As the summer winds to an end and kids prepare to return to school this fall, parents and educators prepare to supplement the school day with sports and other activities that help kids collaborate with others and exercise both bodies and minds in a different light.
The concept of structured play emphasizes the importance of these activities to a child's academic and cognitive development. Luckily, children's yoga is the perfect place to extend the concept of play so that kids have the opportunity to create and discover on the mat!
Here’s four easy ways to bring it to life:
1. Let Students Create Poses
The power of yoga lies in the flexibility of poses, and children have the perfect minds to create their own versions of poses! Allow them to explore characters, emotions, and anything else to create poses of their own, utilizing what they've learned so far.
Monster Pose is great for this – have students make their own monsters and explore how they breathe, move, sound, and interact with others.
2. Use Games
Yoga games are not only a great way to review new poses and encourage collaboration in a group setting. They also allow for a looser class structure that invites more playfulness and imagination into the room!
Think about ending classes with games that have kids thinking on their feet and working together, like “Yogi Says” or “Follow the Yogi”.
3. Include Drawing
Drawing is an effective way for a child of any age to harness their imagination to visualize poses, concepts, and more. Complement a class with a drawing, asking children to draw anything from their favorite pose to something that scares or soothes them.
With these drawings they can explore ideas and thoughts they’re having that they might not be capable or willing to express otherwise.
4. Let Them Control The Class
Put the kids in charge! Enabling a student to lead their peers, or contribute to a group activity, not only engages the room more effectively but integrates a more youthful and relevant vibe into the class.
Have them choose where the story goes, or share the pose they've created with others. This leadership provides the child in charge with a different perspective on collaborating with others, and the rest of the children feel more encouraged and able to act as they want.
These ideas don’t have to be just for kids yoga! Grownups – try integrating these ideas into your practice, too. Everyone can use more time to play, and luckily for us, it’s always waiting on our mats to be explored.