Earth Day presents a great opportunity to teach kids about appreciating their connection to nature and the earth. I taught an Earth Day themed kids’ Yoga class recently and came up with some great activities to share:
- Astronaut Breath: Pretend to go into outer space so you can look back down to the earth. Since it’s very quiet in space, all you can hear is your breath. Astronaut Breath is done by keeping your teeth together as you breathe in and out through your mouth, making a swishing sound like ocean waves.
- Outer Space poses: Now that the kids know how to do the Astronaut Breath, they are ready to imagine being space explorers. Start in BABY CROW, which I call “blast-off position”, I counted down 5-4-3-2-1 and said, “Here we go up!” Kids then slowly start to rise up, past the MOUNTAINS, past the STARS. Stay in STAR pose and float around a bit, free through space.Then add Astronaut Breath to your star pose – open hands wide with each swooshy inhale and close hands into fists with the exhale. Float and breathe for five or so breaths, depending on the age and attention span of the children. You can take turns describing what Earth looks like from way up in space. When it’s time to head back to Earth, begin to slowly lower down past the MOUNTAINS again and land softly in your SEED pose (like CHILD‘S pose).
- Earth Day Salutation: Salute different elements in nature by having kids repeat what you say and copy what you do, just like in this video. The sequence is a variation of a Sun Salutation. The wording is simple, and goes with the movement: “Hello Sun! Hello Earth! Hello Rain! Hello Wind! Hello Ocean! Hello Wind! Hello Rain! Hello Earth! Hello Sun! Namaste.”
- Earth Day Garden: Spend a few minutes chatting about good ways to do nice things for the earth. This can lead to lovely discussions about conserving resources, pollution, and recycling. I like to share how my garden connects me to Earth and all the living things. For this activity, tell kids to find a special spot on the earth (in the room or on their mat) where they will plant their seed. Remind them that we are calling Child’s Pose SEED pose for Earth Day. Tell the kids that you will go around the room with your rainbow wand (a small stick with several different colored ribbons tied on the end so they hang down), which they’ll feel lightly brushing their back, like rain sprinkling. When the children feel the rain on their back, they slowly sprout into the shape of a FLOWER or TREE. When everyone is grown and blossomed, take an Astronaut Breath in and out together.
These Yoga activities are just a starting point. Add in more songs with some music from Kidding Around Yoga. Songs like Every Little Cell (because when we take care of the earth, we feel good) or Jogging Through the Jungle (to talk more about animals) are fun, energetic additions to a kids’ Yoga class.
The sky is the limit – just think of teaching your young Yogis how to say namaste to the Earth!