Written by Mariann Primus C
Previously posted on Kidding Around Yoga blog; Revised 4/19/2019
Summer will be here before you know it. The kids will be out of school and after a couple weeks you may start hearing those dreaded words, “I’m BORED!” Encourage your children to take a break from screen time, grab some friends and teach them some of these classic games, yogafied! We had yoga mats at hand for each of these games but beach towels or even the floor will work for most.
Yoga Four Corners: It was during a kids’ yoga summer camp that I came up with this one. 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 each 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 was a fun perk but the floor or a towel will work just fine too) while the other children scatter to any one of the four corners. Once there, they strike a pose. Again, the floor will work fine especially if you stick to standing or forward bend poses. 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 balancing poses, twisting poses, forward bends, etc. When the child finishes counting, they call out a corner number (or a pose) and everyone who is in that corner is out. I had them sit on their yoga mat but they could sit in the middle of the room or to one side, whatever works for your situation or setting. We chose the next counter from those that were out. The kids were actively moving their bodies, getting the benefits of the yoga poses, and had a blast!
Musical Mats: This is a staple in many of my kids’ yoga classes. I do suggest yoga mats for this one to reduce risk of slipping and sliding. 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, the clean family friendly version, of course. I like using yoga cards for this game but if you don’t have them, that’s OK. I would suggest practicing a few first to give your children some ideas (dog, cat/cow, tree, rag doll, mountain, eagle, etc). Start the music and the kids start walking around the circle. When the music stops, they must be on a mat and do a pose of their choosing, or if you are using yoga cards, do the pose that is pictured. If you play where there is one less mat than children, the one person without a mat is out. Before starting the next round, remove another mat. You could have the child that is out be in 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. That way it is fun for everyone and the challenge is put on trying out different poses rather than rushing to a mat. You could make a rule that they cannot repeat a pose, so they are not doing tree or ragdoll every time. J I also like to change up how they more around the circle: walk, tiptoe, crab walk, sidestep, silly walk….you get the idea.
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 the 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 should 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 to see what they come up with. I’ve seen some great jellyfish and whales! 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 or Yoga Pose Races: This one doesn’t really need to be yogafied. One child is in a plank position and walks on their hands as 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 chosen pose (re: crab walk, bear walk, etc). Then the next child goes, and so on. Up the ante by adding a small stuffed animal for them to balance on their head or belly. Make it a fun outdoor game by adding a soaking wet sponge. The large car wash sponges that you can find at dollar stores are perfect for this variation!
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 and the children in your life 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. She currently lives in Marion County, FL and will teach classes in Ocala and Gainesville. She also creates social skills curriculum and yoga sequences with a literacy connection on her Teachers Pay Teachers store, https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Ommazing-Kids
You can also find her at https://www.ommazingkids.com/ and on social media:
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ommazingkids/
Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/mprimus/