Blogger Kary Henry

Movement and Mindfulness Storytimes

I incorporate movement into every storytime, but I especially love offering storytimes that specifically address movement coupled with mindfulness. Think of it as “wiggle wiggle wiggle” followed by “take a deep breath.” Preschoolers love these storytimes and so do early elementary school students.

Books to Encourage Movement

There are books that are intentional about encouraging movement. There are books that aren’t so specific but still lend themselves to moving our bodies in tandem with the story. Here are some of both types:

Cover image of The Rainbow Hat by Hong Hai
I encourage the students to mimic the animal motions in this book.
Cover image of Together We Ride by Valerie Bolling
With sparse, rhyming text, I ask students to act out this book’s movement and emotions.
Cover image of I Love Me!
Locating body parts and dancing a jig are all possible movement activities for this fun rhyming book.
Cover image of We All Play = Kimêtawânaw
This book’s wonderful vocabulary encourages thoughtful movement: what does it look like to “peek?” What sound would you make for “peep?” How is that different from a “chirp?”

Mindfulness Picture Books

There are many great picture books that lend themselves to practicing mindfulness during storytime. Whether it’s helping children breathe deeply or encouraging them to notice and be in the present, these books offer a nice counterpoint to the energetic movement books.

cover image of Can You See It by Susan Verde
I pair this book with asking the students to really see/notice things around them. We also stare at a color changing candle to focus our minds.
cover image of Breathe by Scott Magoon
Take a deep breath every time the author describes the whale doing so!
cover image for Happy Right Now by Julie Berry
Being happy in the moment, while acknowledging difficulties or future hopes, is an important practice.
cover image of I Am a Peaceful Goldfish by Shoshana Chaim
Another book that encourages breathing techniques as a calming practice.

I just offered this outreach storytime today with 1st graders, and they really enjoyed moving their bodies AND resting their minds. Do you offer movement and mindfulness storytimes? What books do you use to encourage those practices?

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, III. Programming Skills, and V. Outreach and Advocacy.


  1. Tess Prendergast

    Thanks for a fabulous post and wonderful, diverse suggestions for storytime, Kary. Posts like these are very helpful for students learning about how to do storytime too. A few of these books are new to me too so will be added to my too-be-read pile now!

  2. Kary Henry

    Thanks so much, Tess! I’m glad there were some new titles for you to explore!

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