Inspiring Kids Creativity with Books, Art & Movement

I love combining books, art & movement to inspire creativity in kids! Here are my “five faves” for this:

  • Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg [Hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder. Opportunities for kids yoga or creative movement: alligator, dog, duck, elephant, penguin, pig, car, bunny, fish, worm, frog, gyan mudra looking glasses, flower. Plus lots of opportunity for discussion about the power of creating something beautiful out of what appears to be an “oops”; Ideas for open-ended art exploration: torn paper collage, ink or paint blots, origami, newspaper creations, fingerprint pictures, stamping with paper towel rolls, hole punching, crumpled paper creations. More ideas in this free event kit (5-page PDF).]

beautiful oops guide

  • The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds [Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw – she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. “There!” she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. Opportunities for kids yoga or creative movement: chair, polar bear, jabbing with the marker (woodchopper), Hmmm? breath, writing name (air writing, back writing partner activity, doing poses that start with the letter of each child’s first name), swirls (lazy 8’s from Brain Gym), “paint the room” activity with props, grow bigger (child’s pose – kneeling – mountain – standing star); Plus lots of opportunity for discussion about the power of one person’s encouragement, starting with what we “can” do and growing it into something bigger & “paying it forward”. Lots of fun art & extension activity ideas in this free classroom guide for The Dot & Ish from the publisher (8-page PDF). Need more inspiration? Pinterest is full of ideas for open-ended art exploration for The Dot!]

The Dot easel

the dot frame

  • Ish by Peter H. Reynolds [Follow the little boy inspired by Vashti in the book “The Dot”. Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother turns his carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.” The power of “-ish”. Opportunities for kids yoga or creative movement: lay on tummy, bed, “Ewww” breath (painting by trash cans), chair, flower, tense/relax fists (like crumpling paper), stomping feet (I’m done!), standing forward fold (as Marisol picks up a crumpled drawing), Toe-ga (to pick up small crumped balls of paper), stretch up & side to side as Marisol tapes the drawing in the gallery on her wall, gyan mudra looking glasses, ish-poses (make up “ish” variations on poses: tree, house, boat, fish & sun and the poses that make them “feel” peace-ish, silly-ish & excited-ish …. if time allows keep the creative ish-pose process going. Kids could work in pairs – one creates a pose, the other draws it (and of course signs it like in The Dot) & then trade roles. Their art could be copied so the whole group could have a set of yoga-ish pose cards), poem / journaling, mindfulness activities to experience savoring the moment; plus lots of opportunity for discussion of the power of our words to discourage or encourage others.]

ish ideas

  • Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds [The third book in the Creatrilogy series. Marisol, the little sister from the book “Ish”, loves to paint. So when her teacher asks her to help make a mural for the school library, she can’t wait to begin! But how can Marisol make a sky without blue paint? After gazing out the bus window and watching from her porch as day turns into night, she closes her eyes and starts to dream. Opportunities for kids yoga or creative movement: cat,  fruit picking stretch, flower, fish, palming or mudras (for the handprint painting), whale, bumpy bus ride, mindfully noticing colors in the sky, moon, stars, bed, guided “Colors” relaxation; plus lots of opportunity for discussion about thinking outside the box & mindfully experiencing things. Lots of fun art & extension activity ideas in this free classroom guide from the publisher (6-page PDF)]

sky color

Sky Color - I feel colorful

Update 8/4/13: A great “Paint the Sky” guided relaxation from A Seedling’s Nightstand.

(Looking for more ways to explore feelings through color? Check out the My Many Colored Days post)

  • The Museum by Susan Verde, with art by Peter H. Reynolds (it’s cool that Susan was an elementary school teacher and is now a certified kid’s yoga instructor!) [As a little girl tours and twirls through the halls of an art museum, she finds herself on an exciting adventure. Each piece of art evokes something new inside of her: silliness, curiosity, joy and ultimately inspiration. When faced with an empty white canvas, she is energized to create and express herself. “When I see a work of art, something happens in my heart”. Opportunities for kids yoga or creative movement: mountain w/ Namaste hands at heart, Warrior I, Warrior II, dancer, crescent moon, standing star, standing forward fold (looking through legs at world upside down), chair, sitting down (a variety of seated poses – lotus, half-lotus, easy pose, seated twist, etc…), seated apple picking stretch, flower (incorporate real flowers into the class – inspired by this post from Carolyn at Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids),  make up silly poses, laughter yoga, blank canvas mindfulness activity; Also lots of opportunity for discussion about our lives being a “blank canvas” and being empowered to “paint/create” your own future. Any open-ended art exploration activities would be fun to incorporate (remember it should be about the “process” of exploring & having fun with arts/crafts & not the end “product”. Also put thought into kid’s special needs & sensory sensitivities when selecting activities. There are lots of great ways to adapt art to make it accessible to all!,  Fun printables on the author’s website (curriculum guide coming soon!). For more ideas, see this great post Book to Boogie: Dance Inspired by Art by Kerry Aradhya at Picture Books & Pirouettes]

museum frame

more museum activity printables

UPDATE 9/27/13: Fabulous new activity guide for The Museum:

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Adding art & movement with books taps into the power of multiple intelligences!

For more book suggestions, see the “Childrens Books that Inspire Creativity” post by A Childhood List.

Be watching for an update to this post this fall. A Little Bit of Oomph!, the sequel to Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg, is scheduled to release in September 2013 (I’ve already pre-ordered a copy through Amazon!).

UPDATE 9/27/13: I love “A Little Bit of Oomph!”. See this post for details:

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I’d love to hear your ideas for inspiring creativity! Feel free to leave a comment below or on the OMazing Kids Facebook page :)


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2

Speech-Language Pathologist at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities (

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities

Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2



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16 thoughts on “Inspiring Kids Creativity with Books, Art & Movement

  1. Pingback: Inspiring Kids to Add “A Little Bit of Oomph” | OMazing Kids

  2. Dear Angela,

    Good day there, this is Shambie from Malaysia.

    It is pretty difficult for us to find / buy good English story books here. Do you have any source of digital e-storybooks that at least the children in my class can read the digital version?


    Regards Shambie

  3. Pingback: Sky Color | Children's Books Heal

  4. Wonderful post! I love these books, too, and appreciate that the lessons they teach are paired perfectly with the ethical guidelines and physical movement of yoga. I love to use books in my 4-6 year old classes, and will certainly be drawing from this post for inspiration. Thank you for your time and offerings!

    • Thanks Lindsey! I even use books in classes with older kids…… modifying what I do to fit that developmental level. I am passionate about good books for several reasons: promotes literacy & a passion for reading later in life, books give the kids in the class a visual to pay attention to, books like these inspire creative thinking, etc. I’d love to hear more about the books you use in your classes! Feel free to share here or on my OMazing Kids Facebook page 🙂

  5. Thank you, Angela, for such a wonderful post. I love these books, and I can’t wait to use them ALL in my kids yoga classes. And thank you so much for including my post on flowers with yoga! I’m honored to be included with all this amazing creativity! 🙂

    • Hi Carolyn – Isn’t it great how easy it is to connect & share via social media?! I look forward to reading each of your blog posts 🙂

  6. Many thanks for this wonderful post – you did a great job connecting the dots with all three books – I love Barney and Susan – their books resonate deeply with me. I am calling this the Creativity Decade – more tools to create and share in more hands than ever… global connections area easy making it easier and easier to collaborate… the possibilities are endless -and as long as we make authentic learning, the arts, play, and compassion priorities – we can move this world to a better place… day by day. : )

    • Hi Peter – It made my heart smile to see your comment! To be honest I’m a little “star struck” that a famous author/illustrator would take the time to leave a comment on my blog. I have lots of your books but didn’t make the connection between these three until I sat down to do this blog post. Thanks for writing & illustrating books that have such wonderful deep messages. 🙂

  7. This is FABULOUS!! I am always looking for ways to connect ids yoga, books and art!! Thank you for being such an inspiration and for all of the wonderful ways to move and create!

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