Sue

Friday 30th of July 2021

I have read so many good articles about the benefits of reading. This one is perhaps one of my favorites. It is so beautifully broken down into snippets which are easy for me to explain to parents... especially those who I am fully aware do not do enough reading to their children. For the parents who do actually read to their children, they will receive the endorsement, encouragement and praise of dedicating just 10 minutes a day.

Tanja Mcilroy

Sunday 1st of August 2021

Thanks for your kind words, Sue!

Aleena

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

Thanks a lot for sharing these benefits. Most of us ignore the bedtime stories or want to get over them as soon as we can but these stories can actually help in shaping up our kid's personality. And parents need to understand this.

Sue

Friday 30th of July 2021

@Tanja Mcilroy, You know how Covid has flipped the entire world upside down... Wouldn't it be soooo beautiful if the bedtime story could be 'in bed' at waking up time for 5-10 minutes. I have certainly slowed down my mornings. Some parents had no need to get kids and lunch pans ready and rush out of the house to beat traffic. I am sure they could find time for a morning story in bed and stop pressing the snooze button!

Tanja Mcilroy

Friday 1st of January 2021

Absolutely! Unfortunately, the bedtime story comes at the time of day when we are the most tired, but if we just remember to take a moment to enjoy it, we will never regret spending this bit of time every day with our kids. Happy new year!

Maribeth Coonfare

Friday 14th of August 2020

Thank you so much for a really well written article on the importance of reading to children. I am a retired early childhood teacher and children's librarian in public libraries. I am also a great grandmother who always reads to my great grands whenever I can. I still do weekly story times with preschoolers at my community all volunteer library. So, now I do for free what I used to get paid to do. It's been hard during this time of Corona virus not to be able to see my "kids." Hoping we can one day do it again!

Tanja Mcilroy

Monday 17th of August 2020

Thanks for your comment Maribeth and keep on inspiring those kids. They are lucky to have you!

Ina Kapp

Sunday 9th of August 2020

Many thanks for a valuable informative article on the importance of reading to young children. Grandma/Carer/Retired Librarian

Tanja Mcilroy

Tuesday 11th of August 2020

You're welcome Ina!

yusuf lwera

Monday 18th of May 2020

thank you so much for sharing

Tanja Mcilroy

Monday 18th of May 2020

You're welcome Yusuf!

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