My last few child/parent yoga classes at the after school program have been a success – I have discovered that a great way to holding the kids’ attention is through storytelling.
For example, the week before Halloween, my yoga class took a spooky, imaginary walk around the neighborhood, encountering gnarly trees with black cats in them (tree pose, cat and cow), full moons (half moon pose), and scary creatures (lion, cobra, turtle for a spider, warrior III for a witch). They really got into the poses because it was making the story more interactive. We also practiced our breathing by taking deep breaths and whispering “boo” for as long as we could.
Last week, I used storytelling again. We warmed up with a few vinyasas and then I told them a short folktale called “How the Elephant Got its Trunk.” We used poses like down dog for hyenas, cobra with snapping arms for crocodiles, forward-folding waterfalls, and jungle trees with waving vines. It was a shorter story, so after we finished, my class took turns picking poses written on slips of paper out of a jar and using them to build their own story. They seemed to like this quite a bit as well.
Here are the links to the two lesson plan ideas. I tailored and embellished them here and there to better fit my class, but these are the basic outlines: Halloween yoga walk and How the Elephant Got its Trunk (scroll half way down to find the story).