Classic Kids’ Games….Yogafied!
Written by Mariann Primus
It’s summer and kids are out of school, i.e. BORED, or likely will be soon. Encourage them to take a break from screen time, grab some friends and teach them some of these classic games, revamped yoga style.
Yoga Four Corners: At a recent kids’ yoga summer camp the kids begged to play four corners. I quickly made it yoga-approved and we were off and running. It was, by far, their favorite game of the week. Designate four corners of the room and assign a yoga pose to each one. We made up quick signs with the name of the pose and a stick figure in that pose for each corner. One child counts (I had the counter sit on my mat…that’s a fun perk, for some reason J) while the other children scatter to one of the four corners. Once there, they strike a pose. We used yoga poses that we learned that day, such as tree, boat, heron, and child’s pose. Another variation would be to assign a type of pose instead of a specific pose, such as balance pose, twisting pose, forward bend, backward bend, etc. When the child finishes counting, they call out a corner number (or a pose) and everyone who is in that corner is out and sat on their yoga mat. We chose the next counter from those that were out. The kids had a blast!
Musical Mats: This is a staple in many of my kids’ yoga classes. Arrange the mats in a circle and play some cool music. I often choose a song that is popular with the kids, such as a song from a current movie sound track (think Moana or Trolls) or a current pop song, family friendly clean-version of course. I also put down a yoga card at each mat that shows a pose. Start the music and the kids start walking around the circle. When the music stops, they must be on a mat and do the pose that is there. Another variation for older or more experienced kids is to have them choose their own pose. Possibly make a rule that they cannot repeat a pose, so they are not doing tree or ragdoll every time. J If you play where there is one less mat than children, that one person is out, remove another mat and maybe have that child charge of the music for the next turn. I often play where no one is out to avoid hurt feelings, especially in a single class where a lot of the children do not know each other.
Beach Ball Yoga Pose: Write a yoga pose on each section of a beach ball (or an animal name, or a feeling). Have children stand in a circle and take turns tossing a beach ball to another child. When a child catches the ball, wherever their thumb of their dominant hand, or writing hand, lands that is the pose they must do. Everyone follows suit. Then, toss the ball to a new child. If you are playing with animal names, it can be familiar poses such as fish, dog, cat, turtle, etc. Then, throw in one they must be creative with, like giraffe or peacock, just for fun. If you are playing with feelings, the child will do a pose they associate with the feeling their thumb lands on. For example, “I am sad. I’m a rag doll”, “I’m scared, I’m a lion”, or “I’m excited. I’m a dancer (or tree….).” Let them be creative and choose their pose without judgement.
Wheel Barrow Races: This one doesn’t really need to be yogafied. One child is in a plank position and their partner lifts their legs and propels them toward a finish line. It can be flipped, however, into a variety of other relay races using various yoga poses, crab walk, bear walk, walk in Warrior 1, etc. Line children up into 2 lines, or more depending on number of kids. One child from each line races to a designated point and back in the choses pose (re: crab walk). Then the next child goes, and so on. Up the ante by adding a small stuffed animal on the head or belly for added balance. Make it a fun outdoor game by adding a soaking wet sponge. The large car wash sponges work great!
Jenga – Yoga Style: Write a yoga pose on each Jenga block. Children take turns pulling a block out of the stack, place it on top of the tower, then do the pose that was written on it. Everyone follows along. Continue play until the tower falls.
Hope you have fun with these yoga-infused games as they build strength, and help develop turn taking and team building skills. Happy summer!
Mariann is a certified kids’ yoga teacher through Kidding Around Yoga in south Florida in Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties. She is also a private tutor for children with special needs and creates yoga sequences with a literacy connection on her Teachers Pay Teachers store, Spoonful of Love and Learning. You can find Mariann at https://m.facebook.com/spoonfulofspirit