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Reach Your Family's Active Goals This New Year! 5 Children's Books That Encourage Movement

January 8, 2021

Do your New Year’s resolutions include reading more or getting active? Get the best of both worlds with children’s books that encourage movement!

Many children’s books encourage physical activity like dancing, walking, stretching and more. Physical activity has many benefits to a child’s overall physical and mental health and can:

  • increase a child’s ability to focus
  • improve quality of sleep
  • help them regulate their emotions
  • strengthen their muscles
  • refine coordination and dexterity

Check out these 5 children’s books to get reading and moving!

1. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

Can you wiggle like a crocodile or stretch like a cat? From Head to Toe by Eric Carle explores a variety of movements while encouraging children to try them too!

This story highlights very specific movements your child may not see or try often, helping them to discover more ways to explore their body and abilities. This may lead them to discovering a new skill, increasing flexibility, and strengthening different muscles.

The more children explore their abilities, the more likely they will find a form of physical activity they enjoy – leading to healthier exercise habits they can carry into adulthood.

Read along to From Head to Toe by Eric Carle here:

Expand on this story by creating new movements of your own! Add an extra challenge by trying to isolate your body parts – such as wiggling your pinky finger, tapping your toes or lifting your knee while keeping the rest of your body very still.

A preschool aged child balances on one foot to practice gross motor skills

2. Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig

Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig is a great book to read and move to. Try stomping really big and slow like an elephant or tiptoeing quiet and fast like a lady bug!

Dancing at different speeds can help your child get their heart racing, which benefits their overall physical and mental health.

Read along to Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig here:

Find more ways to improve your child’s physical literacy through song and dance!

3. The Button Book by Sally Nicholls

The Button Book by Sally Nicholls is filled buttons that make us wonder… what will the next button do?! Move along with the animals as they discover new buttons.

Read along to The Botton Book by Sally Nicholls here:

Try creating some “buttons” of your own! For instance: when you press a doorknob everyone bobs their heads, or when your push your nose your arms start to wiggle. What buttons can you create?

4. Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Erin Litwin

Take a walk with Pete the Cat as his shoes change all sorts of colours! This story is sure to get you moving as you walk along with Pete and dance along to his song.

Read along to Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Erin Litwin here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj_z6zGQVyM

Add even more movement by creating a scavenger hunt to this story! Try finding objects and toys in your home that match the colours Pete’s shoes change to. Can you find something blue, red, brown or white in your home? Take a walk around your home (or even outside!) to find some objects that match the colours of Pete’s shoes!

5. I Went Walking by Sue Williams

It’s amazing what you might see on a walk. I Went Walking by Sue Williams reminds us to explore our environments. Go on a walk around your neighbourhood and talk about all the things you see!

Read along to I Went Walking by Sue Williams here:

Extend your walk by holding onto some of the treasures your child finds on to add to their play. Check out 5 Ways to Add Nature to Your Child’s Play for some ideas!

Two children play with nature – one child uses a pinecone to paint and another child uses rocks to build

What are some of your favourite children’s books that encourage movement?

Let us know in the BridgeWay Families Facebook group!

For more ways to get active, try these play ideas that get your child moving.

Find more book ideas with our article on How to Choose Books for Your Child’s Home Library or check out these Children’s Book Lists Celebrating Diversity.

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