Looking for simple and effective ways to keep your Kids Yoga classes fresh and fun as you work to help kids develop lasting healthy habits?! Incorporate a few props into your routine and introduce a new prop regularly!
Below are five props common to adult yoga classes with ideas for using them in not-so-common ways with kids. Try them out and then share your experiences with us below. Check back over the next few months for ways to use props that are NOT so common in adult yoga classes!
Massage Balls: Begin by talking with the kids about what they use their feet for and the importance of keeping our feet healthy. Then, give each child a ball and while standing, lead them through a series of different ways to open and massage their feet using the ball.
1st - Slide one foot back and forth along the ball and as you do play with the amount of pressure.
2nd - Squeeze and spread your toes around the ball.
3rd - Place your heel on the ground and press down on the ball using the ball of your foot.
4th - Place your toes on the ground and press down on the ball using your heel.
5th - Place your heel on the ground and slide your foot side to side on the ball…careful it doesn’t pop out and hit your neighbor!
If you don’t have access to “massage balls,” and your house is anything like mine, you will have no problem finding a healthy supply of tennis balls.
On a recent search through our home I found tennis balls in the yard, on a shelf with my son’s Star Wars figurines, in his bat bag, rolling around in the backseat of the truck and EVEN in the bucket designated for balls in the shed (the ones in the yard did not make it to class)!
Yoga Blocks: When I encourage adults to use blocks it is for safety. When we use blocks in kid’s classes, it is always on a prayer that no one twists an ankle.
That’s because we walk on them! Mindfully, of course!
Kids can practice Mindful Walking by creating a path of yoga blocks and slowly walking from the beginning to the end of the path paying attention to every step.
Tibetan Singing Bowl: Tapping a singing bowl is the most effective way to get the attention of a large (or small, but rowdy) group of kids. It is also a wonderful way to indicate the beginning or end of an activity (mindfulness practice, meditation, breathing technique, relaxation). Invent a reason for a child who is having difficulty participating in the class to ring it and at the end ring it on each child's belly. A note of caution: as with anything, don’t over use it or it may loose its power. And power it has!
Stones: At my favorite yoga studio there is a beautiful wooden bowl filled with red stones. A sign behind the bowl reads “I’m in the zone stone.” Yogis are free to place a stone at the front of their mat if they do not want the instructor to give them any physical assists during the practice.
In Kids Yoga classes we use stones to practice gratitude!
Have the kids sit in a close circle and place two small bowls in the center of the circle. Place a few dozen stones (or beans, beads, rocks, whatever) in one of the bowls. Invite the children to take turns picking up a stone, saying aloud something they are grateful for, and then placing the stone in the empty bowl. The activity ends when all of the stones have been moved from one bowl to the other.
Feathers: HINT: Before passing out a feather to each child describe the activity and model it for them first. Hold a feather in front of you and run an index finger up one side of the feather as you take a long, slow, deep inhalation. Time it so that you are at the height of your inhale when your finger reaches the top of the feather. As you let out a long, slow, deep exhale slide your finger down the other side of the feather. Pass out a feather to each child. Lead them through the exercise at first and then give them space to do it independently, at their own pace.
Check back soon for ideas on how to use five MORE props!