12 Picture Books to Inspire Movement

It's that time of year when the kids are inside more and they might not be moving around all that much. Or maybe they are moving around too much and you'd like to rein it in with a little focus. Here's a list of librarian-loved picture books that encourage little ones to wiggle and shake along with the story.
  1. A Hop Is Up by Kristy Dempsey
    A young boy and his dog go for a walk in the neighborhood — hopping, skipping, and jumping along the way. Great for learning opposites and providing vocabulary for different types of movement. Also read "Hop, Hop, Jump!" by Lauren Thompson.
  2. Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
    Join an assortment of farm animals in a rollicking square dance. "Stomp your feet! Clap your hands! Everybody ready for a barnyard dance!"
  3. Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Schwartz Idle
    While reading this wordless, lift-the-flaps picture book, children can try to emulate the movements of Flora and the flamingo. Similar titles by this author include "Flora and the Penguin" and "Flora and the Peacocks."
  4. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
    On each page, little ones are introduced to an animal and encouraged to mimic a type of movement when the book asks, "Can you do it?"
  5. Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charise Mericle Harper
    Preschoolers can practice following directions with this stop-and-go title. Pair with a game of "Red Light, Green Light" to continue the fun.
  6. How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle
    In this story, we follow a group of children as they dance/walk through the city. Dance like a flamingo, a mariachi with maracas, a clock, and more — kids can even make up their own ways to wokka-wokka. Other rhythm inspired titles include "I Got the Rhythm" by Connie Schofield-Morrison and "Jazz Baby" by Lisa Wheeler.
  7. I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont
    A child covers his world with color by painting the walls, then the ceiling, then HIMSELF! Little ones can use scarves or dry paint brushes to pretend paint with the story.
  8. Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas
    Join three silly cows as they jump, dance, and wiggle on chicken's sofa. For more fun, try "Can You Make a Scary Face?" by the same author.
  9. Little Yoga by Rebecca Whitford
    Introduces basic yoga poses as little ones act like the animal named for each pose. See also "Good Morning Yoga" by Mariam Gates.
  10. Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
    In this story of few words, try pairing each word with an action. When the word is read, you perform that action; if a series of words are read, you perform a series of actions. For instance, "orange" equals two claps and "apple" equals two stomps. When reading "orange apple," you will clap twice and stomp twice.
  11. The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na
    Send children on a scavenger hunt to look for items that can be described by each opposite or ask for their physical interpretation of each word.
  12. Wiggle by Doreen Cronin
    Rhyming text describes the many ways to wiggle, and little ones can't help but to move about and wiggle along. Similar titles include "Bounce" and "Stretch" by the same author.