While yoga is often celebrated as a non-competitive activity, there are certainly times that groups and teams need to be formed in order to play a game or complete a task. As you would guess, this process sometimes leads to hurt feelings and frustration of being “left out”.
Luckily, there are tons of easy and fun ways to break a class up into groups beyond the old-school Team Captains choosing their teams, inevitably leaving one person feeling bad about being the last chosen. Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing:
Standers and Sitters (forming 2 teams): Have everyone find a partner with the same foot size. One person sits and the other partner stands. All the sitters in the group form one team and all the standers become the other team. This typically breaks up best buddies and forces kids to get to know others in the class.
Group Grabs (forming small groups): Ask kids to move around the room in a particular manner (skipping, walking meditation, hopping, downward dog, etc). When you call out a number, that is the size of the group the children have to create (so if you call out “4”, the kids should create groups of 4). Ask kids that haven’t found the correct numbered group to walk to you. Often, on the way, they’ll hook up with other stragglers and create the correct numbered group.
Birthday Buddies (forming small groups): Teacher announces that kids born in January, come into turtle pose. Those born in February sit in butterfly. March birthdays are cats. April are in cow pose, etc. These are now the teams. To form larger groups or teams of the same size, ask January through March to get into a single group in downward dog pose, April through June in tree pose, etc.
Barnyard (forming small groups): Students are given a slip of paper or popsicle stick with the name of an animal you would find on a farm. The number of different animals depends on how many groups you want to form. When the teacher says go, students begin to move around in a specific way (skipping, hopping, crawling, etc) making the sound of the animal on their paper. Add to the silliness and challenge by having students move around in the posture of their designated animal, too. Students look and listen for their matching animal to hook up with them. No human communication!
Back to Back (forming two teams): Have students stand back-to-back with a partner. Then form groups by having the younger of the two come into pretzel pose and the older into tree pose. The partner with the bigger feet could also come into turtle and the smaller feet into child’s pose.
Popsicle Partners (forming groups or teams of any size): Write each child’s name on a popsicle stick and keep the sticks in a cup or bag. The teacher pulls out sticks and announces the names that form a group. Then continue pulling sticks to form the next group, etc.