Children’s Books for Movement Exploration
I love children’s literature and any time I go to the mall, a big box store, or really anywhere that sells anything I always gravitate towards the children’s book section. One specific thing that I usually look for are books for movement exploration. If you really look and sift through you can usually find some real gems that you can use in the classroom as a springboard for any movement exploration activity.
You can easily incorporate children’s literature into the elementary music classroom and I especially love using children’s books for movement exploration. There are so many wonderful books with descriptive language, beautiful imagery, and other elements that lead so easily to movement. In this blog post I’ll share just a few of my favorite books for movement exploration and some of the ways that I use them in my own classroom.
Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland is one of the first books that I go to when teaching my youngest students. I learned about this book from my friend Jennifer Donovan in my Orff levels and I immediately purchased it. There’s really no storyline to the book but instead there are amazing pictures with descriptive words like “Dinosaur roar, Dinosaur squeak. Dinosaur fierce, Dinosaur Meek.” Dinosaur Roar gives you a super fun way to inspire kids to move in creative ways because it provides pictures along with very descriptive language. There are lots of fun contrasting words like fast/slow, fierce/meek, sweet/grumpy that would be perfect for Kindergarten or 1st grade lessons. I generally read through this with kids and then let them spread out and act out the words when we read through it a second time. Find Dinosaur Roar on Amazon HERE.
How Do You Wokka-Wokka?
How Do you Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle and illustrated by Randy Cecil is a great way to encourage creative movement and moving in different pathways. This book makes its appearance every year in my classroom and is one of my favorite books for movement exploration. Wokka-wokka is a fun way to inspire kids to move in creative ways because the kids in this story move in such unique ways. One of my favorite lines is, “Nobody wokkas in the same wokka way. It’s a wokka-wokka party each and every wokka day!” I love the super vivid language and beautiful illustrations that encourage new ideas and remind kids that everyone is unique! Find How Do you Wokka-Wokka? on Amazon HERE.
Sing and Dance In Your Polka Dot Pants
Sing and Dance In your Polka Dot Pants by Eric Litwin illustrated by Scott Magoon is another fantastic book by the genius behind the original Pete the Cat books and the Groovy Joe series. So many of the books that Eric writes are great books for movement exploration and this gem is no exception! In this adorable book, little Hazel Nut wants to dance but nobody seems to have time for her. Dad was too busy reading, Mom was overwhelmed with work, and her brother (Wally Nut) was no help at all. In the end it’s Grandma Nut who comes to the rescue, dances with Hazel, and inspires the rest of the family to join in the fun. There are so many avenues for movement and silliness with this song. What I really love is that there’s a free mp3 recording and YouTube video of the song Hazel sings that goes along with this song/book. There’s also a FREE recording of the author, Eric Litwin, reading the book aloud. It’s great to throw in your sub tub or use on those days when you’ve lost your voice and need a break. Find Sing and Dance In Your Polka Dot Pants on Amazon HERE.
Stretch by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin is one in a series of really creative books by the author behind Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. This book would be great for warm-ups, exploratory movement, and other activities that get kids moving and exploring. The description for the book says, “There’s nothing like a good stretch before you jump or wiggle or bounce or run… especially if you’re stretching your imagination at the same time.” The text in the book really does get kids to think in new ways and imagine themselves in different places and situations that would require them to stretch up, down, and side-to-side. There are two companion books (Wiggle and Bounce) that I haven’t checked out yet, but they’re on my list and they think all three would be great books for movement exploration! Find Stretch on Amazon HERE.
Boogie Monster by Josie Bissett illustrated by Kevan J. Atteberry that is super encouraging for kids as they start to move and dance in creative ways. The Boogie Monster says things like, “I’ve traveled the universe nearby and far, and I’ve heard just how perfectly special you are. Did you know that nobody else dances the same? So please take a bow and tell me your name” Throughout the book the Boogie Monster asks kiddos to dance as if they had ants in their pants or like a helicopter in the sky or like a bear hungry for honey. The descriptive language encourages kids to think about other people in other places and then figure out how to dance the way that that other person might dance. It’s a great way to get kids to transfer knowledge and skills from one situation to another. Find Boogie Monster on Amazon HERE.
Zar And the Broken Spaceship
ZAR and the Broken Spaceship by Dinosaur O’Dell and illustrated by Santiago Germano is a story about a hilarious space alien who needs a little help to get his spaceship off the ground. Zar has had an accident with his spaceship and ended up crashing! Kids have to push lots of different buttons on his control board to get the flying saucer off the ground and are asked to push the buttons with their nose, knee, elbow, foot, and more. I wrote a whole blog post where I talk about lots of extra resources for this story like a downloadable mp3 of the song and free YouTube video. Find Zar and the Broken Spaceship on Dino’s Website HERE.
More Books for Movement Exploration!
If you follow my social media accounts then you already know about my love for books because I’ve been sharing about the books I use on my Facebook page and also my Instagram account. Books based on songs are wonderful to illustrate descriptive vocabulary and situations from the song. Other books can provide such great inspiration for classroom lessons and lead to a dance, game, or whatever you choose. With so many different kinds of books from an array of authors you can really find a book to fit any lesson, concept, or idea that you might present to kids!
If you’d like to learn more about the books that I use in my own classroom just check out my instagram account. I’ve tried to include a bit about how I use books in my room, share a few pictures, and include links on where to get the books. If nothing else, you can see some pictures of each book and start to imagine how you might include the resource in your own classroom! You can also see a huge list of the books I use in my classroom when you check out my Amazon Wishlist.