Photo by Yan Krukau

Mona’s Mitten: A Story To Move To by Orliczky presents a new way for children to interact with storybooks by giving them active prompts on the body’s motion.

Stories make an excellent basis for establishing physical activities for young readers while also creating a link between them and the stories, as mentioned earlier. Physicality, movement, and tactile sensing of the world are essential for the holistic development of young children. Their incorporation into activities for literacy and numeracy dramatically enhances a child’s comprehension and attachment to learning.

Children should be introduced to reading, writing, and arithmetic as early as possible, but they should also have agility, balance, and coordination activities.

The Importance of Physical Development for Young Children

Physical activity is crucial for children to grow up with good bodily health and good mental well-being. Too much focus on the cognitive aspect of development creates an unhealthy imbalance that will lead to a poor and vulnerable body. This is why striking a balance between physical and mental activities is vitally important. Therefore, incorporating physical conditioning with mental activities will yield the best results for the growing child.

How to Add Movement in Activities for the Mind

There are plenty of ways guardians and educators can include physicality in cognitive activities. In counting, actual objects may be used to visualize and concretize numbers; models of letters can be taken advantage of to remember the alphabet, etc., better. For reading, where stories are already stimulating the creativity and imagination of young children, learning how to add action, a physical dimension, can significantly contribute to the reader’s immersion in the plot and characters while still stimulating creativity and imagination.

Children can engage mentally and physically with the books they read through motion-oriented books like Mona’s Mitten: A Story to Move to by Orliczky. But for other stories that are not calibrated as such, fret not! Here are ways for guardians and educators to convert any storybook and embrace physicality:

  • Use an appropriate story that is both enjoyable and actionable. Fortunately, most storybooks geared toward young readers involve much motion in their choice of words and plotlines. But it always helps to check things out before committing to a story. Choose stories that have plenty of movement from the main characters. At this juncture, consider whether you should use costumes and other props, which is an excellent avenue for children to push their imaginations to the limit while including their motor skills.
  • Formulate simple movements and develop simplified routines. With a theme in mind and a story, it is essential to map out the associated activities. A thorough reading of the story is suitable for picking out key scenes, especially those involving the most movement and relatability to the young readers. Always remember that specific actions should be tied to particular characters to help foster a better impression and understanding from the reader and develop their creative thinking. How to utilize props is also considered at this stage.
  • Emphasize adhering to the sequence. Although enjoyment is crucial to the success of the activity, it is also vital that young readers also know when to follow what has been practiced. The encouragement of the correct movement should be prioritized over chaotic, haphazard motion. It is good to model the proper behavior before arriving at the point of conducting the action to ensure as few mistakes as possible.
  • Enforce good behavior through praise. Good effort should always be acknowledged and good action rewarded. This recognition system creates positive feedback so the readers can enjoy a feeling of success, pushing them to similar behavior in future activities.