One of the biggest smile generators in the kids yoga classes I run, are games. Kids love playing games! After a long day at school, a fun moving game is often necessary to help “shake the ants out of their pants” from sitting most of the day. Games can be non competitive, or, the competitive aspect of a game can be de emphasized by focusing on other rewards, in yoga. One of the greatest things about this gentle practice is that each child leaves the class feeling as though they have “won”. Most adults experience this too, and, usually identify it as one of the greatest benefits of yoga. So, after centering my class with a criss cross applesauce and a “hello and how are you feeling” circle, I like to play a game. The following are 3 of my favorites; freeze pose, yoga story sequence chain and musical mats. There is a brief explanation of each game and some print outs to help you with equipment needed. These games are suggestions on how to use the Kids Yoga 100 Coloring Book, and can also be found on the Kids Yoga 100, Games tab, of this site, as suggestions on how to use the coloring book.
1. Freeze Pose Game: Equipment Needed: music, 3 or 4 individual yoga poses.
How To: Pick 3 or 4 individual yoga poses. After opening and centering the class, introduce the 3 or 4 poses you picked. Discuss each one, demonstrate, let the kids try them, ask questions and explore. Once the kids know the poses, explain the game to them. You use a fun song that is up beat and positive. For example, I really like using Jack Johnson’s Curious George Soundtrack as it has songs about recycling and cooperation. Explain that while the music is playing the children may dance about freely and safely in the room, but, when the music stops, they must find their mats and assume one of the four yoga poses, that you will be calling out as the teacher, at that time. Go ahead, below are 3 poses , use Jack’s song “Upside Down” and see how this game can be a real winner with kids and a great way to shake some energy out in a positive, fun way.
2. Story Chain Yoga Game: Needed: Individual poses and sequence savers, (From the Kids Yoga 100) imagination!
How To: Give the children each a color of the rainbow, ask them to pick a pose from the color section they were assigned and put the story together in a rainbow order. Allowing the children who choose red poses to go first, followed by the orange and then yellow…. Allow the kids to switch colors if the pose allows, for example, Downward Dog on Page 29 can also be the color blue in the rainbow. The child will add the pose when it is their turn, and also a creative sentence t0 a yoga sequence story that builds as each child takes their turn (For example, for Downward Dog, the dog was sniffing at something on the ground in the forest when he saw the frog hop by.). The teacher uses the sequence savers during the building of the story as a type of wild card, in case the energy takes a wrong turn…. By the end of this game you have a unique sequence that was created and performed by the kids, and, a really fun story to tell!
How To: For musical mats, each child gets to pick a pose from any section Section, to tape to their mat, or one you provide. Once the class is centered, explain the game to the children. Please note, it is best to try this game with 6 or more kids. Use a fun and uplifting song and the yoga mats as if they were chairs in a musical mats game. For example, Katy Perry “Firework” was requested many times by children ages 7 to 10 this past year in my classes. When the music plays, the children dance about safely and freely and when the music stops the children must find a mat and do the pose, sequence saver or mini sequence that is taped on the mat they arrive to (You know, like musical chairs, only musical yoga mats). The child without a mat gets to move to partner poses in a another area of the classroom, with other children who have been eliminated. This way elimination offers a fun reward, and, the competitiveness of the situation is reduced. It is awesome when each child feels as though they have “won” at the end of class, yoga makes this possible. Last but not least, it is nice to use studio mats for this or get the kids to clean the mats after to reduce cross germination 🙂