Learn with Yoga-ABC Yoga Cards for Kids
by Christine Ristuccia, M.S. CCC-SLP
Ages 2 and up
Retail Price: $20
As fun as yoga is for kids, many enjoy themselves more with a prop or other object to lead their practice. Yoga cards are great ways to learn individual poses as well as sequences, and Christine Ristuccia’s deck, “Learn with Yoga-ABC Yoga Cards for Kids” has the added benefit of teaching speech, language and literacy as well.
Aimed at children two years and older, these cards feature 26 poses, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each pose is laid out on two 5x7-inch cards: one for the child or student, and another for the parent, caregiver or teacher.
The child’s card shows a full-sized illustration of a yogi in a certain pose, with another picture of the object such pose is named for. Lastly, a bold Uppercase and Lowercase Letter is printed in the corner. For example, Downward-facing Dog includes a yogi in the down-dog posture, the image of a dog as well as the letter Dd. On the back, Ristuccia lists benefits, such as “gets your anger out,” and “calms you down,” and verbal cues to guide positioning.
The adult’s card includes a similar illustrations and verbal cues, but includes dozens of questions related to reading readiness, language development and conversation starters. Examples include "What rhymes with dog?," "What sound is at the end of "Dog" and "Do you have a dog?"
These cards offer hours of fun, if you can keep a young child’s attention that long! Luckily, the questions are optional, and if one day you focus only or a few cards including these exercises, another day you might group several together to create a sequence and focus only on the poses. (The cards are also color-coded into various types, including warm-ups, resting, basic and other activities geared towards different challenges or strengths, such as fostering creativity or calming aggression.)
Recently, two of ChildLight Yoga’s students, age 3 and 6, tried out these cards during an afternoon yoga practice with their mom. While mom tried to engage the kids with a few of the questions, the kids both seemed more interested in performing each pose, then moving on to the next. Not surprisingly, the 6-year-old yogi had a longer attention span and stayed on her mat performing each of the 8 poses chosen. The 3-year-old was in and out of the practice, walking away at times but returning when a pose looked fun.
At the end of the practice, mom asked each of the little yogis what they liked about the cards.
“They all gave me a good stretch, especially Elephant!,” said the 6-year-old, referring to the E card and its standing pose.
“They made me feel strong,” said the 3-year-old.
When mom asked what they didn’t like so much, they both said they didn’t like answering questions. (What is a great concept for a classroom or studio environment may not work as well at home.)
Mom also gave her feedback of the double card format.
“It was confusing to go between the two cards, as each one had a front and a back,” she said. “I think the publisher might have made it more simple, such as a child-friendly front and a back aimed at the grown-up.”
Besides the double cards and what might be too many literacy and language development questions, these are cute yoga cards that provide a lot of options for incorporating yoga into a child’s day. They can be used at school, playtime or bedtime and for a wide age group. ~ Amy Bevan
Amy Bevan is a freelance writer, local reporter and host of The PranaMama, an online wellness and lifestyle magazine, and frequent contributor to ChildLight Yoga's blog, The Kids Yoga Resource. She is also as certified ChildLight Yoga Instructor and Itsy Bitsy Yoga facilitator. Amy resides in South Berwick, ME with her husband and three young children.
Note from ChildLight Yoga: We are impressed with the thoroughness of this particular kids' yoga card deck - so impressed that we are carrying them in our boutique. The format and content of the deck lends itself well to uses in therapeutic sessions with occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists, as well as in children's yoga classes and even at home, as described by our guest reviewer above. Our opinion? A big thumb's up!