Cannonball: Assign a pose and have each child jump into the pool in that pose. Warrior, Tree, and Mountain would be great to try. Challenge the kids to make big splashes (or tiny splashes). Modify the activity by calling out the pose as the child is jumping. Just be sure the pool is deep enough for a safe landing and avoid head-first poses.
Mermaid Meditation: What does the world sound like underwater? Pretend you are a mermaid (or merman) and find out! With one or both ears underwater (by tilting their heads or floating on their backs), have kids listen for sounds underwater. Try clicking noises or humming. Submerged ears also hear breathing sounds very clearly. So, this could be a breathing practice, too. Remind kids that sound waves travel well underwater, and their bodies are made of water, and this is why chanting OM is so relaxing. In fact, as kids float on their back, have them chant OM and report back on what they hear!
Dolphin Breath: Another fun breathing activity is blowing bubbles. Children breathe in through their nose, then either squat or fold to submerge their noses. They then exhale s-l-o-w-l-y through their noses, trying to create a long smooth bubble stream. It would be a great contest: who can blow bubbles the longest?
Seaweed: Balance poses are tough on land; imagine balancing in a pool! This is a fun, kinesthetic way to work on grounding and focus. Using Tree pose, for example, have kids try the pose in the shallowest possible water. Remind them to find a focal point and press their foot into the pool bottom, like seaweed growing roots in the sand. How does it feel? Move a bit deeper. How does the pose change? Keep moving deeper and compare. Notice, too, if full lungs or empty lungs make it easier.
Orange You Grateful: Depending on the kids’ swimming skill, play “Pass the Orange” while floating (this is a big challenge) or in very shallow water, seated at the bottom. They could hold a pool noodle under their arms and float to pass the orange, too. To play, kids make a circle, and pass an orange (or a ball) using only their feet.
Sleepy Starfish: Using floats, pool noodles, or life jackets, kids can experience savasana as a sleepy starfish, on their backs, arms and legs spread out. The children won’t be able to hear you when their ears are underwater, but with a short explanation, they can give it a try. Then you all can spread out on the deck to dry in the sun for a more traditional savasana.
These are just a few ideas. Challenge the kids with other poses to try in the pool. Even sun salutations can be fun as they explore yoga and breathing in a whole new environment.
Like what you read here? There’s so much MORE to explore and learn with Kidding Around Yoga. Check out our website for our live and online teacher trainings, Yoga Alliance-approved 95-hour RCYT trainings, specialty online courses, original music, merchandise, and beyond! KAY even offers a 6-hour workshop designed to make yoga-based activities part of your family’s daily routine (KAY in the Home).