Everyday Kids Yoga: Winter Theme
In my previous post I discussed how children are natural yogis and the many benefits of yoga for children. Here I’ve outlined some ideas for a winter themed class to enjoy with your child or classroom. One thing to note when teaching kids yoga: you have to roll with it. You may approach the class with a yoga lesson plan and soon find that you have to completely scrap that and do something different, depending on how the children respond and how they’re feeling any given moment. And that’s ok! There are no rules to yoga, except to enjoy it and to be present. So while these ideas will get you started, I definitely encourage you to be creative, have fun, and let the kids get creative and explore too! These winter theme ideas can be adjusted depending on the age of the children. I typically use this for toddlers, preschoolers, and even elementary aged children. For toddlers you’ll be doing lots of songs and activities, for preschoolers a few more poses and talking about nature or the seasons, and for elementary age you can have a little more discussion and add in more poses.
Winter Theme Ideas
Standing Poses. Following warm-ups I like to delve into a few standing poses, emphasizing deep breaths during each pose, making transitions fun, and asking the children if they have ideas as well. Here are a few poses that I like to use for winter classes:
1. Skier (Chair Pose): pretend like you’re skiing down a mountain! Swoop left, swoop right, go low, go high!
2. Ice skater (Warrior 3): skate on the right foot, then switch to the left, and switch back and forth a few times, holding each side for 2-5 breaths, depending on the age of children. What else does an ice skater do? Let the children get creative with their ice skating!
3. Making a snowman (Squat): Holding a squat, pretend that you’re making a snowman! Gather the snow, for a ball, pat the ball.
Snow-themed Book. I try to incorporate a children’s book into every kids yoga class that I teach. All children love books and you can easily find books that will be fun to act out through yoga poses, or through making up yoga poses! One book that I like for my winter classes is Snow Happy by Patricia Hubbell. There are lots of other books that will work too at your nearest library!
Breathing Activity: Blowing Snowballs. A favorite activity for any age class is my Blowing Snowballs activity. You’ll need 1 straw and 1 cotton ball (snowball) for each child. The idea is to have the children use their breath to blow through the straw and move the cotton ball. You can talk about how to use their belly breath, how blowing softly may move the snowball differently than when blowing harder. Older children like to make it a race to see who can blow their snowball across the room the fastest!
Seated/Supine Poses. I like to move toward the quieting/calming time of class by beginning with seated and supine yoga poses. Somewinter-themed poses are:
1. You’re a Snowman. Sit in Stick Pose, seated tall with legs together and stretched straight out in front of you. Pretend to gather snow from around you by twisting to the right and gathering, and twisting to the left and gathering. Then pretend to pat the snow on your legs, arms, belly, head, like you’re patting the snow down. Make sure you get your feet too (Forward Fold)!
2. Sledding. From Stick Pose hold onto the side edges of your mat (or pretend like you’re holding on if you don’t have a mat) and pretend to sled. You may lean to the right, lean to the left, watch out for that tree!, have fun with it!
3. Roll in the Snow. From Happy Baby Pose hold the sides of your feet or legs and roll from side to side like you’re rolling in the snow.
Snow Angels. Lie on your back and pretend to make snow angels!
Guided Meditation. I love short guided meditations for children. My 5 year old asks me often to do one for her, and she likes the way it calms her body. Here is a script that I sometimes use for my winter classes:
Winter Guided Meditation for Kids. Lie on your back in the snow. Notice how the snow feels. Is it soft or hard? Wet or dry? Cold or warm? Allow yourself to relax on this blanket of snow and relax your body. Now feel the cool wind blowing and brushing against your skin. Is it windy or just a calm breeze? Can you hear the wind? Can you hear any other noises like the rustling of the trees or the crunch of snow beneath someone’s feet? Now feel the snowflakes gently falling on your skin. Do they feel cool? Wet? Soft? Maybe stick your tongue out and see if you can catch them on your tongue. What do they taste like?…Now slowly begin your journey back to this room, where it is warm and cozy and dry. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch your arms over your head, and slowly roll up to seated.
These are just a few ideas to get you started with kids yoga this Winter. I hope you try some of them, and have fun with it! Let me know how it goes, and what ideas you have to add to this! And of course, contact us at Water and Rock Studio if you’d like to try a Kids Yoga class or private session!