By Faye Martins
Teaching kids yoga classes requires creativity, energy, and variety. Children will soon grow weary of a class that is the same every single time. While you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for each class, it helps to have an arsenal full of ideas. There are many ways to spice up a class that has gone stale. Just like real life, children accept change easier than most adults. Changing themes because of weather, holidays, and seasons is easy for children to identify with. Some teachers change class themes because of the time of day and the day of the week.
Mix it Up
1. Children love when things are unexpectedly different. Have fun by teaching the class “backwards”, beginning with the cool down and working toward the warm up. Additional ideas for this theme include having the kids turn their shirts around, placing the yoga mats in the opposite direction, or allowing the kids to take turns being the instructor for a pose or two. You might even focus on inverted poses for the day, incorporating them into a story about a boy who dreams he lives in an upside-down world.
2. If you normally play quiet, soothing music, turn up the volume on some rhythmic tunes for a change. This may also set the tone for a variety of Vinyasa sequences, which are specifically designed for children.
3. Kids also love to feel like the expert. Give children the opportunity to teach a pose, pick a pose, or choose the order of events for the class period.
Develop a Challenge
1. Keep kids motivated and reaching toward a goal by creating a class challenge. You might use a large sticker chart, where kids earn a sticker each time for attendance, good behavior, or for trying a new pose. Offer a reward after obtaining a designated number of stickers, like a class dance party, the opportunity to teach the class, or free time at the end of class.
2. Create an ongoing story, where you act it out and tell only part of it each class period, to keep kids interested in what will happen next.
3. Each time you teach a new pose, add a visual image of it to a large wall chart to keep track of the kids’ accomplishments. Celebrate by reviewing the chart occasionally, praising kids for their accomplishments.
Create a Theme
Developing classes around a theme is another fun way to keep kids’ interest piqued. An animal theme might include a series of classes focusing on all of the animal poses, telling stories about animals, dressing up like animals, and becoming different animals through visualization exercises. You might even throw in some animal-themed snacks. Nature poses also fall into place nicely, as you talk about the animals’ habitats.
Remember to have fun. If the yoga instructor is feeling stale, then the kids probably are, too. Spice up the class by doing what you love, and the kids will follow suit.
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