Creative Yoga Games For Kids
Developing creative yoga games for kids can be challenging. It’s well known that keeping a child active is a vitally important part of their health. Developing an active lifestyle early in childhood can make it easier for them to form active habits in adulthood. In a country where physical activity is decreasing, and chronic illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and obesity are increasing, it is more important than ever to help our little ones start their journey to wellness early. I would like to share with you how you can do this with Yoga designed for children.
There are eight limbs, or areas, of Yoga. The most prominent in the United States is the third limb, Asana. Asana is the physical expression of Yoga and is what most people think of when it’s brought up in conversation. This includes all of the physical Yoga poses and postures and would include everything in a studio or gym class.
While Asana is just one of the limbs, its value in increasing the health and wellness of participants is enormous.
This is true for all Yoga students, young and old. Just like adults, children need ways to get active and healthy. For children though, it really helps their motivation if these ways are fun and engaging. Some kiddos even ASK for exercise through hyper behaviors. Constant expression of these behaviors can be labeled in many ways, and are often considered behavioral “problems” or disorders.
For many children, these behavioral patterns are not something that is fundamentally a part of their ontology but is an expression of their needs. Kids need breaks. In addition to the common practice of napping, children also need awake breaks. Schools across the country are calling these “movement brain breaks”. Brain breaks allow the students to release any built-up energy and provide an outlet for self-expression. Oftentimes, fun Yoga games are included in this curriculum.
There are many ways Yoga can help kids stay active and healthy. The first way is all about atmosphere. Yoga sets a calm mood that can help to reduce stimulation and distractions in your child. We can add to this in our homes and classrooms by turning down the lights and playing soothing music. After stretching, and quiet time the child may feel less anxious, and more mentally prepared for the rest of their day.
Yoga also promotes and regulates breathing. Pranayama, the fourth limb of Yoga, is the practice of deep breathing, which helps hyper children relax and gain more control over their senses. It has also been shown to improve mental health and aid in digestion because of the increased blood circulation throughout the body.
The physical practice of Asana is all about routine. This is a great way to keep kids engaged without overwhelming them. Yoga allows children to practice consistency and repetition, which leads to improved focus and ability to plan and think ahead.
The last of many, Yoga can boost the self-esteem of any aspiring Yogi. As children learn to do new things and improve their balance, flexibility, and strength, they may feel better about themselves. Yoga encourages students to keep practicing and to love their bodies as they are today. The Yoga journey is one of discovering the wholeness that has always been within.
We all know by now that it’s super important to keep kids moving and active. Yoga does this and so much more. As we have learned, Yoga promotes healthy living, mindfulness and allows the student to prosper physically and emotionally. We can help our youth stay happy and healthy by introducing them to the Yoga we know and love, with a fun twist. These Yoga games do just that.
Yoga games in this post can be done in a classroom setting or at home to bring a little more fun and activity to your children’s day.
If you are a teacher or are planning on doing these games with a group of kids, you will want to lay out some ground rules. In my experience, Yoga in the classroom goes much smoother if all of the students know what is expected of them. We can support them in this way by explaining the “goal” of our Yoga class and all of the rules. This will help them to identify their emotions, and then attribute a positive activity to them. So, hopefully, in the future, they can use the tools they have learned to self-regulate.
A Foundation of Yoga Rules that Keeps Class Fun
- Explain to your children that throughout class you will demonstrate, THEN they will copy what you do. This keeps everyone’s attention on you, while you are explaining how to be safe in the poses
- Let them know there will be a time to make animal noises, but while doing so, they must maintain inside level voices. I often describe this to my students as “staying in control” and not going “out of control”
- Remind your students that they need to try to keep their personal space bubble, and never to put their hands on any other student unless it is apart of a pose or game
- Lastly let your students know that in Yoga we use our eyes to watch and our ears to listen!
Setting this foundation of rules will help you to maintain control over your classroom so that their (and your) Yoga experience can be stress free.
The Yoga Statue Game
This is my favorite game to play with children who have learned anywhere from 10-20 Yoga poses, and are needing a review. This is a quiet game, with no talking and is run without your help. So it’s an easy way to be able to evaluate your students or children to see how they are absorbing the content.
The goal is to be the last one standing in the circle
How to Play
- Set up Yoga mats in a large circle (if you don’t have mats designate a space for your kids to be within)
- Tell all the participants to stand up in mountain pose
- Choose one participant to be “the monitor” and have that person stand in the middle of the circle
- The monitor’s job is to turn in tight circles in the middle of the large circle and catch students on the outside of the circle if they move. In this way, the game is kind of like “Simon Says”
- The students on the outside of the circle are required to move from Yoga pose to Yoga pose, without being seen by the person in the middle
- The last one standing wins! Then they get to be the monitor and go in the middle next round
- The monitor must keep turning in a circle, they cannot stand in one place
- If you are on the outside of the circle, you cannot argue with the monitors decision
- If you are seen moving, or fall down and are seen, you are out and have to sit down in easy pose
Cotton Ball Races
This game helps teach breath control. It also focuses on coordination and patience.
The goal is to get your cotton ball across the finish line first, using only your breath
How to Play
- This game requires at least 4 participants
- Set up 2 mats next to each other with about 2 feet in between them (lengthways)
- Make two “bumps” in the mats making sure they are equal and evenly spaced
- Set up 1 mat 4ft in front of the others (sideways) this is the finish line. You can use string or any other type of dividing line as well
- Pick the first “round” of competitors (2) and give them their own cotton ball
- The goal is for the competitors to use their breath to move their cotton ball over their mat, and over the bumps, you have created until they reach the finish line
- The winner of the first round goes on to complete in the next until there is one winner!
- You can only move the cotton ball using your breath, not your hands. You can enforce this rule as strictly as you like
Partner Pose Creation Challenge
This game requires Yoga pose cards. You can buy them, create them yourself, or have your kids create them! This game is great for older yoga students who have learned many yoga poses already.
The goal of this game is to come up with the most creative way to combine two yoga pose cards into one yoga pose
How to Play
- Make sure you have an even number of participants
- Each student has a yoga pose card, and assign them each one partner
- Pick an area for each set of partners to be so they have their own space. You can use Yoga mats if you like
- Set a timer for one minute
- After a minute, the partners with the most creative use of their cards wins
- Some parts of your bodies have to be connected or linked
- Nobody can be holding anybody’s body completely off the ground
- Both poses have to be used as true to form as possible
Yoga Red Light, Green Light
This game can be played with as few as 2 participants, and is appropriate for all ages and experience levels.
The goal of this game is to cross the finish line first, moving from Yoga pose to Yoga pose, only during green & yellow lights
How to Play
- One person is chosen as the “Yogi Master” this can be you, or a student.This person is the judge at the finish line
- All of the rest of the participants line up at a wall, in a line
- A mat or line of mats represents the finish line, as far as you want away from the wall. Younger students might want a smaller distance and older may need a larger
- The Yogi Master will signal the start of the race, by saying “green light” and will be the judge to see if any participants break the rules and get out
- The participants will then do their first Yoga pose and move as far forward as possible without walking or running
- This process repeats until the first participant gets to the finish line, and becomes the next Yogi Master
- You can only move during Green & Yellow lights
- During Yellow lights you must move into your Yoga pose in slow motion
- If you move or fall down on a red light, you’re out
- If you walk or run, you’re out
- There is no arguing with the Yogi Master
I sure hope you enjoy these Yoga games! Feel free to comment and reach out to us if you have any questions, or fun Yoga games of your own you would like to share!