Even though we are still in a pandemic and can’t attend the Fair in person, why not do a Fair-Themed Yoga for Kids experience! We may not be able to experience the smells, sights and sounds of the fair this year, but we can still celebrate in our own ways. The following is one of my recent Yoga for Kids classes that you can participate in with your family for your own safe family-friendly Fair.
HOUSEKEEPING. My kids look forward to our yoga classes, but the class is more successful when I talk about class expectations. These are the three rules I like to use in my Yoga for Kids classes and with my kids at home.
- Listen to your body. If something hurts, feels too hard, or you just don’t feel quite right, stop right away and join us for the next pose. I want them to know it’s okay to opt out if they don’t feel good in that pose.
- Be mindful of your friend's/sibling’s bodies. Stay in your spot and in control of your bodies so everyone stays safe.
- Focus on doing your very best and having fun. It is okay if you look different from me, or your friends, in the poses. With practice, you will get stronger and find more balance. Let them know that this is their own journey. It’s okay to be at a different stage and look differently.One thing that I like to use in my class setting when things are getting a little rowdy or out of control is having me say the phrase “hocus pocus” and then I have them repeat ”everyone focus” It’s a good way to bring them back in and ready to move on with the class.
I always like to start class with the kids checking in with themselves. How are they doing? How are they feeling? I keep it simple with an easy thumbs up for feeling good, thumbs down for not doing so good and thumbs sideways for just in the middle.
It’s fun to open up the Fair Theme with a question. My inquiry for this class was to have them say their names and what their favorite summer food was. If you know they have been to a fair before then I would ask what their favorite fair food was.
Before starting my breathing exercise, I always like to do this fun trick to keep them seated for the few minutes we practice. This is what I say; “Okay, it’s time to grab your imaginary glue stick and rub it all over your hands, rub it in well, then spread it onto your bottom. Now stick your bottom into the ground. Now you are glued and cannot leave”.
This is where I explain to the kids how important it is to breath in through our nose and out through our mouth. Noting that breathing in through your mouth can cause you to feel excited or agitated. It’s important to take that breath in through our nose to help us calm down.
- Pretend you are holding a bubble wand in your hand
- Take a deep breath in.
- Hold that breath for a moment
- Then slowly breath out.
- Visualize shimmery bubbles floating into the sky.
If there is something you are worried about, maybe something right now, in this moment, or in the future, imagine the bubbles are carrying that worry away. Now let’s do that again…
Now it’s time to warm our bodies up. Take palms to the top of your shoulders bending at your elbows and start flapping your wings from side to side. You can even add your legs into it as well flapping your legs up and down.
Now let’s make a rainbow with our arms. Inhale taking your right arm to the ground beside you, exhale swoop your left arm up and over. Inhale back up, exhale left hand down right arm up and over creating our rainbow. Repeat a couple more time.
It’s time to do a basic yoga flow that you see in most yoga classes - sun/salutations. I am going to recite a poem and have you repeat after me while following my motions.
(Reach Up) – “Rise up, Sun, for all to see”
(Forward Bend) – “and shine your rays all over me”
(Monkey) – “I breathe in deep”
(Downward Dog) – “to feel my strength”
(Plank – lower down) – “I stretch my spine”
(Upward Dog/Cobra) – “to feel it’s length”
(Downward Dog) – “Pause to feel my breath flow in”
(Hold) – “Getting ready to begin”
(Jump to Hands)
(Rise Up & Reach Up) – “Rise and shine now, Little ones”
(Hands to Heart) – “Show your smile”
(Wave) – Say “Hello Sun!”
After sun salutations are done take a quick moment to stop and place your hand on heart and notice your heartbeat. Is it faster? Do you feel warmed up?
After getting warmed up and practicing our sun/salutations I like to kick it up with a song or a dance. This class I had them do the Dance, Freeze, Melt song by Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael that I on found on Spotify. When it came to the “freeze” part I would have them freeze into a yoga pose.
FAIR THEME TIME!
This is the time in the class when we bring the fair theme poses in. I like to have two kids lead this class and I follow (prepared with what they would bring up). So I would ask them, “What do you find at the fair?” All three times I taught this class, the first thing that would come up was rides. This one is the fun part too. As soon as they say “RIDES!” I say, “Do you want to go on one?” quick exciting responses of “Yes!”
To go on a roller coaster ride I would sit at the front with the kids all lined up behind backs. I played the song Rollercoaster Ride by Andrew Best on Spotify, where he waits in line, climbs on board, straps in, goes up up up, and down, As the song plays we act through the motions. Through my hand motions, we go up and back and forth and side to side.
Next we would head to the barn where we would see animals and do yoga poses to impersonate them. Bonus points if you act out the animal and the way it sounds while in the pose. Below you will find examples of some of the poses we did.
Barn: Extended Mountain Pose
Cows- cow pose-
Horse- Goddess pose
Pig rolling in the mud- happy baby
Sheep- belly breath with bahhh. Have them place their hands on their bellies and take a deep breath in, on the exhale “bahhh” like a sheep and feel the tummy deflate.
Corn- tree poses
Corn dog- mountain pose.
Mini donuts- butterfly pose
I find that when I have the class color they tend to calm and quiet down, so I like to use coloring as a before relaxation activity. I found this Ferris wheel-coloring sheet from Crayola to go along with the fair-themed class.
After coloring, if you feel like they are still too rowdy you can do a couple of cool down poses like having them lay on their back and bring their knees to their chest and then doing a spinal twist to each side.
IT’S TIME FOR RELAXATION
Gratitude: Sit quietly with hands on knees and eyes closed. (baby bunny pose)
Today we are going to think about things we are grateful for. Close your eyes, relax your body and use your imagination to think about things in nature that you are grateful for: Trees, animals, rivers, lakes, the wind, the sun and moon, rain.
Now think about things that you have that you are grateful for: a place to live, toys, books, clothes, food, and your favorite items.
Now think about people that you are grateful for: your teachers, friends, family
Now think about you and all of the special things about you that you have that you are grateful fore: your healthy body, your smile, your thinking brain, the light in your heart, your qualities that make you unique.
I want you to look inside yourself and transform into your very best self with loving and kindness. Knowing that when you are coming from this place you can help others embrace change also. Remember that you are brave, you are strong, and you are smart.
Take one deep breath in and think to yourself “I am amazing”
Breath in and think “I am special and unique”
Breath in and think “I am loving and kind”
Breath in and think “I am happy and loved”
Breath in and think “I can do anything”
Now take a deep breath and gently bring your attention back to your mat. Back to the room and your surroundings. Feel your yoga mat beneath you and the sounds around you. Wiggle your fingers and toes and stretch your arms up above your head. Gently roll to your side and come to a seated position.
I like them to do a quick check in with themselves again to see how they are feeling after class by doing the thumb check. Then look around to each of your friends, brothers or sisters, and tell them good job! Now point those thumbs in towards yourself, and say: “Good job!” to yourself. You all did so well today. You learned new things. You listened well, you tried hard poses, and you did really good things for your body and mind. You should feel very proud!
Then I always end my class by saying “Namaste” which means the light within me honors the light within you.