Do you need ideas for your yoga or physical education classes?  Here, I talk about a couple of yoga games that will increase children’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional wellbeing.

 

Toe-Ga

The foot is the foundation for all standing yoga poses.  Energy comes from the feet, allowing us to ‘lift’ in our postures.  Proper technique comes from the feet.  Encourage children to notice their feet so they develop an early awareness of how correct alignment can alleviate many ailments (back ache, knee joint pain, hip imbalance).
This yoga game is wonderful to help bring calm to your group.

Benefits

Physical – This game encourages foot dexterity. The gripping sensation allows the toes to build strength and the foot to develop the arches.  

Social – Consider teams to encourage working together.  Can be done as an individual game too.

Intellectual – Working out strategies to get the cotton balls/ pom poms onto the mat.  Counting how many you have at the end of the game.

Emotional – A game that promotes concentration and focus.  Builds resilience and good sportsmanship (winners/ losers).

How to Play

1. Place yoga mats around the room.  Use enough for one per person or have designated mats, if working in teams.
2. Throw a selection of cotton balls or small pom pom balls into the middle of the room.
3. Have children start on their mats, on go, they move to the balls and pick them up by scrunching them in their toes.  They then walk back to their mats and drop them there.
4. You cannot use your hands at all in this game, just your feet.
5. Once all balls have been collected, children then count how many they have on their mats.
6. This can be a game where there are winners or a game that is non competitive.  

Just a note on competition

My yoga children love a bit of competitiveness so we often play to see who can collect the most.  Even during this scenario, the children are not rushed, they are mindful and the focus is there.  I think we are so worried about hurting children’s feelings with being a loser, they forget how to be resilient.  Children cannot be winners all of their life.  Sometimes there will be disappointment.  How they cope is the important point here. What better way to teach the art of resilience and being a good sport, then in the safe sanctity of the yoga class, playing yoga games.

Crabs and Seaweed

This is a great spatial awareness yoga game.  Children need to move their bodies fluidly and with control, whilst looking out for others who are moving.  There is a certain element of ‘danger and excitement’ that the children love; that is, trying hard not to get caught!  This game is therefore, perfect when your group needs to let go of some energy!

Benefits

Physical – Gets children moving.  Encourages children to be aware of the space they are moving in.

Social – Crabs have to work together to catch the seaweed.  This game enhances teamwork and collaboration.

Intellectual – The crabs have to develop a strategic plan so they can catch the seaweed.  This taps into their creative thinking.

Emotional – Some children don’t like to be caught.  Some children are not good at ‘going out’.  This game helps to develop skills that encourage fairness and fair play.

How to Play

1. Set up your mats in a big circle.
2. Start with 2 crabs in the middle of the circle.  Crabs must stay in crab pose (reverse table top) the whole time.
3. Seaweed cannot go outside of the mats but depending on the size of the circle, they can go on the mats.  If they step outside of the circle, they automatically become a crab.
4. The 2 crabs try to tag the seaweed as they quickly walk around the space, waving their arms and wiggling their bodies creating a ‘jelly’ movement (like seaweed).  The crabs tag by using their hands or their feet, while in their reverse tabletop position.
5. As the seaweed are tagged, they become crabs.
6. The last seaweed standing is the winner and can become the first crab in the next game.

Contact Nic at South East Yoga and Wellbeing, if you would like to know more about yoga games for children or to book in an Educator’s Workshop or School Program.  
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