By Risheek Priyadarshi, contributing writer
Life is not always fun and games; at least that’s what you may have been told growing up. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to apply to yoga, especially when it comes to kids.
Whether you want to teach yoga to a large group of kids, teach in a classroom at a school, or are throwing a yoga party, we have you covered with different yoga games to play. Read on to find how to do yoga games with large groups of kids!
How to Approach Teaching YOga Games with Large Groups of Kids
If you are new to yoga or to teaching, you have come to the right place. To learn how to start your own classes, you may want to consider becoming a registered children’s yoga teacher online. Additionally, you can also get certified to teach online.
Once you’re a certified yoga instructor, the first step to teaching yoga games to children is to create a lesson plan.
When structuring your class plan, you should ask yourself some questions. For example, what is the age range of the kids? Knowing this can help you decide which games and poses to use for your class. Another question to ask yourself: How can I better cater to those with disabilities? How will I be inclusive? If kids feel left out and their needs are not addressed, they are unlikely to come back.
You may also want to consider if there are any birthdays or holidays coming up so you can incorporate them into the games you are playing.
Lastly, do the kids need to bring their own mats or will you provide them?
Next, put together a set of rules and go over each rule with the group. Don’t just read through them and move on; make sure they understand and agree to the rules. The ground rules you create can be simple and self-explanatory, such as be respectful, have fun, and do not distract others. This will ensure a smoother class and keep things in check so you can focus on teaching.
Next up: Start off by having the kiddos introduce themselves! This makes things more fun and breaks the ice. Meanwhile, you can also turn on some music to set the mood for the fun games ahead.
Now it is to introduce what games you’ll play today!
Yoga Games to Play
There are plenty of activities to choose from when it comes to yoga games with large groups of kids. They can range from learning and practicing poses to moving around and interacting with others (if you are teaching in-person). Check out some of our favorite yoga games with large groups of kids here:
- Strike a Pose. In this game, you can choose any sort of pose for the kids to do. You can tell them to pretend that they are an animal or ask them to be a tree. The key here is creativity so make sure to point out some of the cool poses they can come up with based on what you say!
- Musical Mats. If you are in-person, this is the perfect way to incorporate movement and music. The rules of this game are simple: it is played just like musical chairs except with mats instead.
- Red Light, Green Light Yoga. In the spirit of the viral show, Squid Game, comes this (extremely child-friendly) game which is best done outside. It is just like traditional red light, green light except the person who announces red light also calls out a pose for everyone to do. If someone does not do the pose in time, they get eliminated from the round.
- Yoga Tag. This game is just like freeze tag and involves running, so it also is best done outdoors. One or two kids go around tagging everyone. Those who get tagged are frozen until someone comes along to unfreeze them. The catch is that in order to become unfrozen, the two kids must do a yoga pose for five seconds. Then, they’re free to rejoin the game!
- Yogi Says. This game is just like Simon Says! It’s also similar to Strike a Pose, except this time the kids have to follow exactly what pose you say, so it does not involve making up your own poses. Kids who do the wrong pose are eliminated from the round.
- Guess that Pose. This is similar to charades. Pair off the kids into groups of two. One child does poses and the other has to guess the name of the pose. The pair with the most correct guesses wins!
These are just some games that you can play with the kids. Of course, there are many more games that you can choose from that cater to online and in-person classes!
Why is Yoga for Kids Important?
Yoga is a form of exercise. To keep your body healthy, it’s important to have a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. Yoga is a prime example of exercise that also has many benefits beyond the physical activity.
Yoga Helps Manage Stress
One of the primary benefits, besides the exercise bit, is that yoga helps with stress relief. Given that the pandemic is still ongoing and some children are going to school in-person whereas others are attending class online, stress is unfortunately at the forefront of many of our lives. Practicing yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are great ways of mitigating the harmful effects of stress.
Additionally, due to the global pandemic, social anxiety has risen in children and teens. Along with being a stress reliever, practicing yoga can help with social anxiety. By doing a shared activity and playing games, it becomes easier for kids to socialize with each other. If the social anxiety is too great, however, children can practice poses with their parents until they feel comfortable coming to larger sessions with other kids. By practicing with their parents, they can associate yoga with happy memories, which in turn will help greatly when they are out of their comfort zone.
Yoga Can Improve Self-Esteem
Along with helping calm anxiety, yoga can improve self esteem. It is a non-competitive activity and children can progress at whichever pace suits them best. This means improvements in their technique will not be showing at the same pace as others and that is absolutely okay because there is no “winning”! When they finally master a difficult pose, it can be extremely validating and a total confidence booster.
How to Keep Kids Engaged
No matter how good of an instructor you are, sometimes children just want to goof around. If that is the case, check out this article on how to become a better yoga teacher and keep kids engaged!
And remember these tips:
- It pays to be goofy! Embrace your inner child and get creative with how you interact with the kids. If you are playing games like Strike a Pose, feel free to also put together wacky poses so you can laugh along with the children.
- Creativity is the way to go. If you keep things fresh and new for the kids, it is far less likely that they get bored and lose interest in the lesson or the game.
- Preparation is key. If the game you are planning on playing involves props (such as yoga pose cards, etc.) make sure to make or bring them! It also helps if you know the rules of each game and can simplify them so it is easier for the kids to remember how to play..
It’s All Fun and Games
Now that you know some games to play, we hope you feel more prepared for any class with a big group! Remember that, in the end, it’s most important to have fun playing the games!
We hope you and the kids enjoy your time learning new yoga poses, socializing, and playing games.
Risheek Priyadarshi is a contributing writer for Pretzel Kids. He recently graduated from Santa Clara University after studying economics, math, and computer science. His hobbies include a rekindled passion for yoga, running, boxing, and reading!