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50 Children’s Books that Promote Fitness

I was a horrible child athlete, the second to worst player on my elementary school softball team. During a 6th grade basketball game, I think I made a basket for the other team, too. Despite my lack of talent with hand-eye coordination, I was an active child. I spent many years participating in track-and-field and dance lessons. Though decades have passed since my childhood, I’m still excited to run races and take dance classes. Knowing that kids today are often immersed in video games and constantly connected to gadgets, I hope to instill my life-long love of fitness to my son. Being a role model is key, so I intend to create family fun and fit opportunities this summer. Also, a wonderful way to reinforce a world filled with personal interaction and teamwork is by surrounding him with stories of exercise, activities and team sports so that he can make his own connections. Below is my list of children’s books with a focus on an active lifestyle. I’ve read most of these and received recommendations for the others from my favorite local librarian.

50 Children's Books that Promote Fitness

50 Children’s Books that Promote Fitness (4-7 years old)

Favorite Characters

1. Elephants Cannot Dance, Watch me Throw the Ball by Mo Willems

2. Curious George Rides a Bike, Curious George Goes Fishing, Curious George at the Baseball Game by H. A. Rey

3. Angelina Ballerina Ice Skates by Katharine Holabird

4. Clifford’s Field Day by Norma Bridwell

5. Dora Plays Sports by Alison Inches

6. Jake and the Never Land Pirates Surfin’ Turf by Melinda LaRose

7. Babar’s Yoga for Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff

8. The Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team by Stan and Jan Berenstain

9. Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen

10. Maisy Learns to Swim by Lucy Cousins

Picture Books

11. Dino-Basketball, Dino-Baseball by Lisa Wheeler

12. Mooses Come Walking by Arlo Guthrie

13. Ladybug Girl Plays by Jacky Davis

14. Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

15. Spot Loves Sports by Eric Hill

16. Froggy Plays Soccer, Froggy Plays T-ball by Jonathan London

17. The Magic Hockey Stick by Peter Maloney

18. Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen by Cari Best

19. Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer

20. Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Duran

21. First Sail: An Adventure Story Designed to Help New Sailors Learn the Ropes by Richard Henderson

22. Stretch by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin

Pictures Books with a Deeper Message

23. Zach Gets Some Exercise by Sarah, Duchess of York

24. Hamster Camp – How Harry Got Fit by Teresa Bateman

25. Winner’s Never Quit by Mia Hamm

26. Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

27. Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey

28. Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Olympic Gold by Deloris Jordan

29. Get Up and Go! by Nancy Carlson

30. You can Do It! by Tony Dungy

Favorite Teams/Favorite Players

31. Yankee Town Featuring Robbie the Rookie by Aimee Aryal

32. Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares

33. ABCs of Baseball by Peter Goelenbock

Early/Emerging Readers

34. Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

35. Magic Treehouse #16 – Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osbourne

36. The Littlest Leaguer by Syd Hoff

37. Fred and Ted Go Camping by Peter Eastman

38. Flat Stanley at Bat by Jeff Brown and Macky Pamintuan

39. Tae Kwon Do! by Terry Pierce and Todd Bonita

40. Lily’s Lucky Leotard (a first graphic novel) by Cari Meister

41. Kick, Pass, and Run by Leonard Kessler

42. I want to be a Gymnast by Kate Simkins

43. To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel & Mark Siegel

Early Reader Non-Fiction

44. Basketball is Fun by Robin Nelson

45. Let’s Talk Baseball by Janice Behrens & Let’s Talk Basketball by Amanda Miller

46. Fishing by Julie K. Lundgren

47. Keeping Fit by Emily K. Green

48. National Geographic Readers: Race Day! by Gail Tuchman

49. Cheerleading by Holly Karapetkova

50. Cool Skateboarding Facts by Sandy Donovan and Gail Saunders-Smith, PhD

 

Please help grow this list and add your favorite stories about sports, fitness or energetic activities in the comment section below.

Photo images courtesy of Ambro/freedigital photos.net.

14 Comments

  1. Nicole Pond

    Love the post- I remember always being the last kid picked in PE for a team :) I’ll stick to art.
    I know in my school kids are getting geared up for Field Day (or Color Day) depending on the school.
    Great fun outdoor activity to recreate with the kids this summer- your own Family Field Day! Remember how fun it was back in the day

  2. Caryn Sullivan

    I loved school Field Days. I remember celebrating after the Presidential Physical Fitness awards. I don’t think the PPF testing exists anymore, rather a new initiative – Move it. I’m curious how it makes fitness fun for those who are not athletic or don’t like sports. :) Maybe they have a trampoline art class?

  3. Fancy Nancy and the mean girl is another great addition to this list. For all us non-athletic people, it focuses on trying our hardest and that you don’t have to win to have fun. It also teaches good sportsmanship.

  4. Caryn Sullivan

    I love it. I know that my 5-yo thinks he should win at everything he does/plays, so this lesson is very very relevant and necessary. Thanks.

  5. Ha! It’s like subliminal messaging!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…I Want Labels… Do You?

  6. This is awesome! Pinned! I am still a horrible athlete. I run, but it’s not pretty. Team sports? Eeek! But we have to keep moving!
    Jen recently posted…What Your Child’s Teacher Wants You To Know

    • That’s great that you have started running. My knees start to act up when I run, but I try every now and then. I have a friend who walks marathons. I actually would love to do the Disney Princess half. There is something about glitter and tutus that make me happy…and I would love to run through the Magic Kingdom in them.

  7. This book teaches children yoga basics in a fun, interactive format by explaining how yoga was introduced to Celesteville, and how Babar and Queen Celeste keep fit doing yoga on their many travels.

    • I love it. I used to enjoy when my parents read Babar books to me. Now, as a parent, I seek out books so that characters can be positive active living role-models for kids. This is great.

  8. What a great list! I love that there are so many with different characters and different focuses. There really is a book that every child can connect with!
    Elizabeth (Rock-A-Bye Parents) recently posted…Letters To My Son – September 2015

    • Thanks. We had so much fun creating this list, too. I should write a new one for an older age bracket. We’re starting to get into chapter books now, too.

  9. Whoa, this is a really well-compiled list of books that encourage kids to get and stay active! It’s really important for little ones to understand how valuable fitness and exercise is to their health, and these books are all great for spiking their interest! Great list! Thanks so much for posting!

    • Thank you for the kind words. I agree, it’s really important at a young age to inspire kids to be healthy. Books, puppet shows and kiddie videos are a great way to encourage them to be fit, active and enjoy sports later in life.

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