Hey everyone! It’s April vacation week over here and I thought a great way to avoid writing my research paper for grad school would be to write a blog post! #gradschoolproblems
I’ve been teaching Kid’s Yoga for 2 years now. I did my certification through Kidding Around Yoga. There was an online portion to the training and a 2-day in person training. I absolutely loved it! My favorite part of this program is the music that comes with it is really amazing. I use it in every yoga class I teach. Also, the online portal provides a lot of background information on yoga and offers ways to teach yoga to different age groups. *
I teach Kid’s Yoga weekly to a group of around 10-18 students. I also teach at summer camps were there are anywhere from 20-40 kids. My biggest session ever was at a PTO event that had 45 kids! That was a c-r-a-z-y night. One way I keep that many students occupied is to plan quick and easy group games. Read below for a breakdown of 6 of my favorite group games modified for kid’s yoga.
1. Pass the Puppy: This can also be called Pass the Kitty, the Penguin, the Heart….pretty much Pass The Whatever Stuffed Animal You Have Available. Here’s how you play: Have the yogis sit criss-cross in a circle, with their knees close to each other. One player gets to be “it” and sits in the middle with his or her eyes closed. The other students pass the stuffed animal around the circle and count to ten slowly. When they get to 10 they yell “HIDE!”. Whoever is holding the stuffed animal hides it behind their back. All of the other students also pretend to hide the stuffed animal behind their backs. The person in the middle has 3 chances to guess who has it. Whether the person who is “it” guesses correctly or not, the person with the stuffed animal goes in the middle. Repeat.
What I love about this game: Easy, fun, and no one really wins or looses.
2. Four Corners: This is a yoga-twist on the classic game of 4 corners. Even if your room doesn’t have 4 corners, just put a folded piece of cardstock with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 written and put it where you would like the corners to be. How to play: One student gets to be “it”. They stand in the middle with their eyes closed and count loudly and slowly to ten. Meanwhile, the rest of the students run, skip, walk, hop (you choose) to a corner. Once they get to that corner they have to hold a standing or kneeling yoga pose, like tree, chair, or camel. You can even put a visual card in each corner of what pose you would like children to do. Next, the person in the middle calls a corner, like “Corner Number 3”. Everyone in corner 3 is out. They come to the middle and try to hold plank pose. The person who is “it” keeps counting and calling corners until just 1 person in left. Then, everyone is back in and that new child gets to be “it”!
What I love about this game: It’s great for a small or big group of kids. Can be played with no set-up at all!
3. A Yogi Says: This game is straight from my Kidding Around Yoga (KAY) training. The Facebook group for KAY teachers is wonderful. So many great ideas are shared! How to Play: This is like Simon Says, where one person is “Simon” or “A Yogi”. The yogi tells other students what to do by saying “A Yogi says downward dog”. Then, all the students get into downward facing dog. The yogi who is “it” keeps going with different poses, like “A yogi says star, a yogi says tree, child’s pose”. On the last one, other students who do child’s pose would be “out” because a “yogi didn’t say”. However, in Kid’s Yoga classes, I still let those students be in. I just kind of say “ohhhh did a yogi say to do that?”. After a little while, the person who is it says ” A yogis says _____ is it” and they pick a new friend to be it.
What I like about this game: A lot of students can be “it”all while the little yogis are practicing a lot of poses!
4. Red Light, Green Light, Tree! This is another fan favorite from my KAY training. A fun twist of Red Light, Green Light. How to Play: Have all the students line up against a wall. One person gets to be the caller and stands opposite the other students. Red Light means freeze. Green light means walk slowly or army crawl. Or, the caller can shout out a yoga pose like: “star!”, “mountain!”, or “warrior!”. The students have to hold the yoga pose without falling. They are moving towards the caller for green light. Once one student is close enough to high 5 the caller, he or she can be “it” next.
What I like about this game: No additional set up is needed and it goes quickly, so many students get a turn to be it!
5. Freeze Dance: Okay, this one is really easy and a crowd-pleaser. How to play: Play an up-beat song from your device over a speaker that really pumps up the jam. I use music from My Amazon (I do not subscribe monthly. If you have Amazon Prime, you have access to 1,000s of songs through the app for FREE!). I usually use Kidz-Bop because it is “safe” for little kids to listen to. I crank it up loud and let students free dance. Que the floss! Then, I pause the music and students have to freeze in a yoga pose. Standing ones tend to work better, like chair, warrior, tree, dancer, eagle, goddess, star, mountain, and more! Play until the song is over. A fun bonus idea: let students use sunglasses or bead necklaces to dress up their moves.
What I love about this game: You can play music to any themed class you may have, like a St.Patrick’s Jig or a Halloween Thriller!
6. Freeze Tree: A variation on the game explained above to help build self-regulation skills. How to play: Play an up-beat song. I usually pick from Kidz Bop (see above for more details). The main difference in this game is the music never stops. The teacher will call out “Freeze” or “Tree”. When the teacher calls out “freeze” students freeze in any statue-like pose that they were dancing in. The goal is to be very still (the music is still playing so that makes it hard!). When the teacher calls out “tree” all of the students hold tree pose without falling. Again, the music doesn’t stop, so students need to focus. The game ends when the song is over.
Why I love this game: It helps children focus on the moment and to respond to oral directions.
Do you have any go-to yoga games you love to use? Share them below!
*I am not a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), just a first grade teacher who loves to share my Kid’s Yoga Training!