Spring is full of ideas to create a fun-filled Yoga class for children of all ages!
You can begin a Spring-themed class with a guided visual during meditation: kids sit in BUTTERFLY or CRISS-CROSS APPLESAUCE. Tell them to close their eyes and imagine a beautiful flower with lots of petal in their favorite color. Next, tell them to reach out and pick the flower, bring it to their noses and smell it: deep inhale to smell, then exhale out the nose. Repeat 1-3 times to focus and calm the kids.
Remind the kids that they should have a lot of petals on their flowers. Explain that together we will chant or say “Peace begins with me,” and with each word, imagine plucking one of the petals off and watching it float to the ground. Repeat a few times, getting quieter each time (you can say, “Now whisper it…” and eventually, “Now say it in your head”). Depending on how restless kids are, sit in silence for a bit, or end the meditation sooner by telling them to open their eyes.
When the meditation is finished and everyone is ready for some movement, tell a story about Spring: “At the end of Winter, when the snow melts, or rain fills the river (whichever suits the climate where you live), the river runs full and fast under the BRIDGE. Now all the HAPPY BABIES can go out to play, and they crawl around (CAT pose with small walking motions in hands and knees) the meadow to chase the BUTTERFLIES. The BUTTERFLIES are so happy to see all the new FLOWERS. A lazy DOG watches it all while sitting in the shade under a TREE.”
Now that kids are standing, we are ready for the Sunflower Salutation (like traditional Sun Salutations, but with a kids’ Yoga twist)! Start in MOUNTAIN, inhale and reach up to tickle the clouds, exhale and bring rain down from them (FORWARD FOLD to sprinkle all around your feet. Inhale, then exhale and step or jump back to DOG. While in this pose tell kids to use their dog paws (hands) to ‘dig a hole’ in the ground for a flower seed and then jump forward and lower down to SEED (CHILD’S pose). Inhale, grow up into a FLOWER. Exhale, jump or step back to DOG, stay there and ‘smell’ the new flower. Jump feet forward towards hands, then roll up to SUNFLOWER, which is just standing pose, turning the face side to side to follow the sun. This is a good way to stretch the neck at the end and you can coordinate it with breath if you go side to side a few times. Repeat the whole process as many times as you–or the kids–want.
This is a good time to play any kind of yoga game or other activity to practice poses (Kidding Around Yoga has lots of ideas). When the time comes for Secret Garden (in adult classes, it is called savasana), the sky is the limit with stories or guided visualizations you can use to help kids imagine their Secret Garden in the Spring. After, when kids sit up for pranayama, I recommend BEE BREATH or BUNNY BREATH to stay close to the theme.