Let’s Get Moving! Books that Encourage Kids to Exercise

It’s January which means lot of people are making new resolutions about exercising more. Encouraging kids to enjoy moving their bodies and being active is something that is great to do all year long. These books are fun ways to read about exercise and most of them have the added benefit of inviting movement as you read along. 

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle is an interactive book where preschoolers are encouraged to imitate various ways that animals move. Featuring Carle’s trademark vibrant collages, one page shows an animal telling what he can do (the giraffe can bend its neck, the donkey can kick its legs) and asking “Can you do it?” The next page shows a kid doing the same movment and saying “I can do it.” I can remember reading this with my own kids and there was never a time when they didn’t also bend their necks or kick their legs. 

A similar book that will appeal to preschoolers and young elementary school aged kids is Stomp by Uncle Ian Aurora. The text prompts to follow along and try different dance type of movements ( stomping their feet, wiggling their toes, swaying). It’s a fun romp of a read. 

Yoga Bunny is a little bunny in a charming book by Brian Russo. Bunny just wants his friends to slow down and join him in yoga but they all have a reason they can’t. The accompanying drawings of Bunny in yogas will have kids imitating Bunny and trying it for themselves. 

The little girl in A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu learned how to do yoga at school. But she doesn’t know how to do tai chi and when her Grandpa teaches her, she shows him how to do yoga. This is a sweet book about a grandfather-grandchild bond and also about learning new things at all ages. And it has end pages with illustrations of Tai Chi and Yoga moves for kids to try for themselves. 

Stretch by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin starts a smiling dog who shows all the ways he can stretch. The book goes beyond just showing poses to imagine him catching a wave or reaching the top of a tree or even stretching his bubble gum and imagination. And then you can follow it up by reading about the same silly dog in Wiggle. 

Jump! By Scott M. Fischer is a funny book with the kind of repetitive stories young kids like. It isn’t specifically designed to encourage movement but does so by it’s silly story. A bug has to escape from a frog, then the frog has to escape from a cat, who has to escape from a dog, etc. The answer to how they get away each time is to JUMP which will is a great lead in to a movement activity (kids can jump like a bug, or a frog, or a cat, or a dog). 

One of my all time favorite children’s authors is Steve Jenkin’s. In the book Move!, he collaborates with his wife and frequent co-author Robin Page to look at all the different ways animals move. Accompanied by his beautiful paper collages, each animal is shown moving in two ways. Kids will love looking at the animals but then can see if they can copy their favorites. 

A wonderful classic picture book is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen that shows a family journeying along to the lyrics of the very familiar preschool song. As you read together you can do the hand motions to the song or act out the various motions (swishing through grass, stomping through mud, tiptoeing through a cave).