The days between children’s yoga classes really seem to FLY by!
As the teacher for the class, it’s ideal to be prepared. An outline or class plan is a necessity that keeps you as the teacher focused and one step ahead of the students. Engaging activities keep children motivated to learn more. Below are 3 simple and inexpensive activities to try in your yoga classroom.
1. (song/music) Kira Willey, Dance for the Sun. This song is fantastic (the other songs on the cd are really excellent too). If you’re not sure who Kira Willey is, think back to that Dell commercial…. Remember the song about colors? That was Kira and it’s on this cd! Dance for the Sun works well for children ages 3-7. The song guides you through Surya Namaskar A, and its easy rhythm encourages kids to hold the postures and BREATHE. It’s a wonderful way to warm up your little ones at the beginning of class…. You’ll need 4-8 minutes for this warm up activity.
2. (art/crafts) Coloring mandalas. This is an easy activity that typically takes 20-30 minutes AND it’s 20-30 minutes of silent meditation. Frame this activity as a challenge for the kids and encourage them to: not talk, stay on their own mats, relax and enjoy the colors. Eventually, they may find themselves in a meditative state. Kids have reported that the whole world seems to quiet, slow down, and stop, when they are coloring mandalas. Kids also say that they can’t see anything else except for their paper and the colors they create which provides an incredible sense of focus. A favorite site to download & print mandalas, for free is www.coloringcastle.com. Print a variety and more than enough for your class so that each child has a choice and opportunity to color more than one mandala. Don’t forget to bring colored pencils and crayons. Music in the background is often nice during this activity but isn’t mandatory. Kids & teens (5-17 years old) love this activity.
3. (arts/crafts) Yoga Word Wall. Word walls are often used in the academic classroom to enhance student vocabulary. An interactive yoga word wall is fun for students as it reinforces their academic learning, helps to create a deeper understanding of the benefits of asana(s), and cultivates a respect for others. Allow 15-20 minutes for this activity and it is best used with children who can write (perfect spelling isn’t required). Give each student one piece of paper and a marker. Explain to them that we are all going to do a posture/asana together. After each asana, the students have 20-30 seconds to write down one word that explains how they feel. After writing their word, they leave the paper on the mat and take their marker with them as they rotate to the mat next to them. The next asana is performed on the new mat and upon completion of the asana, one word that explains how they feel is written on the piece of paper at that mat. This process continues until everyone has rotated/migrated back to their original mat & word wall.
Be prepared with a list of postures, equal to the number of students participating (and it’s great if you participate too!). After the exercise is complete, talk with students about the different words that are on their word walls. They may be surprised at how different they felt after doing different asanas (ie. Warrior 1 vs. Child’s Pose). It’s also good to talk about how people feel and react differently after doing an asana. One person may feel energized while another person may feel happy. A picture of two different word walls – forgive the spelling from a 3rd-5th grade class of 7 students is below.