Yoga and Mindfulness for children.
In our Children's Yoga and Mindfulness classes we have soo much to share, but often the students will list the games as their favourite part! Here is a list of 9 games that you may like to add into your Lesson plans that your classes will want to play over and over! Haven't got time to lesson plan? Why not check out my done for you lesson plans here.
X's and O's
Otherwise known as noughts and crosses. Make a large grid using yoga straps (or similar). There should be 9 spaces available. So two lines down, and 2 lines across, creating a box in the middle. This game needs at least eight students and yourself. That's two teams of four (and then you can join in if any of the teams need you at the end). One team is the O's and one is the X's. The idea is much like the classic but instead of drawing the X's and O's, students will use their body to play. So X's can lay down in an X shape, and O's can come into child's pose. Each team takes turns to take a space on the grid. The team to get three in a row first wins. We don't like to include competition in our yoga classes, so we don't really focus on the win, instead focus on the teamwork and playfulness. Play a few times so that everyone can get a turn, and each team has a go at being first. I would recommend this game for ages 8 up to teens.
Holding hands in a circle, pass squeezes by gently closing your hand around the person next to you. An 'electric current' you receive in one hand must come out the other. If you feel a squeeze, pass it on through to the other side. These can be passes in multiples and from both sides. If you get one from both sides at the same time it electrocutes you - so the more dramatic here, the better. Try selecting different students to start this game each time.
Fish, Stop, Go
Everyone walks around in a circle together. If one person stops, everyone stops. If one person starts walking, everyone starts walking. There is no leader so anyone can start and stop at any time. This means children must really focus and connect without words.
Follow the Leader
This can be played as a group or by having everyone partner up. Decide who the leader is (in the group, or in the partnership). The leader creates a sequence or flows freely and everyone else copies. You can give them time to create a sequence or just let them improvise on the spot. Yoga cards can be given to help, music can be played and props may be used. Give them a minute or two and then change leader. If working in partners simply switch, if in a group, be sure that everyone gets a turn at being the leader.
Who is the leader?
We love playing follow the leader, but what happen's when you don't know who the leader is? This game is played in our circle. One person leaves the room while we assign the role of the leader. The leader will be guiding the group through a sequence (made up or one you've been working on with a few improv moments). Everyone must copy the leader, without making it obvious who they are copying. Once the leader has been assigned, the person can come back into the room (we sometimes call them the Yoga detective). The leader starts and everyone copies. The Yoga detective tries to work out who is leading. If they guess wrong, the accused person comes to lay down on their mat.
This one can be very funny. For this game you will need one colorful scarf (the sensory/juggling type). Everyone sits in a circle as you (or a volunteer) stands in the middle with the scarf. You throw it up into the air, when it is in the air - everyone must laugh. This will start of as fake laughing but then very often becomes real. As soon as the scarf hits the floor, everyone must be silent. Can it be done? We are looking to improve our focus and reaction time here while reaping the benefits of laughing. Take it in turns as to who is in the middle.
What's Your Name?
This can be a fun game to play when I have a new class and I am learning peoples names. I also use this game for groups I know very well, we do this by adding in an extra challenge which I will explain in a moment. Everyone starts by standing in a circle except for one person who goes in the middle. The person in the middle has to say the name of someone else three times. If they manage this, then they get to swap places with that person. If that person, however, says the person in the middle's name - just once - then they do not move and have to try again. This is a little too easy when everyone is very well acquainted, so we add in a little extra challenge by changing our names. It can be ANYTHING! We will often go with a theme such as food, weather, planets etc.
The Sun and Shield Game
This is currently a favourite in one of my groups, they would honestly be happy to play it every week! Everyone chooses someone to be their sun, and someone to be their shield - without letting anyone know who they have chosen! You must stay as far away from your sun as possible and have your shield blocking the sun by trying to have them come between you and the sun. Sounds easy except for the fact that THEY do not know if they are a sun or a shield and they are focused on their own sun and shield (plus maybe you are their sun or shield too!). Once everyone has the hang of this, pause and ask them to pick a new sun and/or shield. Keep changing it up. This is a very high energy game so best followed up by a calmer one before ending your session with relaxation or quiet time.
Don't Wake The Dragon
One person lays in the middle of the room with a bell beside them, this is the Dragon. The Dragon is guarding the bell but is very tired. Everyone else gathers in a circle at the edges of the room. As the Dragon 'sleeps', the children must sneak up to get the bell. If the dragon hears any noise, they can wake up and scare everyone back (or they all freeze in a dragon pose/ low lunge). The games ends when some body gets the bell. They can then be the next dragon. To be sure everyone gets a turn, if they have already had a turn they may choose someone else to be the dragon.
There it is, 9 fun games you can play in your classes! I would love to know which of these you can't wait to try or perhaps you already play a similar version and have some alternate ways that you would like to share! Comment below!
Feel free to share this with other Children's Yoga teachers. If you haven't already signed up for my email, you may be interested to know that anyone who currently signs up will receive a FREE 8 week lesson plan! Check it out here. I also have many class plans and done for you courses over on my Etsy shop - here.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy!
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