More Yoga Games for Kids

Posted on by Allyson

Kids Yoga in Portland Oregon at Yoga Rocks the Park 2013From Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon, yoga kids love to play games. Well, let’s face it, all kids—and indeed most people of all ages!—love playing games. Learning is easy when you’re having fun. If your class of yoginis is having a hard time paying attention, a game is a great way to release energy while still practicing yoga poses. In this, our second post on yoga games for kids, we present five games that your yoga students will beg to play.

Add One Memory Yoga. A perfect yoga game for kids who are already aware of yoga poses. Stand in a circle. The first student chooses a pose, and the whole group practices it together. The second student does the first pose, and then adds his or her own second pose. Everyone practices these two poses in order, and then the next person adds a third posture, and so forth. A challenging game, especially if you have a larger class. For smaller classes, it may make sense to go around the circle twice. Students will also enjoy adding the phrase “I went to a yoga class and I did…” with all of the poses listed in order. For instance, your class might come up with the pattern “I went to a yoga class, and I did mountain pose, forward fold, chair pose, and halfway lift.”

Sea, Shells, Shore. One of the top yoga games for children who have extra energy. Find a large space, such as a gym or field. Choose one area to be the sea, and another space to be the shore. Before setting the kids free to run around in the whole area, review five to eight yoga poses with them. When the game begins, the kids run throughout the whole area. Then, when the teacher shouts, “Shore! Or “Sea!” the kids have to run to that area. If the teacher shouts “Shell!” the kids have to choose one yoga pose to freeze in. Students love to be the leader in this game! It’s also easy to adjust for different holidays. For instance, on Halloween you might play “Graveyard, Pumpkin Patch, Skeleton.”

Musical Mats. Load some fun, upbeat tunes on your MP3 player for this game. Lay out yoga mats in a circle, and take one away so that there are one fewer mats than students. Then, place a yoga pose card on each mat. (You can make your own or purchase a set of yoga cards.) When the music starts, the students begin walking around the mats. To keep things interesting you can specify how to walk—skipping, hopping on one foot, walking backwards, and so forth. When the music stops, the students scramble to get a mat, and they freeze in the pose on that mat. The student who doesn’t get a mat becomes the teacher’s assistant, starting and stopping the music, calling out how to walk, or providing feedback on how students are doing each pose. Because many students will try to be the teacher’s assistant, specify that each kid can only be teacher’s assistant once during the game.

Floating Feather Game. Bring a package of colorful feathers to class. Pass out one feather to each child, and direct students to place their feather in front of their mouths. Practice breath control together, first breathing softly to move the soft, fluffy part of the feather, and then blowing hard to move the rigid part of the feather. Then practice blowing feather up into air and keeping it up with your breath. This is a great game for teaching kids about controlling their breath.

The Balance Challenge. This is one of the best yoga games for middle school students who know each other and the yoga teacher well. Because it requires trust, we don’t recommend playing it until you’ve established a strong class community. Kindness is a key ingredient. Begin by brainstorming balancing yoga poses, listing them as you go so that students can refer to your list later in the game. Some of the poses you might list include eagle, dancer’s pose, tree, and airplane. Then, ask for volunteers to do the balance challenge. These students will aim to stay in balancing poses no matter what. They can change poses or switch feet, but they should be in a balancing posture throughout. Next, the rest of the class will come up with distraction techniques to try to throw off the balancing students. Emphasize that all distraction methods should be kind and respectful. As the teacher, you will need to approve the distraction methods. Here’s where the game gets really interesting: The balancing students are in the middle of the group, doing their best to maintain their yoga postures. The distractors try the methods approved earlier. Allow this to go on for a couple of minutes, end the game and have a discussion period in which the balancers explain how they stayed balancing throughout the multiple distractions. This game will help students take their yoga “off the mat.”

For these and other yoga games, we recommend checking out ShantiGeneration.com and yogainmyschool.com. And by the way, you don’t have to be a yoga teacher to play these games with your students. They work great for PE classes, and even as breaks in regular classrooms. Finally, if you’re interested in learning how to teach yoga to kids, email us to learn more about our upcoming yoga teacher training, happening in the Spring of 2014 in Portland, Oregon.

<photo: ©Move Yoga 2013. All rights reserved.>

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Yoga For Kids in Portland, Oregon