By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Common kids’ games often include kick ball, hide-and-seek, red rover, four square, or tag. Games are a fun way for kids to get rid of excess energy, and to maintain a healthy body. From a child’s point of view, however, games are just fun. They provide a way to hang out with friends and have a good time. Children’s Yoga is becoming more popular as parents and teachers realize the benefits it can provide for kids of all ages and abilities. The format of a kids’ Yoga class differs from traditional yoga instruction. To pique the interest of kids, and to keep them actively engaged in the class, children’s Yoga instructors often provide fun, yoga games to play.
This game keeps kids moving, while giving them practice with a variety of poses. To set up for the game, the instructor needs to place one mat for each student forming a large circle. Then, put one yoga card on each mat that names a pose and shows a picture of it. To play, each child stands at the back of a Yoga mat. When the music starts, children begin moving around the circle using a designated movement, such as skipping, hopping, jogging, or walking backwards. When the music stops, children go to the nearest mat and perform the pose on the card. Instructors should encourage kids to go to a new mat each time.
Yoga instructors can prepare a story ahead of time; incorporating as many yoga poses as possible throughout the story. As they read the story aloud, children can act out each pose. Choosing a theme for a story is a fun idea, perhaps based on an upcoming holiday, season, birthday, or other event important to the kids. For example, around Christmas, the story might begin something like this: “It was a cold, and snowy night and all was still (mountain pose). The children bundled themselves in coats, hats, and scarves for a walk in the snowy woods (tree pose). They stop to examine some tracks in the snow (downward dog)…”
Since many Yoga poses have animal names, instructors can teach children the pose and encourage them to make the sound while they do it. Go through the alphabet, letting kids choose an animal that begins with each letter, or let each child choose an animal and lead a pose. Kids Yoga teachers can also ask each child to go into an animal pose, and then ask the other kids to guess which pose it is.
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