My First Book of Gymnastics
Written and illustrated by Rida Ouerghi
Published by Quarto Publishing Group
Publication date: 4th September 2018
Summary (from Goodreads):
My First Book of Gymnastics gets young readers moving with 10 playful exercises, accompanied by step-by-step instructions and illustrated characters kids will love.
It’s never too soon to teach the benefits of health and physical fitness. This fun follow-up to Walter Foster Jr.’s My First Book of Pilates encourages children and parents alike to get up and move!
Featuring 10 poses and exercises for young children with a series of simple and playful movements, My First Book of Gymnastics shows kids how fun and easy gymnastics can be. Whether learning how to leap like a frog, crawl on your knees and elbows like a turtle, or slither like a crocodile, kids will delight in learning and practicing each movement.
By learning gymnastics, children will gain physical benefits of improved coordination, strength, and flexibility; not to mention key awareness of their body and a love and discipline for exercise and fitness.
First impressions: As soon as I saw this I knew that I had to read it! I love gymnastics and have been involved with the sport, either as a participant, judge or coach for most of my life. I am a big advocate for children getting involved with gymnastics as early as possible because it builds such a great foundation for fitness, flexibility and stamina, all of which can feed into improving performance in other sports or everyday life. This book looks like a fun introduction to gymnastic movements which could be used to get young children interested in the sport, or simply moving and building awareness of their bodies.
This book opens with a list of tips for trying out the activities in the book – do them in order, wear loose clothing and have fun! It then presents ten different movements for children and parents to try together, each given a fun context with cute animal illustrations. I really like this, because it mirrors what gymnastics coaches would often do in a preschool session. Lots of poses/movements are named after animals e.g. chicken walk, happy cat (in yoga, cow pose), and this is a really fun way to get children engaged and thinking about the different things their bodies can do.
One of the children’s favourite games to play in our gym is based around this: The children must move like a certain animal, find something of a specific colour, touch a certain part of their body to it, and then find their way back to the coach who will have moved while they’re searching. E.g. Move like a giraffe, find something green and touch it with your elbow. This game is not only great fun, but is fantastic for getting the children comfortable on and around gym equipment, learning parts of the body and experimenting with moving in a variety of ways.
All of the activities and poses in this book can be done by anyone, anywhere, with or without gymnastics training and without the need for any equipment. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a toddler or as a gift for new parents. I, for one, will be getting a few copies in to recommend to our gym parents!
A fantastic way to get kids moving!
What I liked: It’s about gymnastics – yay!, Cute illustrations make these engaging and accessible for all, shows children from a variety or backgrounds, all adoring what they’re doing. A beautiful gift for new parents!
Even better if: I would like more books like this! I remember my mum getting me the DK book of The Gymnast and picking up a copy of Olga Korbut’s biography and a paperback story about gymnastics called The Fortunate Few. Other than that, there weren’t many options for a gymnastics-mad-bookworm!
How you could use it in your classroom: This would be a lovely addition to any early years practice or primary school, as well as a great book for any gymnastics club. The exercises are so simple that they could easily be done in a classroom – I am planning to get a copy to use in the classroom and in the gym! This book would also make a fantastic gift for new parents.
(Thank you to Netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for my e-ARC)
Thanks for reading!