7 Physical Activity Books for Toddlers

Encourage Healthy Habits Early on With One of These Books

According to KidsHealth.org, toddlers need up to and hour and a half of physical activity every day. Granted, kids this age are pretty mobile and naturally active, but it's important to maintain physical activity and promote healthy habits. These books will introduce your toddler new vocabulary, concepts and the importance of movement and physical activity.

"Maisy's Nature Walk" by Lucy Cousins

Maisy's Nature Walk book
Maisy's Nature Walk. Image courtesy Candlewick Press

This is a colorful board book based on Maisy, a popular children's character on PBS. It has tabs your toddler can pull to reveal the different sights they might see outdoors. It's a good way to introduce some of the things you and your child can be on the lookout for before you take a nature walk, or even just a walk around the block.

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"From Head to Toe" by Eric Carle

From Head to Toe
From Head to Toe. Image courtesy Scholastic

This book is illustrated with colorful characters in the style that author Eric Carle is known for. It encourages the reader to act out different movements with the animals. It's likely that you'll tire of reading this one long before your toddler does. There are several versions of this book available, including a Big Book that your toddler can lay on the floor. The Board Book is durable and sturdy, and your toddler doesn't necessarily need your supervision to enjoy it.

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"Walk On!" by Marla Frazee

Walk On!
Walk On!. Image courtesy Amazon

This book is a totally hilarious take on learning how to walk. It's a little long for the 1-year-old who will mostly enjoy looking at the pictures, but 2-year-olds who are learning to walk will identify with this book and understand the humor, and so will you. You'll probably find both you and your child laughing out loud at this poor baby's experience with becoming mobile.

I think this book is perfect to read to the child who might be afraid of trying new things, like swimming, riding a tricycle or catching a ball, since you can say, "But look how hard it was learning to walk. Remember? And you did it!" It's never too early to inoculate your child against giving up when things seem a little scary or difficult.

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"Dance with Me" by Charles R. Smith Jr.

Dance with Me
Dance with Me. Image courtesy Amazon

In this book two children dance their way through the city and eventually everyone is dancing. Toddlers will love this book for its fun illustrations of children dancing, the rhymes and because, of course, they know just how it feels to want the whole world to dance with them.

If your child likes this book and it gets them wanting to groove, pick up other books by Charles R. Smith Jr. like "Let's Play Basketball!" and "Let's Play Baseball!" All three of these books are Super Sturdy Picture Books that will last from the time your child is a toddler to when they're ready to read on their own.

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"Toddler Play" by Wendy S. Masi

Toddler Play
Toddler Play. Image courtesy Amazon

This book is by Gymboree, a children's clothing company known for promoting physical activity. This is not a book to read to your toddler, but one for parents that includes 100 different movement activities to do with your child. That doesn't mean your toddler won't like it;  it's full of bright pictures of parents and toddlers demonstrating the activities. Use it as a tool to plan new things to do with your child. It's perfect for squeezing in quick bursts of activity throughout the day.

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"Hop, Skip & Jump" by Nicola Tuxworth

Hop, Skip and Jump
Hop, Skip and Jump. Image courtesy Amazon

This book is full of pictures of toddlers engaged in physical activity. It's a nice choice for younger toddlers who are just starting to pair movement with their actions. Older toddlers will enjoy the book, too, and you can extend the concepts by asking your toddler to imitate the children on the pages or by demonstrating the actions yourself as you read with your child.

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"Soccer" by Salina Yoon

My First Fuzzy Sports Books: Soccer. Image courtesy Amazon

This board book has a big, fuzzy soccer ball on the front and has clear images that illustrate and introduce words related to the sport. Soccer leagues in my area begin accepting children as young as 2 years old, so if you're thinking about starting your toddler in the sport (or any sport, for that matter), reading this book or a similar sports book can help familiarize your child with all the trappings that lay ahead. A similar book by author Salina Yoon is titled "Football." Many of Yoon's books use some sort of tactile stimulation to expand or strengthen your child's vocabulary.

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