Kidbook Friends welcomes Rachel Rothe, blogger at http://www.justwritemommy.com and creator of Porridge on Facebook. Enjoy her great suggestions and check out her blog, Facebook page and other social media!
5 Books to Inspire Kids to Play and Be Active
By Rachel Rothe of Porridge
“Playtime is precious. Play builds brain pathways for thinking, creativity, flexibility, empathy and many other lifelong skills.” – Heather Shumaker, mom, journalist, author, speaker, and advocate for play.
The more a child moves, the more a child knows. Nowhere do we find that more true than in their free play. Play builds strong minds, imaginations and strong bodies. So when kids pause to sit still with books, why not include a few to inspire them to move in fun and creative ways when they’re ready to get back up and go again?
Here are 5 books that ignite a spark in my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter for activities like tending to her garden, swimming in the ocean, and breaking out into downward dog and tree pose at least 50 times in the course of a day. Children really do mimic not only what they see us parents do but they follow suit of many of their favorite storybook characters:
“My Garden” by Kevin Henkes will grow the imagination of any child who gets to conjure up images of what a garden of their own would be like. A little girl helps out in her mother’s garden until she dares to imagine what tending a garden of her own would be like – flowers would change color at her whim, and if you picked one, another would grow back right in its place.
Here you’ll find chocolate bunnies instead of real bunnies to chase away, and seashells grow in the dirt right alongside jellybean bushes. The morning glories stay open all night and shine like stars, and strawberries glow like lanterns. At the end of the day, she plants a seashell in the dirt. What’s she up to?
“Just working in the garden.”
“You Are a Lion (And Other Fun Yoga Poses)” by Taeeun Yoo is a lovely instructional that teaches kids a sunrise yoga ritual in the garden. Namaste to the morning. On the ensuing pages, we see kids in various yoga poses, given simple steps to configure their body and mimic an animal:
Sit on your heels, hands on your knees, Tongue out!
You are a … LION
King of the jungle
Roaring so loud
Next we see children getting into the same positions as a butterfly fluttering its wings, a cat, dog, snake, frog (squat on your feet, hands on the group, hop up! Ribbit your song).
Little yogis will get a kick out of copying these animals while simultaneously learning basic yoga poses. Yoga teaches fun, focus and flexibility in children, not to mention an invaluable way to quiet the mind. After touching the sky in mountain pose, this little book of sweet yoga Zen ends in the most relaxing pose of all, savasana.
- Movement Just for Fun of It
“Wiggle” by Doreen Cronin follows a dog that wiggles out of bed and then also with his breakfast, getting pancakes on his head (it’s a very funny scene). This energetic dog directs the reader to move just for fun and gives directions on each page as if it were a game of Simon Says. From “First wiggle where your tail would be” to posing the question, “Would you wiggle on the moon?”
With an enthusiastic and zany character to inspire the joy of movement, what kid wouldn’t want to join this pooch for a wiggle? And then feel confident to just move for movement’s sake when they’re feeling silly themselves.
“Over in the Meadow at the Big Ballet” by Lisa Shulman is so melodic that I find myself singing it with my daughter. With rhyming couplets it feels more like a song than a simple storybook. It’s about a little swan who is getting ready for her big dance performance where she has a starring role.
There are times when the little dancer second-guesses her abilities and wants to give up. However, it’s her dance teacher, a sage kitty cat named Miss. Faye who is always there to encourage her along to the big day. Miss. Faye teaches her the importance of practice and rehearsal. Also it highlights the pride of accomplishment when the swan is able to conquer her fear of performing onstage. This a great book not only about the merits of sticking with an activity but also in overcoming obstacles as we watch the swan do just that.
Just keep dancing!
- Swimming and Playing at the Beach
“Ladybug Girl at the Beach” by David Soman and Jacky Davis is one of my daughter’s all-time favorite books. It has even influenced how she plays at the beach.
The illustrations are water-color dreamy and it’s a very calming book to dive into. Lulu a.k.a. Ladybug Girl goes to the beach for the first time with her family and sidekick, her dog Bingo. Together they play and explore all the wonderful things to do at the beach except Lulu doesn’t want to get into the water.
It’s not until the very end of the day when high tide comes in while her back is turned (and she loses her bucket in the tide) that Lulu becomes the emboldened Ladybug Girl and moves through the water effortlessly to retrieve the purple pail.
Another book about overcoming fears, “Ladybug Girl at the Beach” will inspire any child who visits the beach. From finding sticks, drawing in the sand, building sandcastles, flying kites and just diving in the water this book is rich in beauty and creative expression in the great outdoors. You don’t even have to live near a beach to get a lot out of it for it teaches us that anywhere in Mother Nature is the greatest playground of all.
Wishing your children fun ways to stay active and fit, and to always find books that inspire them to be healthy, energetic and joyful as they move through life.
Rachel Rothe is a wife, mom, writer and creator of Porridge at www.justwritemommy.com. While Rachel was active her whole life swimming, rowing, running, kayaking and practicing yoga, when her daughter turned one-year-old, she started to exercise less, indulge more and gain more. After turning 40 this year, Rachel became active again and stepped it up a notch. She and her husband began T25 workouts and got great results. Wanting to help others achieve their fitness goals, Rachel is now an independent Beachbody® coach and runs monthly fitness challenge groups. One of the greatest things to come out of this fitness journey was not only more energy, strength and optimism but her young daughter’s desire to get in on the workouts too and learn about fitness at age 2.
A few of Rachel’s favorite things include children’s vintage books, yoga, iced coffee, collecting sea glass and finding the rare lavender sea glass piece, Wes Anderson films, and finding cozy corners in everyday life. Rachel lives with her family in a seaside town north of Boston. You can follow Porridge on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. Or feel free to contact Rachel directly on Facebook if you’re interested in having Rachel as your personal coach and getting fit in one of her challenge groups.
*Follow Kidsbook Friends today on Facebook and via e-mail by subscribing to http://www.kidsbookfriends.com to get kids’ book reviews with correlating, creative questions, activities, and crafts!