Get “Creatively Fit” with Animal Motions!

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By Melissa Pilgrim

Being active at an early age helps to develop healthy lifestyle skills for staying active later in life, which is important to having an overall healthy life. Being creative at an early age helps to develop imagination and the ability to dream of what one can do or become later in life, which is important to having an overall fulfilling life. As a former drama teacher I have always been concerned with helping children learn how to do both of these things, and many parents, teachers, and child caregivers have asked me for ideas on what they can do at home or in a classroom setting to help teach them too, especially for their youngest children.

I have taught children between the ages of 3 to 17 how to use their imaginations while they acted on stage for 7 years in several different states.While doing this I always saw how much my youngest student actors loved to move like animals, so I created Animal Motions, a children’s interactive picture book and app that I hope will help inspire kids everywhere to learn how to be “creatively fit” while having fun acting it out (with their whole family or their classmates!).

Animal Motions is a fun, easy to follow, low-impact movement routine told as a story.  It follows 5-year-old Eric as he stretches and moves his body at the start of his day by using his imagination to become 17 of his favorite animals.  The reader travels with him to the jungle, the desert, the forest, the ocean—and gets to mimic moving like a variety of animals along the way! The beautiful, full page watercolor illustrations that help guide the child’s imagination are done by the very talented Ira V. Gates.

Animal Motions does 2 things at once:

•    Shows children how to move and stretch their body in a variety of animal-like poses to help them develop healthy lifestyle habits, stay active, and be more confident with how their body moves overall.

•    Teaches children how they can be creative and use their imagination as they pretend to be 17 different kinds of animals living in various habitats (thus teaching them about these 17 animals too!).

It was written to show kids everywhere how using your imagination can help make moving your body even more fun!

The book and app can be done at home, school, libraries, or any safe place that allows room for a child to stand and move about while doing the short, simple, fun routine.

I have created 6 Free Lesson Plans for teachers and parents (for both preschool and kindergarten) in the categories of Health & Fitness, Drama, and Biology & Geography that are available on the book’s website There is also a Free Mini-Poster there to print out and color so kids can do a simple art project along with acting out the book to further encourage their creativity.

The colorful Animal Motions book is published by Indigo River Publishing. The fun app is published by The app has engaging animations, audio hotspots, and word-by-word highlighting. There are “Read To Me,” “Read Myself,” and “Autoplay” options as well.

Please visit for more information about the book and app, including where to purchase each.  And please let me know how Animal Motions is helping your little one (or whole classroom) stay “creatively fit!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melissa's Caricature, final (1)

Melissa Pilgrim is a freelance writer and the author of Animal Motions, an interactive children’s picture book and app.  She’s had 16 plays for children and teens produced, 4 screenplays optioned, and 1 TV series optioned.  She was the artistic director of The Sheil Park Theatre in Chicago for 5 years where she produced 22 shows for children, teens, and adults.  To learn more, visit her websites and Author’s Bonus! Download this PDF and print out for your children to color! AM Coloring Page, pdf


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