All kids love snow (especially those here in sunny Florida who wish it would snow all winter long). To take advantage of their enthusiasm for snow, I like to do a wintertime yoga class each winter. I went online to find images of the following winter activities and printed them on white card stock. I work mostly with children from Kindergarten through 3rd grade and they love seeing the pictures. It really seems to add to the excitement. These pose ideas came from Kids Yoga Stories. The poses with the ** are not in the original sequence.
I like to ask the kids if they have seen snow. If they have, I ask what outdoor activities they have done in the snow or what they wish they could do if they haven’t seen snow. They love to share their experiences! After some warm-up poses, we are ready to head “outdoors.” I show them the printed picture and we do the pose as directed. Often times, the children want to show their own interpretation of the pose as well. Children are naturally creative, and I love the way kids’ yoga fosters that skill!
- Snowshoeing – Mountain (variation)
Stand tall with legs hip-width apart and feet facing forward. Gently swing your bent arms back and forth while walking on the spot as if you are snowshoeing.
- Snowboarding – Warrior 2 (on both sides)
Stand in mountain pose, then step one leg back and bend the front knee. Lift both arms to shoulder height and act like you are zooming down the hill on a snowboard. Jump up to switch legs.
- Skating – Warrior 3 (on both sides)
Stand on one leg. Extend the other leg behind you. Bend your torso forward and take your arms out behind you to pretend that you are gliding on the ice like a figure skater. Switch to other side.
- Skiing – Chair
Stand tall in mountain pose with your feet apart, bend your knees, raise your arms in front or behind, and pretend you’re zooming down the slopes.
- Snowman – Squat/Goddess
Come down to a squat and bend your arms to look like the stick arms of a snowman.
- Sledding – Staff Sit with a tall spine and your legs straight out in front of you. Take your hands down beside you and pretend to hold on to the sled as you fly down a big hill.
- Toboggan – Individual
Similar to baby diaper, but put both feet on the mat and curl the mat back toward you and roll forward and back.
- Toboggan – Group Roller Coaster **
Legs around each other’s hips, lean side to side, forward and back and holler.
- Snowball – Hug Your Knees **
Curl your chin towards your chest and hug your knees in tight. Roll back and forth without letting your head touch the mat. You can even move/spin your body around in a full circle, just like you would a snowball.
- Snow Angels – Corpse-Star Hybrid
Lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched out like a star. Move your arms and legs in unison, as if you are making a snow angel. Inhale arms up and exhale them down. Breathe and relax.
Games: Choose a game or two to play, depending on time.
- Pass the Soft Toys: Pass soft sculpture snowmen or other winter-themed stuffed toys with your feet. Goodwill or other thrift stores are great places to find cute stuffed toys. Pass the items around the circle only using feet. This is a great core exercise! It also requires focus and cooperation in order to be ready to receive the toy, especially if more than one stuffed toy is going around the circle at the same time. You might be passing one to your right and another toy is arriving on your left! Also, encourage the children to notice the differences in the weight and texture of the toys being passed. The toys will each feel different on your feet, as well as require different amounts of pressure to hang on to them, depending on the size and how heavy they are.
- Snowball Fun: Crumble old copy paper from your recycling bin (I’m a teacher so I have access to lots of old papers). Toss the “snowballs” into a waste basket or other container from different distances. Then use the paper balls to have a “snowball” fight, tossing them at each other. This is just plain silly and they LOVE it! Next, toss them back into the baskets, inhale first, and throw on the exhale.
- Toe-ga: Play with white cotton balls; Pick them up using only your feet.
For our Secret Garden (guided meditation) story, we pretended it was snowing gently and we thought about how it felt as it landed on our faces. Then the kids imagined themselves as snowflakes floating up into the sky to meet up with a huge, beautiful, bright white snowflake.
We traveled to our Secret Garden following this snowflake. It filled them with a bright light and made them shimmer and sparkle! I explained to them that snowflakes are individual and unique. In real life, no two snowflakes are exactly alike. Even though at a glance, snowflakes all look the same, they are not. When you put them under a microscope, they are all different, much like us. People look similar on the outside, but we are actually all individuals, unique in the way we understand, feel and think about things!
When we landed in our secret gardens, snow was covering the ground, the trees, the stream . . . everything was covered with snow! LOTS of white, fluffy, shimmery SNOW!
I stressed individuality, thinking for themselves, not following the crowd just to be cool, being willing to stand up for what is right and for what they believe in.
Everyone left feeling refreshed from our winter yoga adventure!