Updated: November 9, 2022
By Robyn Parets, founder of Pretzel Kids
Happy Thanksgiving! For many of you, this is the time of year to reflect on all that you’re grateful for. But Thanksgiving can also be a busy time, filled with cooking, traveling, completing tasks at work, and even starting your holiday shopping!
So, why not invite a little calm and fun into your hectic schedule with Thanksgiving yoga games and activities for the whole family? Luckily for you, Pretzel Kids yoga has some great Thanksgiving yoga activities, breathing practices and relaxation techniques that will keep you moving, grooving and easing into the holiday season with gratitude.
Here are 5 Thanksgiving yoga activities for kids that you can enjoy with your kids. We hope you enjoy Thanksgiving with your loved ones – in Pretzel Kids style.
1. What Are You Thankful For?
This is a fabulous centering activity, as well as a gratitude practice. Start by sitting in a circle in Pretzel Pose (easy seated pose). Then, go around the circle and take turns telling the group what you are thankful for.
Another option for this group centering activity: Ask a question pertaining to Thanksgiving and have each child answer. Some possible questions include: “What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? Where will you be for Thanksgiving dinner?” You can either go around the circle or place a chime in the middle of the circle and ask each child to come into the center, answer the question, and then ring the chime. They will return to their place in the circle, signaling the next child to come into the center and repeat this. Continue until all children have had a turn to ring the chime and answer the question.
2. Apple pie breath
Want to introduce breathing in a sweet way? Try “Apple Pie Breath”!
A Calming Breathing Technique for Kids
For this breathing exercise, sit with the kids in Pretzel Pose (easy seated pose) and close your eyes. Envision a warm apple pie on Thanksgiving Day and imagine what it smells like. Then, take a deep breath in through the nose to smell the apple pie deeply. After inhaling, instruct the kids to blow out the breath through their mouths to cool down the pie. Repeat two or three times. Yum!
3. Turkey trot
This is a fun yoga game for kids!
Give each child a “turkey” stuffed toy (or yoga block to represent a turkey – you can even tape a picture of a turkey to each block.) Each child will place the turkey prop on a yoga mat and come into downward facing dog pose over the turkey. Instruct the children to hop forward and back – from the top or their mats to the back – jumping over the turkey. Then, try holding plank pose over the “turkey.”
4. Strike a thanksgiving pose!
Form a standing circle and ask each child to choose a kids yoga pose that represents some part of the Thanksgiving meal (this can be a chair, a table, a placemat, a turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes – anything goes!) Then ask each child to come into the circle and get into a pose that he has created. The only rule is that the pose has to be part of the Thanksgiving meal. The children will raise their hands to guess that child’s pose. The one who guesses correctly is the next one to come into the center of the circle. Continue this game until everyone has had a chance to strike a Thanksgiving pose!
5. Final relaxation/thanksgiving visualization
Ask the children to lay on their backs and gently close their eyes. While here, ask them to think about the things they are grateful for. You might even want to try to introduce a gratitude journal before they settle in. When the children are relaxed and ready, lead them on a visualization imagining their own Thanksgiving gatherings. Who is there? What did you have to eat? What did it smell like? Who did you see? Invite them to clearly envision themselves happy and peaceful. Feel free to get creative here! Once you have brought the children back into the space, ask them to wiggle their fingers and toes, rock over to one side and sit back up in Pretzel Pose.
At this time of year it’s really important to take the time to reflect on what you’re grateful for. A gratitude journal for kids is the perfect way to help children do this – year-round!
Do fun Yoga activities for Kids!
For some more fun printable yoga and mindfulness activities for kids, we suggest this brand new gratitude journal, mindfulness activity printables, this three-jar mindfulness activity, and perhaps most importantly, these ‘Needs and Wants’ activity printables, which teach kids how to be grateful for shelter, food, clothing and family.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving from all of us at Pretzel Kids!
Robyn Parets is the founder and CEO of Pretzel Kids.