Young or old, children love obstacles courses. A kids' yoga obstacle course is a completely non-competitive activity that builds strength, flexibility, focus and balance skills while allowing children to move around in a structured format. Best of all, there is no need to go out and buy supplies for this activity - get creative and use items you already have in your studio or home.
Yoga obstacle courses are such a hit in our kids' classes, we try to save them for a last class celebration of all we have learned. They are also great fun at yoga parties and as a special summer camp activity. I've even had an adult yoga instructor come to our kids' yoga training and report being so inspired by this activity, they set one up for their adult class the following week (and yes, the adults are requesting it again...and again!) Ready to give it a try?
1) Begin by spreading out yoga mats around the room, enough for one for each child.
3) Fill in the spaces between the mats with other fun obstacle course activities such as using yoga blocks to make stepping stones. Have a hula hoop station and/or make a hopscotch out of hula hoops or tape on the floor. Make an eye pillow toss area using a bucket, bin or basket set about 8 ft. from a line where eye pillows are tossed. Make paths from one mat to another using unrolled yoga straps which the children have to ‘balance’ across as if on a high wire. If there are weighted balls in your studio, set up a bowling area, where the balls are rolled between two yoga blocks. Use your imagination to create your other stations. In our studio, we have an indented area in the floor in front of our back door which we affectionately call 'the gulley.' This area becomes our 'swimming pool' in our obstacle course, where one must swim on the belly.
4) Once the obstacle course is created, have each child begin on the mat of their choice, doing the relevant yoga pose for at least 5 breaths. Play fun, upbeat music such as Puntamayo's African Playground CD and begin. Again, encourage the children to hold each activity or pose for 5 or more breaths or a period of 30 seconds before moving on (can be timed by the instructor, if needed).
5) When finished, have the children assisting you in cleaning up the obstacle course materials leaving the mats out. Children then choose a mat for shavasana.
Have fun and let us know how it goes!