The 31st Olympics in Rio may be over for the athletes and spectators, but the Olympic spirit can still be alive-and-well in your kids’ yoga class. With a mat, some music, and a lot of imagination, your students can all be Olympic medal winners.
Musical Mats: Played just like Musical Chairs, kids walk around a circle of mats while music is playing. When the music stops, they all must find an unoccupied mat to strike a pose in. Get into the mood by playing the Olympic theme song. You can challenge the kids to choose poses that make them feel “strong” or “silly” or “giant” or “small”. To make it more competitive, have one less mat than children so they scramble to find a mat. The one left could be in charge of the music until the next person is “out”.
Pass The Orange: When it comes to sports, you have to be part of a great team of supporters. Build teamwork and camaraderie with a game of Pass the Orange (or ball, stuffed animal, whatever you’ve got). Sitting in a circle, pass the orange using only your feet to your neighbor, who must grab the orange with his own feet, too. Increase the challenge by starting a second orange going the other direction.
OM Cheer: Explain to your Olympians that they are going to say “Om” as long as the pompom is in the air. Then, toss a pompom gently into the air and catch it. Did they say, “Om”? Try again, this time with a taller toss (which means a longer “Om”). Continue for a few rounds, varying the height of the pompom toss. This simple activity promotes mindfulness.
Sporty Yoga: In this activity, you write several sports on slips of paper and then put them in basket. One by one, children pick a paper and read the sport. Then, learn the coordinating pose for that sport. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Swimming (locust)
- Diving (half sun salutes)
- Wrestling (goddess)
- Biking (reclined pedal)
- Basketball (reed)
- High jump (camel)
- Archery (bow)
- Volleyball (warrior 1)
4-Finger Meditation: Each child thinks of a four word phrase that starts with, “I am…” and makes them feel Olympic (strong, brave, focused, powerful, etc). So, one boy may use the phrase, “I am really fast” and his friend may choose, “I am a brave girl”. With each word, touch a thumb to a finger, starting with index and down to pinkie. These words can be repeated as a whisper or just inside their minds.
Mandala Medals: Print several mandalas to have children color as their medals. They can stick with the normal gold, silver, and bronze colors or make them as wild as they feel. Depending on time and age restraints, cut out the mandalas and hang or tape them onto the kids during a medal ceremony. You could even make up funny events that they won (Wiggliest Warrior, Chillest Crow).