Monday, February 2, 2009

Three Good Children's Fitness Books

We read a lot at our house. Olivia, Suess, Fancy Nancy and Skippy John Jones are always at the top of the heap. Fortunately these books are enjoyable for both parents and children. Is there anything worse than having to read a book you despise? And then getting called out when you try to skip over a page or two?

A few of our other favorites are fitness books. As I go about preaching fitness as a family value, they're the books that drive home the message right before drifting off to dream land, where yoga poses and fun runs dance through their heads. 

The Busy Body Book, by Lizzy Rockwell. There aren't many books out there that show kids getting fit or kids engaged in fitness. Very little exists beyond your standard hare and tortoise story. The Busy Body Book, however, covers kids fitness without ever mentioning the word "exercise." The book explains why it's important to move your body, and then what happens inside your body when you're busy and why good nutrition, hydration and rest are important, too. My kids love the anatomy lesson and all the pictures in the back that depict kids engaged in various physical activity. 

My Daddy is a Pretzel, by Baron Baptiste. If your children have ever watched you practicing yoga at home, or better, if they've tried to join you in various poses, then I highly recommend this book. It's a cute story with the explanation and illustrations for nine different kid-friendly yoga poses. My girls now know the names for each pose and how to do them, without the assistance of the book. Besides, doing a little yoga before bedtime is never a bad idea, and if you haven't managed to squeeze in your workout yet, then join them and let that count!

See Mom Run, by Kara Douglass Thom. Oh, right... that's me! What are blogs for if not for a little shameless self-promotion? The truth is, I wrote this book before becoming a mom. But you know what? I wouldn't change the story one bit. Penny's a little girl who "helps" her mom train for a marathon. Her mom becomes that role model I believe is so important for young kids to have if they're going to grow up being fit, too. And, by books end, Penny is running in a fun run with her mommy. My twins were three before I included this book in their personal library and I didn't bother explaining that mommy wrote the book (even if they did understand, would they care?) and I'm delighted to say that I don't ever have to pick the story out for them--they choose it on their own (thank goodness or my dreams of making it as a writer would be crushed).

Those are our favorite children's fitness books? You have any to share, too?


Rae Pica said...

Great recommendations, Kara -- and definitely a great way to get the physical activity message across in an age-appropriate way! Children are born with a love of movement; it's adults who squash it out of them with unrealistic expectations. Books like these can help keep the love alive!

If you don't mind, I'm going to share your recommendations (with a link to your blog, of course) with the readers of my blog, The Pica Perspective (

Thanks for being such a great role model for your kids!

Charlotte said...

How did I not know you'd written a children's book?? It sounds adorable and I love that your girls love it!

workout mommy said...

so cool that your kids are reading your book! (and only 2 left in stock, hurry everyone!)

My kids won't sit still long enough for a book these days. (sigh)

I'll keep these recommendations just in case.

MizFit said...


and it is self promo day at mizfit as well.

link in the comments and Ill approve so it shows up!

Miz, who is in the process of creating a GIGGLE & GROW rhyming kids bod/fitness book...

Kara said...

Well don't I love all the attention I'm getting. Thanks ladies!!

Every Gym's Nightmare said...

you wrote a book? awesome- i didnt know that. im off to the book store soon- im gunna take a peek.

Kelly Turner

Rachel said...

How COOL is that?! Awesome. I will check it out.
One of my favorites is Wilma Unlimited.

Darcy Franklin said...

Thanks for the book ideas! You know I already have two of your books! I should get you to sign them!

kate hopper said...

And I have to say that I love *See Mom Run*! Order it now!!

Sue said...

I never really considered structured fitness for my kids (who are quite young still) maybe I should.

Rae Pica said...

Sue, your instincts were right in the first place: Young children don't need a structured fitness program! In fact, they shouldn't have one.

It's not possible to post here all the reasons I cited in an entire chapter of my book, A Running Start. But let me just say that the little ones aren't physically, cognitively, or emotionally ready for that kind of structure. And, where "fitness" is concerned, we definitely have to think of it in different terms when we're talking about young children. "Aerobics" for children, for example, should look nothing like they do for adults!

The best thing you can do to ensure your children's fitness is to let them engage in active play -- as often as possible!