The Busy Body Book teaches Protect the Body
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The Busy Body Book teaches Protect the Body

Categories Protect Your Body 
Book Title: The Busy Body Book: A Kid’s Guide to Fitness

Author: Lizzy Rockwell

Illustrator: Lizzy Rockwell

Jewish Value: Protect Your Body

Book Summary:

The Busy Body Book motivates students to get busy in order to be healthy and inspires them to make physical activity a lifelong habit. Through the pages of this child-friendly book, students will learn how all the organs and systems of our bodies work together so that we can jump, run, twist, twirl, and bounce!

Enduring Understandings:

  • The systems of the body work together to make our body move and our brain think. 
  • It is important to keep the body busy and feed it right so that it can stay healthy.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Integral to the Jewish understanding of the human body is that all of humanity was created b’tzelem Elohim—in the image of G-d. As such, each person is liable to protect and care for his or her body as if it were the very body of G-d. This value is called sh’mirat ha-guf.

Rabbi Yitzhak Buxbaum, in his book Jewish Spiritual Practices, reminds us that we should intend to walk or exercise for the sake of being healthy and for the sake of the service of G-d.

Our tradition speaks about how one aspect of sh’mirat ha-guf, exercising, allows us to be at our best. Exercising, like many aspects of caring for one’s body, allows us to center ourselves and be in the right mindset for performing mitzvot effectively and with intent. When our minds are at ease and we feel good about ourselves, we can play our part in making the world a better place.

Keeping our bodies healthy is an integral part of our worship of G-d. Each morning when we pray, we recite a prayer called the Asher Yatzar to thank G-d for our bodily functions. This prayer expresses a clear sense of awe at the functioning of the human body. We learn that our minds, bodies, and souls must all be nurtured if we want them to work at their best, and must be maintained in balance if we want each to thrive. In this world, we can never be purely spiritual beings. To ignore our bodies is to ignore a great gift, and reject the One who presented it to us.

Questions for Reflection

  • Do I understand my body as sacred? 
  • In what ways do we worship G-d with our physical bodies? 
  • What can you do to model this value personally and within the classroom?

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Create a “Busy Body Wheel.” Have each child offer an activity—stretching, strengthening, or breathing exercise—to include on the wheel. Incorporate the wheel into your daily class routine. Spin the wheel to decide which activity your class will do at various times during the day to keep students’ bodies busy and healthy. Find instructions to create a classroom activity wheel here:

During any activity outside, create an environment in which drinking water regularly is a part of the class culture. Explain to the students that playing together makes things more fun and teaches us what it means to be team players. Reminding one another to stay hydrated means we can help each other stay healthy while we learn and play.

Materials and resourcesmore


  • Copy of The Busy Body Book


Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

Show students the video of “My Body,” inspired by the blessing Asher Yatzar, asking them to touch each body part on their own body mentioned in the song. Explore with students all the amazing things that their body can do.

Put on music and give students the opportunity to dance! Encourage students to move to the beat and get excited about dancing and moving. Once the song is over, gather them for group time. Ask the following questions:

  • Was the activity fun? 
  • How did you feel as you moved around the room? 
  • What kinds of things do you like to do to keep your bodies busy? 
Show students the cover of The Busy Body Book and ask them to describe what they see. (Many may not be familiar with a pogo stick. If you have one, you may wish to demonstrate how it works.)

As you read The Busy Body Book aloud, ask students to listen for all the other fun ways that the children in the story keep their bodies busy!

Reading The Story

Read the story aloud, stopping when appropriate to explore illustrations, address comments, clarify, predict, and guide students’ understanding of the story and the value to protect the body—sh’mirat ha-guf.

Questions might include:

  • Look at the pictures of the boy on the bench. How is he keeping his body busy? Do you see something you would change? (For example, instead of eating the bag of chips, he might eat an apple, some nuts, or trail mix.) 
  • Which activity in the book looks like the most fun?
  • Why is it important to get up and move around every day instead of sitting, playing computer games, or watching TV?

After The Story

Choose one or more videos that you like from the Movement Movies playlist (see Technology resources). Introduce one exercise at a time and give students time to practice it before introducing the next. You may wish to include some of these movements: hand jive, trot, twist, lightbulbs, washing machine, disco roll, and the chicken, as well as others students suggest. Add them to your Busy Body Wheel. (See Jewish Every Day.)

  • Suggest that the students demonstrate a new movement to get their bodies busy as the others follow along.
  • Play Simon Says using the movements from the video along with student-selected movements.
Using the illustrations to scaffold learning, review the body systems included in the book to reinforce how moving our body keeps our hearts healthy, our brains smart, as well as helping all the other systems of the body. As appropriate, you may wish to discuss some of the following:
  • How do you think the ribs protect the lungs? How does the skull protect the brain?
  • What do you think facial muscles help us do? What do you think the arm muscles (triceps and biceps) help us do?
  • What do you think our brain does?
  • Do you think there is a difference in the blood that travels in the blue veins and the red veins?
  • What do you think is the strongest muscle in our body?
  • What can we do to keep our brain smart? What can we do to keep our heart healthy?
  • Experiment with different facial expressions and arm movements.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Sidewalk Chalk Movement Activities Movement
Teach students some of these favorites:

  • Hopscotch: Using brightly-colored sidewalk chalk, draw a hopscotch pattern with ten boxes. The boxes should be of equal size. Numbering the boxes from one to ten gives students added practice in numbers.
    • Have students make bean bags that can be used in the hopscotch game. You will need pieces of material that are approximately four inches by six inches, needles, threads, dried beans, and Ziploc sandwich-size bags. It will save time if two squares of material are sewn together ahead of time on three sides, one for each child. Turn the bag inside out. Students can fill the Ziploc bags with the dried beans and slip them into the squares of material. An adult can finish sewing the final side.
  • Tic-Tac-Toe: Pair up students. Draw tic-tac-toe boards on smooth pavement using sidewalk chalk. Draw enough so that each pair of students can have their own board. Draw a line where the students must stand when they throw their bean bags. If the bean bag lands in a square without touching any lines, then that child gets to put an X or O in that square. Keep taking turns until someone has 3 X’s or O’s vertically, diagonally, or horizontally.
Parachute Games Movement
One effective activity is to play parachute games that reinforce hand-eye coordination, teamwork, etc.:

“Eating Right” Video Science and Health
Play the BrainPOP Jr. video “Eating Right,” a child-friendly video that explains why good food choices is so important: Following the video, have a tasting party filled with healthy snacking options made up of energy foods, bone-building foods, and muscle-building foods. (Engage parent support and help with this.) Use this as a platform to incorporate the importance of healthy eating as a part of healthy living and taking care of our bodies, as well as demonstrating that eating healthy can be fun!

Field Day Fun Movement
Have students help plan the activities for a field day (for example, potato-sack races, wheelbarrow races, or an egg toss). Remember to include not only the “getting busy” activities, but healthy snacks and water to feed the body as well. Invite and encourage parents and other family members to join and participate, and ask parent volunteers to sign up to bring healthy snacks for your class. 

Walk Like the Animals Science and Movement
Have a discussion with the class about different types of animals and how they move. Play some instrumental music and have the child make movements like an animal. (They can swing their arms to imitate an elephant swinging its trunk, jump up and down like a monkey, fly like a butterfly, trot like a horse, hold their hands together up high and walk like a giraffe, hold their hands up and curved and hop like a kangaroo, etc.) The next day, divide students into groups. Have each group choose an animal and have them make up a dance using their animal’s movements. When it is time to demonstrate their dance, help them pick the type of music, quiet and slow music or fast and loud music. As an alternative, you can use healthy animal crackers to play a game. The student can reach and get an animal cracker and then move like that animal. Then he or she can eat the healthy snack!

“Dancin’ Song” Music and Movement
Move your body to the music of “Dancin’ Song” by “Miss” Emily Aronoff Teck, Miss Emily – Dancin Song (Ivdu Et Hashem B simcha) Track # 13 from Good Choices, Volume 1. This joyful tune will inspire students to sing and dance. Encourage them to add new verses to the song as they come up with some additional movements.

Busy Body Bulletin Board Bulletin Board
Throughout the year, post pictures that capture your students being active. Encourage students to bring in photos of things they do outside of school to keep their bodies busy.

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Protect My Body

by Miss Emily Aronoff Teck

Inspiration Text

“For in the image of G-d, did G-d make humankind.” -Genesis 9:6
“When injury is likely, one should not rely on a miracle.” -Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 39b


Before introducing this tune, ask students to create a list of the ways they protect their bodies, and then compare their ideas to the ideas included in the lyrics of the song.
Find the beat and move your body! Invite students to create gestures that match the chorus’s lyrics and encourage children to move in a variety of ways to the beat of the song for each verse. For example, clap the beat on the first verse, march to it on the second, and do jumping jacks on the third. Invite children to think of new ways to exercise their bodies each time you share the song. Also, share this music video of the song:


I protect my body, I’m telling you the truth
I protect my body, in Hebrew, sh’mirat ha-guf
I eat and drink and bath and brush to keep my body right
I exercise and choose good foods and sleep every night, to keep my body right

My body is amazing, it is one of G-d’s creations
With bones and muscles and skin to feel all the world’s sensations
I am thankful every day for the body G-d gave me
So, I will show respect and love, keeping it healthy, keeping it healthy!


I’ll listen to my body, I’ve got to stop and think and feel
Sometimes my body tells me what it needs to grow or heal
I’ll keep my body busy and make my body strong
I’ll stretch and move and dance for fun, remembering this song, remembering this song!

So, since I want to be happy and spend time with my family
We’ll all make choices that will keep us healthy
Protecting our bodies is like a gift we keep on giving
We enjoy our time together, sharing healthy living, sharing healthy living!


Additional Music Connections

Evidence of Learningmore

Students can identify ways to keep the mind and body healthy by keeping active and making healthy choices.


Family Fun
Encourage families to create a Busy Body Wheel at home (See Jewish Every Day.). Provide examples for their wheels, which might include the following: a family walk, a family dance party, sports time, stretching and movement activities, biking, etc.

Nature Walks

Suggest engaging walking activities. A child may not like to walk around an exercise track in the park, but a nature walk can appeal to children. While on a nature walk, suggest parents have their child explore using their senses: They can listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, smell the flowers, look for insects and lizards and birds. Suggest families take a magnifying glass for a closer look at plants and insects, or binoculars to find birds, squirrels, or other creatures.

Community Field Days
Encourage families to organize a monthly community field day, each based on a different theme (for example, biking, walking, playground clean-up, etc.). Participants can contribute to a neighborhood “tzedakah box” and send donations to a community organization that works with the challenges of childhood obesity. For example, donations can be sent to the Jared Foundation, which partners with Jewish Community Centers of North America to fight childhood obesity. You can find more information at

Experiment with Healthy Snacks
Children love cooking with their parents. Suggest that parents and children experiment to create something both healthy and tasty, or research to find some new healthy snacks. Have families create a recipe card with the name of a favorite snack, along with ingredients, and directions. Put together a class recipe book, Foods for the Busy Body! (You may wish to charge a nominal fee with proceeds going to a selected organization to fight childhood obesity.)

Parent Resources
Suggest families visit the following links for exciting ideas for keeping their children active and healthy:

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
Chicken Soup by Heart Ester HershenhornRosanne LitzingerA story of friendship and the power of chicken soup! With his mother’s help, Rudie prepares chicken soup for his babysitter, Mrs. Gittel, using Mrs. Gittel’s secret ingredient: sweet memories of their friendship!
Get Up and Go: Being Active Amanda Doering TourvilleVeronica Anne RooneyThis book follows two friends and their active lifestyles. It teaches and portrays many ways to be active, just while playing with your friends.
Oh, the Things You Can Do that Are Good for You! Tish RabeAristides RuizWith the help of the Cat in the Hat, children learn about different healthy things in true Seussian style. Topics include eating, sleeping, oral hygiene, sneezes, exercise, and having a good body image.
I.Q. Gets Fit Mary Ann Fraser I.Q. is a mouse and it is Health Month in his classroom. Those who pass the fitness challenge get a gold ribbon. Mrs. Furber teachers all about a balanced diet, drinking water, fitness, and good rest. I.Q. is worried because he can’t run as long or jump as far as the other students. Will his hard work get him the reward he so desires?
All of Me! A Book of Thanks Molly BangMolly BangA young boy is grateful for all the parts of his body that allow him to walk, talk, hug, smile, sing, etc. He is grateful to be alive and realizes that each of us is a creation of wonder.
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

Ariel Kobetz Bet Shira Early Childhood Center, Miami, Florida