Spring is such an exciting time of new growth, change, and expectation for warmer weather after an often long, cold winter. Kids feel this too and it can be hard for them to settle down and focus as “spring fever” hits! Use this yoga lesson to encourage their excitement for Spring in a calm, constructive way.
Most of the following poses and activities can be found in Lisa Flynn’s Yoga for Children book.
Talk about the arrival of Spring and how the earth “wakes up” as new things grow and we see more plants and animals outside. Ask questions such as: How do plants grow? Do you know where butterflies come from? Where do animals go in winter? Encourage them to think about nature and how spring is a season of growing and change.
Make it Rain activity (adapted from Rain storm activity): Tell the children that they are going to make a pretend rain storm by making noises with their body while not saying anything. Encourage them to follow you. Snap your fingers and/or cluck tongues to make raindrops. As it starts to rain faster, tap your hands on your thighs. Add in wind- rub hands together. Now make thunder- stomp each foot on the floor one time. And lightning- clap your hands over your head. Alternate between wind, rain, thunder, and lightning to create a storm. Slow it down as the storm ends and end with a few raindrops. Kids love this!!
Chime Listening: Children will close their eyes or find a spot on the floor to look at as they listen to the chime. Instruct them to raise their hands when they can no longer hear it.
Ask children to sit up tall and place one hand on their belly and one on their chest. Invite them to take a slow, deep breath in through their nose as they feel their belly and chest move/fill up. As they breathe out slowly through their mouth they can feel their belly and chest move/empty. Try using a Hoberman Sphere breathing ball as a visual prompt. Kids love to watch it and match their breaths to the opening and closing of the ball.
Begin in Mountain Pose. Move into a Crescent Moon pose on each side. Next try Washing Mountain and end with Waterfall.
This is the perfect time to tell a story or read a book about spring! There are so many books out there that you can use! This week in my Preschool and Kindergarten classes I told a story about a caterpillar (cobra or sphinx pose), that ate and ate and then turned into a cocoon (child’s pose) and them became a butterfly (butterfly pose while singing I’m a Little Butterfly). The butterfly lived in a garden (tree pose, flower pose), where there were frogs (frog jumps) and bumblebees (bumblebee breath). We stayed in the garden until dark (twinkle star) and then took a boat home (boat pose while singing Row Row).
The kids and teachers loved it! The story/book and poses can easily be adapted to the age of the kids in a class.
GROUP/PARTNER POSES/CREATIVE MOVEMENT
Encourage kids to get creative as they try Partner Tree poses. Double Boat and Double Lotus can also be fun as they imagine that they are blooming flowers. For a large group, Sunflower can be especially fun as they sit in a circle with their legs stretched out into the middle. Instruct them to lean toward their toes and bow their heads as they become a Sunflower whose petals are closed for the night. In the morning the Sunflower wakes up and opens up as they slowly bring their arms up overhead and lie back wit their arms on the floor behind them.
If kids are not on their mats invite them to quietly go to their mats and lie on their backs while hugging their knees into their chest and gently rocking side to side if they like.
Guide kids through the Tense and Relax activity instructing them to tighten a body part and then relax it. Start with toes/feet and work your way up to their face. Next, offer kids a Breathing Buddy to put on their belly as they relax and take slow, deep breaths to give their buddy a ride. Try reading the At the Beach visualization in Lisa’s book (Yoga for Children)- kids love it!
To end my classes I like to say the following and the kids repeat after me:
May there be peace in my thoughts (put hands on head)
May there be peace in my words (put hands next to mouth)
May there be peace in my heart (kids hug themselves)
A spritz of lavender Magical Mist or a sticker is an easy, affordable take away!
Spring is such a special time. Sharing some of the magic of the season with kids through breathing, yoga and relaxation is one of my favorite things to do. I hope you enjoy these lesson ideas and I wish you a peaceful and happy spring!
Colleen Smith, RYT, RCYT, has been teaching yoga to kids in the Syracuse, NY area for 16 years. While Colleen had previously trained with Radiant Child and YogaKids, she decided to further her training with ChildLight Yoga beginning in 2015 and recently completed their 95-hour training program. Colleen has a M.S. and CAS in School Counseling and worked as an Elementary School Counselor in an inner city school district for several years. She started doing yoga when her son was three years old. He was a very busy child and much later was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. When he was still very young Colleen took her first training, came home and did some yoga and relaxation with him and he loved it! She has been hooked ever since! After seeing the positive impact it had on her son, Colleen began teaching yoga to local kids and families. Her business has grown and in 2014 she started BeLive Yoga. In each yoga class that she teaches she focuses on giving kids tools they can use to deal with stress and anxiety now and as they grow up. Currently, Colleen is teaching yoga in several school districts, preschools and studios. Many of the elementary schools she teaches in are in the inner city and she enjoys developing relationships with the kids there who need something positive, helpful and hopeful in their lives. She enjoys bringing yoga into schools and classrooms and seeing the impact it can have on kids and teachers. In addition to yoga, Colleen enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and volunteering.