Tag Archives: movement

Bring Books to Life by Connecting to Activities

Bring books to life for your child! Read a book, then experience what you read by connecting the story to the real world. By extending the book to include the sights, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes of real life, the written word and flat pictures in a book become a multidimensional and memorable experience.

You could read a book about food, such as “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi Barrett or “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin and then eat some spaghetti or make your own tacos. Read the book while you sample the food and the story will become an event that your child won’t forget.

You could read “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Willems and then take a real bus ride; or read “Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type” by Doreen Cronin and then type and send a real letter or email to someone your child knows. (Grandma will love getting a personal note from her grandchild.)

A great way to teach your child about music is to read books about music and instruments and then listen to the real thing. There are many free and low cost concerts in your community and at schools that your child may enjoy. Make sure to point out the instruments that you have read about and listen to how each sounds. Stay at a live performance only as long as your child is interested, so that this introduction to music is a pleasant experience for everyone.

Some children’s books about music that will make you tap your toes:

  • “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin” by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, introduces ten instruments in an orchestra, in rhyming text with illustrations that curve with the rhythm of the music. 
  • “The Bat Boy and his Violin” by Gavin Curtis, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, is an endearing story about a young African American boy who would rather play violin than be the bat boy for his father’s baseball team. The boy’s expert music making ends up helping the team overcome a losing streak, and helps win over his dad’s heart. Striking watercolor illustrations are based on extensive research of the time period.
  • “Moose Music” by Sue Porter. When Moose finds a violin and bow in a mud puddle in the woods, he finds out that the rusty strings produce an ear-splitting screech that no animal in the woods can tolerate… except for a lady moose who has a raspy, howling voice. Children will laugh at this pair.
  • “This Jazz Man” by Karen Ehrhardt, illustrated by R.G. Roth. The bouncy text of this book is based on the childhood tune, “This Old Man” and the illustrations are lively collage. The book begins with: “This Jazz Man, he plays one. He plays rhythm with his thumb. With a snap, snap, snazzy-snap, give the man a hand, this jazz man scats with the band.” The book ends with brief histories of nine jazz musicians from the thirties and forties.

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Filed under imagination, movement, music, rhythm

Yoga for Children Is More Than Just Movement

My-Daddy-is-a-PretzelStretch and bend, cross over and reach! With spring  on the way it’s time to get limbered up for outdoor activities. Children can have fun while forming their bodies into the shapes of animals, letters, and geometric shapes with kid-friendly yoga.

Along with getting the blood flowing, yoga also helps clear the mind and is a way to work out feelings. If your child is happy, sad, mad, or sleepy, ask him how he can show that in the way he holds his body. Working out feelings through movement is a great life skill to carry into adulthood!

Here are some movement books that show children yoga positions you can do at home. Most books also tell a little about how yoga can help children with concentration and patience.

“The Happiest Tree, a Yoga Story” by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Ruth Jeyaveeran. Meena was worried about how she would perform in the school play. She felt like she was clumsy and would trip and stumble on stage. But, when Meena started taking a yoga class especially for children, she learned how to quite her mind and feel in control of her body. What she really learned was how to have peace of mind no matter what happened.

“Alef-Bet Yoga for Kids” by Ruth Goldeen, photos by Bill Goldeen. Photos of children superimposed onto Hebrew letters show how each letter can be made by bending this way or that. Learn the Hebrew alphabet in a very experiential way, while stretching, bending, and lengthening the body.

“Babar’s Yoga for Elephants,” based on the characters by Laurent de Brunhoff. This is a silly book for mid-elementary aged children. According to this story, elephants invented yoga! Here are 15 positions that you can do as a family or that children can do on their own. After giving instruction on the poses, the book shows all the places that an elephant (or human) could practice yoga during a regular day such as a department store, the subway, a park, or in Times Square, and at any number of world tourist destinations.

“My Daddy is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids” by Baron Baptiste, illustrated by Sophie Fatus. Written by a world-famous yoga instructor, this is an introduction to yoga positions that will resonate with children. The name of each position in English is related to a real-life object so children can pretend and imagine as they contort their bodies into different shapes. Diagrammed step-by-step instructions show how to form “Tree,” “Dog,” “Triangle,” and 6 other poses.

“Can You Move Like an Elephant?” by Judy Hindley, illustrated by Manya Stojic. Although this isn’t specifically a yoga book, it is a wonderful introduction to yoga-like positions for young children. The book suggests movements that are similar to different animals, like slithering like a snake or scratching like a monkey. Slide slow like a snail, spring in one bound like a tiger. Do the motions with your child and both of you will benefit.

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On the Move with Books

Stretch! Bend! Jump! Dance! It’s time to shake off the weary winter weather and move with a spring in your step! Read one of these children’s books about movement and exercise and be ready to act out the motions with your young listener.

“Twist with a Burger, Jitter with a Bug” by Linda Lowery, illustrated by Pat Dypold. This rhyming, rhythmic, bouncy book is illustrated in collage with bold shapes and colors. The catchy text gives the message that we can move, dance, and find rhythm in life all the time. This book may introduce some new vocabulary to your child in these dance names: mambo, jig, polka, jitter, jive, rumba, and waltz.

“Who Bop?” by Jonathan London, illustrated by Henry Cole. A colorful book with a jazzy beat shows animals with music and moves. Cool Cat plays the sax and bunnies do the sock hop. The text is a tongue-twisting rhyme. “Get down, play that thing! If it’s got that swing it means EVERYthing. Jazz-Bo knows it. Says, ‘Hope I don’t blow it!’ He squeezes them blues right out of his shoes.”

“How Can You Dance?” by Rick Walton, illustrated by Ana Lopez-Escriva. Get ready to move like the animals do when you read this book. “How can you dance as you swim in a pool? Dance like a frog feeling fine, keeping cool. How can you dance when you’re mad as a bee? Dance around, around, around–wildy.”

“Dancing in My Bones” by Sylvia Andrews, pictures by Ellen Mueller. Dancing, bouncing, clapping, toe-tapping, and singing; the catchy stanzas rhyme and repeat. Illustrations are happy watercolors with big-headed, smiling children, rainbows, and flowers.

“Tumble Bumble” by Felicia Bond. A zig-zagging and growing parade of animals have mishaps and fun as they tumble, bumble along. The book ends with a quieting down as everyone heads off to bed.

“Get Up and Go!” by Nancy Carlson. The author/illustrator uses Lou Ann Pig, Henry and their animal friends to show why exercise is important and all the ways to do it. You can be involved with sports, play at the park, hike, garden, or dance in your living room. Moving is good for a healthy body.

“Clap Your Hands” by Lorinda Bryan Cauley. “Clap your hands, stomp your feet. Shake your arms, then take a seat.” Children and animals, big and small, all join in doing the motions. Each page has a rhyming set of directions that you can act out with your child.

“Who Hops?” by Katie Davis. This book will tickle the funny bone of your 3 or 4 year old. Illustrations are in big bold colors showing which animals hop, fly, slither, swim, and crawl. Every few pages there is a silly question, such as, “Do elephants jump?”

“Baby Dance” by Ann Taylor, pictures by Marjorie van Heerden. This is a short board book showing all the fun things a father does to soothe his crying baby: “Dance little baby, move to and fro. Coo and crow baby, there you go.”

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Filed under children's books, movement, music