Games and Props
Get Your Game On!
Kids yoga games
Incorporating games into your yoga sessions is a fun way to get kids thinking and moving in a variety of different ways. Plus its a great way to wrap up the class and signal that its coming to an end before settling into savasana. Here are a couple of my favorites!
Statues/Night at the Museum/Catch the Birdies: So many names for this game. The teacher (or another student) turns their back, during which time the kids can go bananas on their mats. When the teacher/child turns around everyone must be frozen on their mats in a yoga pose. If you're playing competitively, anyone caught moving must sit down on their mat for either the rest of the game or just one round. Usually, I play this with younger kids and they have so much fun that I don't feel the need to do it competitively. I have also seen this with a large group where the teacher/child walks around the room - when their back is to you, you can move but if they catch you moving, you're out.
Plow relays: The kids all sit in Staff position, one right behind the other. The child at the start of the line holds a ball between their feet, and rolls back to Plow pose to pass the ball to the person behind them. That person catches the ball with their feet and repeats. You can vary this by having kids race to the back of the line after they pass the ball to keep the line going indefinitely, or you could make it a competition between groups.
Downward Dog tunnels: If you have the room, this is so fun! Have the kids all line up and then get into Downward Dog. The kid the far end gets down on their belly and crawls through the tunnel. At the end, they pop up and get into Downward Dog, and then the next kids goes through. Again, you can make this go on indefinitely, or have a race, or just have everyone go through once….so many options.
Props Are a Must!
My favorite props for kids yoga classes
Props in kids yoga classes are an absolute must. They provide a very tactile way to engage children in an activity, as well as can help them understand the poses even more. I use props in almost every class I teach!
Hoberman Sphere: This is an amazing tool for teaching kids about breathing. I talk about how the Hoberman Sphere mimics the work our diaphragm does, and its a great model for showing what happens when we breath in/out too quickly versus slow and steady. When I pass the ball around the room, the kids each takes turns opening it and closing it in time with their breath. One client of mine, who I saw 1:1, liked to start and end his sessions by doing deep breathing with the Hoberman. In addition to working on breath, this is a great tool for gratitude circles. With kids in a circle, hand the ball to one kid and have them share one thing they are grateul for. When they’re done, they toss the ball to someone else in the circle (the ball will expand when its thrown in the air).
Hula hoops: I love hula hoops for cooperative group activities! For example, you can have kids stand in a circle holding hands, placing one of more hula hoops between a couple of kids. Without breaking the hand chain, the kids have to use other body parts, as well as the support of other kids, to get the hula hoop all the way around the circle. I also use hula hoops to help kids get into Dancer pose. Have them hold the hula hoop with both hands behind their head and hook one set of toes on the bottom of the hoop while standing on the other foot.
Drishtis: I use little balls, stickers, gemstones - sometimes even a shoe - as drihstis (focal points) for kids during poses when they really need to concentrate. For example, I might place a gemstone on the floor in front of a kid who is working on Tree pose. They can stare at the gemstone to help them stay focused while balancing.
Yoga Pretzel cards: These just happen to be the set I have, but any set of yoga cards will do. I carry them in my bag all the time to get inspiration, show kids how to do certain poses, or play games. Buying two sets of cards allows you to use them to play Go Fish or Memory. Love that idea!