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Toddlers Need Movement From Head to Toe

by Tania Cowling | May 2nd, 2016 | Entertainment, Infants/Toddlers
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toddler walkMovement is so important for health. We, as a nation, want to encourage children of all ages to get physically active and move to avoid obesity and for general physical fitness. One of the initiatives developed by The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition is called “I Can Do It, You Can Do It!” and endorsed by First Lady Michele Obama. This reminds me of a classic book by Eric Carle called. “From Head to Toe.” As you read this book the children can enjoy a simple story with a big message. It is full of colorful collage pictures with each page featuring a new animal that does a special movement. Then the child on the next page copies the movement with a part of their body and shouts “I Can Do It.” As you read each page, invite the children to copy each movement and have some fun. This story encourages movement along with other learning skills. We all know that young children can learn through books and favorite animals characters.

How Children Can Learn From this Book

This story uses repetition – the words repeat over and over again. Encourage your child to “read” along with you as he learns the pattern. This book also teaches about basic body parts from head to toe. When toddlers move a body part like the animal does, they learn the name for that body part and also different animals.

The children characters in the book copy the animals and say, “I Can Do It.” This is a good story for building a child’s self esteem. Books like this also builds confidence in beginning readers because many words and phrases are repeated so even preschool children can help you “read” the book. Children learn to listen and follow directions as they listen to your words and follow the animal’s directions in order to know what body part to move and how to move it. Animals are cool, especially when they do what kids can do!

Enhance the Book With Activities

Read the story aloud, stopping after each animal says a body part and a movement. Ask the children, “What else can you do with your head? Your neck? Your shoulders? Your arms? ” Continue through all the body parts mentioned in the book. Take all the body movements mentioned in the story and create a fun dance to do together. Play some music and move to the beat!

Invite your toddler to play “follow the leader.” Take turns playing this game where the child points to a body part and says its name. Invite her to show a movement to the family or playgroup and talk about it just like the animals in the book. “I am (name of the child) and I can (movement) with my (body part).” Have the other children copy the movement.

Remember to do lots of moving during May’s month of fitness and continue this practice indefinitely.

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