What child doesn’t love games? Before our lives went virtual and moved online, our classes were jam packed full of fun yoga games. Games are a crucial part of Yoga classes for children, not only to keep them engaged, but to teach them new poses all while having a good time.
As educators and kids’ yoga teachers, we want our young audience to embrace this special yoga time by bringing in elements of play, keeping them engaged and having fun. Teaching online can present its own challenges, and for me, it’s keeping children from getting distracted at home! To keep children focused and excited during virtual yoga, below are 6 fun and engaging games to play in your next class!
Game #1: Wheel of Poses
Kids LOVE this interactive and fun game. Head to wheelofnames.com and create your own unique wheel of poses. You can virtually spin the wheel and the students have to demonstrate the pose that it lands on. Play fun music to keep your students engaged.
Game #2: Yogi Says
Just like traditional ‘Simon Says’, one student is the designated Yogi. This person calls out a yoga pose for the players to do. ‘Yogi says - Mountain Pose’, and all players should stand tall. But if Yogi calls out ‘Tree Pose’ (without saying ‘Yogi says’ prior), everyone must freeze and shouldn’t move. If the player moves, they are out. The last player becomes Yogi next round.
Game #3: Stuffed Animal Balance Challenge
Get each student to come to class with their favourite stuffed animal. Throughout the class, invite students to balance their stuffy on various body parts. As you move the class through sequences this fun prop can be balanced on heads, tummies, shoulders, and anywhere else that is fun!
Game #4: Create Your Own Pose
Ask one child at a time to create their own pose and to give it a name. They can then walk the class through how to get into the pose and explain why they chose to give it that name. This is a fun way to empower children to take the lead and for them to show off their creativity. Go around the class and add on to the sequence as each child creates their own pose.
Game #5: Freeze Dance Yoga
In this fun game, children are asked to let loose and dance about while the teacher plays some upbeat music. They can jump, twist, shimmy, or whatever fun movement comes to mind. When the music stops, the teacher calls out the name of a yoga pose, and the class must freeze in that pose! Not only is the anticipation of waiting for the music to stop exciting for children, it tests their knowledge of the chosen poses.
Game #6: Yoga Challenge
While this may be a better option for older children or those with prior yoga experience, it can challenge the children’s understanding of yoga poses in a fun way. The teacher asks the group to demonstrate a yoga pose. Rather than calling out the name of the pose, they can say, for example “I challenge you to demonstrate a pose that requires two feet on the ground” or “I challenge you to think of a pose that requires you to balance”. This creates a great mind-body connection and allows them to get creative!
It’s so important for our kids' physical and mental health to stay active and connect with their classmates. Especially when we need to physically be apart, we as teachers must get extra creative to bring some fun and games back into our lives! Being at home allows the opportunity to add an extra element of connection between students. Even if it’s just letting students wear pajamas, show off their pet, or take the group for a tour of the box fort they’ve recently built - it’s a chance for our children to connect in new ways that are meaningful to them.
Written by Carrie Seibel, RYT (in training)