I love creating new games to use in my kids yoga classes. Kids naturally love to play games and they are a good way to get them moving. Games also lead to laughter and fun which helps build community and friendships. Yoga Games such as the Kids Yoga Obstacle Course are also the perfect way to practice all of the fun yoga poses that the kids have been learning.
How to Create a Kids Yoga Obstacle Course:
Kids LOVE obstacle courses and this is one of my favorite ways to get kids moving in healthy and good ways. This is exactly what kids need as their school days involve a lot of sitting as well as the national increase of video games and screens.
Every kids yoga class that I teach follows the Go Go Yoga for Kids Lesson Plan Format. This lesson plan framework ensures that kids are getting exactly what they need with breathing exercises, poses, movement, teamwork, mindfulness and more.
Select 4-5 poses that you want to introduce to children. I use the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards as visuals for the poses. I will place the selected cards into a colorful gift bag and allow the students one at a time to draw out a pose to learn. After the yoga poses have been introduced and practiced, it is the perfect time to begin The Yoga Obstacle Course!
Be creative with this! Please do not go out and buy anything. Use whatever objects you have available to make an obstacle course.
Obstacle Course Prop Examples
Hula hoops laid on the ground to do high knees through
Jump ropes laid parallel so kids can jump across them like a river
Cones to jump over or hop to
Yoga blocks for stepping stones
Yoga mats placed end to end for bear walks, log rolls, frog hops, etc.
The ideas are endless for using creating different obstacles and I do like to change it up to keep things fresh and fun.
Place the objects in a large circle. Between each obstacle I place a yoga mat and a Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Card.
Get Ready to Go!
First, I demonstrate how to go through the obstacle course. I make a big show out of hopping through the “rings of fire,” (hula hoops) or carefully crossing over the “icy river on blocks of ice” (yoga blocks).
Kids are completely mesmorized as they watch you carefully navigate through the obstacle course. Be sure to pause after each obstacle to hold the pose on the yoga pose card.
Next, I put on some fun music and it is the kids turn to move around the obstacle course and perform the yoga poses that are shown on cards. They love this and would do it forever if allowed. I recommend not letting the obstacle course go on “forever” as you want to keep things fresh and fun. Learn more Secrets to Teaching Yoga to Children here.
Tag is one of the classic yoga games for kids and often a favorite. They love playing with this twist by using Triangle Pose. First, learn how to safely teach Triangle Pose to the children and practice this pose with them.
Once everyone has practiced Triangle Pose then you are ready to play Triangle Tag!
How to Play Triangle Tag:
Materials: None, but sometimes when playing tag with children I recommend using these “pool noodles” as they help with tagging and any accidental pushing. I cut the pool noodles to around 12 inches which provides the perfect size to whoever is “It” to safely tag the other children.
Determine out of bounds lines dependent on the size of the group. Select one person to be “It.” The person who is “It” chases the other kids and tries to tag them.
When she successfully tags a player, the player must freeze in Triangle Pose.
Triangle Pose creates a tunnel which another player must crawl through to unfreeze them.
If a player is tagged while trying to unfreeze another, they must stand in front of the person and do Triangle Pose as well. This creates a double tunnel for someone else to crawl through.
The game continues until all runners have been frozen, and then a new person becomes “It.”
Introducing and teaching yoga to children is one of my favorite things to do. I love coming up with new and different ideas on how to actively and effectively engage children with yoga. I want them to learn, be engaged, and have fun. As I am fully aware, an adult yoga class is not like a kids yoga class. Adults do yoga for many different reasons including all of the mental and physical benefits. Kids on the other hand, will definitely receive these benefits, but in the beginning their main desire to learn and try some new things and above all to have fun!
Kids learn, and respond differently than adults and having an understanding of where children are coming from will give you an insight into how to reach them. I want more than anything for you to successfully introduce the wonderful world of yoga to children.
I know you have some pretty amazing ideas for introducing yoga and mindfulness to children! Nothing can be as disheartening as not the kids not responding or listening. Kids need yoga and mindfulness today. They need you!
Having a few techniques and strategies up your sleeve will help get and keep your students’ attention. Learn how to deal with a child that doesn’t listen.
Important Note:To help keep their effectiveness, please do not overuse one idea.
Use What You Have
Look around you! What in your surroundings do you have that you can use to your a
advantage to help get your students’ attention? I love utilizing the lights in my classroom and it works amazingly well to get everyone’s focused and ready for what we are doing next. A lot of times after a large group active movement or busy activity or game, I like to dim the lights which then automatically brings the energy back down. I also like to dim
the lights or turn them off for the beginning of our Building Community section of the class and definitely the Stillness and Savasana at the end.
I am also very fond of using the Whisper Technique. If you get quieter, they will get quieter as well. Try this. It really works with those younger ages.
Use Nonverbal Cues
Kids really respond well to nonverbal cues. It can be easy to tune out someone’s voice if you are hearing it for a long period of time. This is true for adults as well! Having a non-verbal cue that is age-appropriate is an easy and wonderful way to get your students’ attention. Raise your hands in a way such as peace fingers raised, hands in mudra, or hands-on head etc. when you want to get everyone’s attention. They will then follow suit when they see this action. I also love the fact that when children are doing something with their hands; they aren’t touching one another! This is a favorite way of how to deal with a child that doesn’t listen
My favorite! I love love love using props in my kids’ yoga classes to help get and keep students attention. Balls, puppets, scarves, bells, books, anything seasonal related and I am popping it into my kids’ yoga bag to take along to my classes. One item that I use every single class is The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards. I select 4-6 poses that we are going to work on in class and they provide a wonderful visual for practicing and for games.
Keep in mind that yoga props can be things that you have at home. Preschool-aged kids respond well to stuffed animals whispering in your ear about what you are doing next while older kids enjoy anything that they can use for balance practice such a beanbags or puff balls for breathing games.
Ready for more?! Our onlineKids Yoga and Mindfulness Online Teacher Training includes an entire training chapter focused completely on class management and how to deal with a child that doesn’t listen. After all, you have the amazing lesson plans and ideas so let’s be sure that the class is ready for them!
You can do this! I don’t want you to look at this as you should do, but instead, something that you can do! Think of it as Why Kids Need Yoga Now and what you can do to help introduce it to them. The good news is that it is easier to teach yoga to children now more than ever! There is something very satisfying about teaching children and helping to instill lifelong skills and benefits. I promise teaching yoga to children isn’t hard. We have a step by step proven format. It is something that you can do! I am here to help you.
Why You Should Teach Yoga to Kids
# 1. Kids Need Yoga Now
Our world is changing, and our kids face different challenges and commitments then they have in the past. There are many demands on kids’ time and pressure to do well and be successful at what they are involved in. This includes school, family, friends, sports, quickly changing technology, and other interests. That leaves us with kids who have a lot going on as they try to figure out a way to balance it all.
Kids need to learn how to be able to work through these demands in healthy and responsible ways. Yoga is a skill that can benefit all kids no matter what activities they are involved in or what their interests and abilities are. Yoga meets everyone at any stage and provides incredible extrinsic and intrinsic benefits. Discover the Super 7 Benefits of Yoga for Children here.
Kids that practice yoga are getting stronger mentally and physically. They are healthy, strong, and more confident. Not only this, but it can help them in school, in their extracurricular activities and absolutely their day to day lives.
#2 It is Easier to Teach Yoga to Children Now More Than Ever
When I first started teaching yoga to children there were not a lot of resources available about the best ways to teach children yoga. Since children learn and respond differently than adults I knew yoga had to be taught in a different way than an adult class.
I used my background in Early Childhood and my Master’s Degree in Education as I reviewed and researched child development and the best ways that children learn. I had to figure it out and spent hours and hours researching, writing kids yoga lesson plans, trying them out with kids, and modifying to know exactly what works for teaching yoga to children.
I wanted these kids yoga lesson plans and classes to be engaging, beneficial, and memorable for kids.
Go Go Yoga for Kids prides itself on making yoga for children doable and FUN for the kids AND you to teach. I want you to succeed in teaching yoga to children.
I am excited to share 20+ years of teaching kids compiled for you into 6 hours in our online Kids Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Training. I spent years figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for teaching kids yoga. I researched, tried, and tested during hundreds of kids yoga classes until I figured out what really worked! Stop wasting your time trying to piece random things into something that works.
I want to make this easy for you. I want you to be able to completely go into any kids environment (studios, camps, clubs, classes, at home) and confidently introduce children to yoga. I know you can give those children quality and inspiring classes. It is so exciting and truly makes such a positive difference.
#3 It is About Making a Difference
There is nothing like seeing the kids faces full of contentment at the end of Savasana. It is about watching the kids master a pose after working on it for weeks. It is about seeing a child take a few deep breaths before starting a test or before a soccer game. These kids are in tune with what their bodies need and that is so important. It is all about giving children the tools that they will have for life.