Circus Themed Yoga Lesson Plan for Kids

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With most schools out for the year, let’s burst into the summer season with some awesome circus-themed yoga for kids! Get your kids moving this summer with fun activities and exercises that fuel their love of the circus.

Yoga and mindfulness are great things to practice while we have a little extra time during the summer. Get into the habit of using these skills and bring what you have learned into your daily life. 

Circus-themed yoga involves animals, games, and lots of other exciting things that get your kids excited about the circus.

Themed yoga is a super fun way to teach kids yoga and get them moving in their everyday lives. Whether you are at home, with kids in school, or in a kid’s yoga studio, themes can help engage kids in yoga and mindfulness to help them stay active and healthy.

Here’s a post with lots of pose ideas and videos for different themed yoga classes.

Yoga and mindfulness help kids form lifelong habits and healthy ways to cope with emotions. Doing yoga with your kids also encourages coordination, balance, strength, and mindfulness! All of these things you can also find at a circus! Let your child’s imagination soar with these fun and creative circus themed activities!

Start a Circus Themed Yoga and Mindfulness Lesson With Some Fun Facts About The Circus 

 To get them excited for this lesson, engage your kiddos with some fun facts about the circus:

Afterwards, ask them if they have any fun facts they would like to share 😉

  1. Many Ancient Civilizations Had Circus-Like Events. Ancient Rome had circus-like events and many ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Norse, Aztec, and Polynesian knew about juggling.
  2. There Are About 20,000 Clowns in the World
  3. The Circo Atayde Is The Oldest Running Circus. Founded on August 26th, 1888 in the Plaza de Toros in Mazatlán, Mexico, the Circo Atayde is the oldest running circus in the world and is still run by the same family!
  4. The United States Has 12,000 Circuses With Animals
  5. Circus Performers Believe That Whistling and Eating Peanuts Backstage Are Bad Luck. For good luck, they carry hair from an elephant’s tail in their pockets!

Now that we know some cool facts about the circus, let’s begin the lesson with some mindful breathing exercises.

Mindful Breathing

Try Lion’s Breath exercise to clear out any extra energy we have from our day.

  • Sit on your knees with your bottom resting on your feet.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Exhale and open your mouth wide, sticking out your tongue. Say AAAAHHHHHHH like a lion, clearing out your throat.
  • Cross your eyes for extra fun, and hold your hands up like claws!

Mindfulness Safari Activity

Another great way to engage your kids is to do a ‘Mindfulness Safari’! Your kiddos will love to see what creatures they can find in their own backyard and imagine the cool animals they might see at a circus! 

  1. Stay quiet, calm your thoughts, and move quietly during the safari
  2. Turn your senses of sight, touch, and sound onto high
  3. Search for beautiful objects and creatures to observe and explore
  4. Ask these questions during your safari
  • -What does it look like? 
  • -What color is it? 
  • -What does it smell like?
  • -Can you touch it?
  • -What does it feel like?
  1. When you find a ‘creature’ watch it in silence for as long as you want and think about these questions.
  • -What does it look like?
  • -How does it move?
  • -What colors can you see?
  1. Continue for as long as you’d like and be mindful of what you see and experience!

Circus Tightrope Activity for Kids

Spend a few minutes chatting with kids about things you might see at the circus. For this activity, tell kids to find a special spot on the ground where they will begin walking on the tightrope. You’ll need to use focused concentration for this activity and mindful breathing.

  1. Stand on one leg. 
  2. Bend the knee of the leg you are not standing on and place the sole of your foot on the opposite inner thigh or calf. 
  3. Balance. Pretending to be balanced on a tightrope. Remember to breathe!
  4. Put your foot down right in front of your other and walk a few steps toe to heel in a straight line with arms spread wide.
  5. Stop, switch sides and repeat the steps.

Circus Themed Yoga Poses for Kids

Circus performers have to become experts in balance, flexibility, strength, teamwork, and focus in order to safely and successfully do their performance tricks.

They would also no doubt master their breathing to keep them focused and present to avoid distractions from the crowds!

Make sure to mention these skills to your kiddos as as they go through these fun circus-themed yoga poses.

Heavy Weights (Horse Pose):

Stand in a wide second position with your feet facing slightly out. Bend your knees and raise your arms out at shoulder height, then press them up as if you’re lifting a heavyweight above your head.

horse pose for my many colored days, not a box robot pose, kids yoga lesson plan

Contortionist (Flower Pose):

Sit down on your bottom and press your feet together with your knees out wide. Lift your feet up and wrap your arms under your shins while leaning back slightly. Maybe work to get your feet up close to your head! Option to try one leg at a time reaching behind your head.

Balancing Acrobat (Three legged Dog Pose):

Start in downward dog with your hands and feet on the floor and your hips up high. Spread your fingers wide to keep a stable base. Lift one leg straight up for three-legged dog. Option to walk your other foot in a little and take some handstand hops!

zebra

Trapeze Artist (Locust Pose):

Lie on your stomach, lift your chest and shoulders, and look straight ahead. Reach your arms out to the side or slightly back as if you are flying through the air, ready to be caught by another trapezist from their swing.

Juggler (Star Pose):

Stand up tall with your feet slightly apart and raise your arms high above your head. Move your arms up and down like you are juggling.

Unicycle (Bicycle Pose):

Lay on your back with your knees lifted towards your chest. Behind moving your legs like you are riding a unicycle in the circus.

Acrobat (Flamingo Pose):

Stand tall and come to balance on one foot. Lift your other leg up with your knee at hip height. Reach your arms straight back like wings and lean forward slightly.

Clown Pose:

Sit on your bottom and bend your knees into your stomach, hugging your arms around them. Hide your head on your knees, then pop up and make a silly clown face!

Tightrope (Warrior 3 Pose):

Balance on one leg with your other leg out straight behind you. Reach your arms out to the sides and balance like you are on a tightrope.

bird pose for my many colored days

Trapeze Artist (Reverse Tabletop/Crab Pose):

Sit on your bottom with your knees bent. Place your hands behind you and lift your hips up, pressing your belly towards the ceiling. Look up or back and smile like you are a contortionist performer.

Cannon (Dancer Pose):

Stand up straight with your arms to your sides. Balance on one foot and raise one leg up behind you, bending it in a 90 degree angle. With one arm behind you, grab your bent leg and raise your opposite arm in front of you. Pretend you are shooting out of a cannon.

Ringmaster (Mountain Pose):

Stand up straight with your feet flat and arms at your sides. Imagine you are wearing a tall top hat and are calling out to the audience as you announce each act of the circus.

Circus Themed Books for Kids

After doing these awesome yoga poses, you might want to read some books about the circus! Books are an amazing way to introduce yoga to kids and engage their imagination. Check out these great books to use in and out of the classroom! 

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen: A great book for adding yoga poses, these circus animals lose their ship and take over a town! Can you find all the animals hiding on the last pages? Great for mindfulness as well.

If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss: A great story for imagining and trying new silly poses to go with the wild and wacky animals of Dr Seuss.

Circus Bird by Jill Croft and Erin Lawrence: A fun book for younger kiddos with lots of rhyming words, follow the bird as they meet all the fun circus animals before the show.

Circus Train by Jennifer Cole Judd: Another great book with lots of circus animals, you can also add in transportation poses with the train.

Circus Animal Yoga Poses

One of the best parts of a circus is seeing all the animals! Try these poses with your kids or students in the classroom.

Elephant Pose:

Stand with your feet wide and legs straight. Reach your arms above your head and clasp your hands together. Swing down with your arms, pretending they are your elephant trunk. Drink some water with your trunk, keeping your knees bent, then spray the water straight up and all around!

wide legged forward fold to play arm hockey with a ball inside

Giraffe (Pyramid Pose):

Stand tall and step one foot back a little, keeping both legs straight. Reach your arms straight above your head and press your palms together like a giraffe head. 

Zebra (3 Leg Down Dog Pose):

Start in Downward facing dog. Keeping your spine straight and long, lift one leg straight up behind you like you’re kicking! Do the other side and take some hops if you are brave. 

Lion Pose:

Kneel on your knees, sitting on your feet. Bring your hands to a claw shape and place them on your knees. Take a deep breath, and then exhale forcefully out of your mouth, sticking out your tongue and giving a big “ROAR”!

Bear (Downward Dog Pose):

Place your hands and feet on the ground about two feet apart and lift your hips high. Try walking like a bear using the same side foot and hand with each step forward. Then walk your hands back toward your feet and stand tall like a roaring circus bear!

Seal (Upward Dog Pose):

Lay face down on your mat with your legs behind you. Place your hands flat on the mat next to your lower ribs. Keep your fingers pointed towards the top of your mat and your elbows close to your body. Inhale as you press your hands into the mat and straighten your arms, lifting your torso and legs a few inches off the floor. Make seal noises and pretend to bounce a ball on your nose!

up dog, seal pose for my many colored days yoga lesson for kids

Circus Themed Yoga Videos for Kids

Here are some awesome circus themed yoga videos if you need or want to visualize these poses! 

Yoga At The Circus by Kinderly

Yoga for Kids- At Circus Song l Get Moving Corner l Learning Video for Kids l Homeschool Cartoons by Moonbug Kids-Learning Corner

Animal ABC Yoga Poses for Kids by Kumarah Kids Yoga

Kudzu Kids Circus Home Exercises by Kudzu Aerial 

Circus Yoga-For Children Aged 5-11 by Well Balanced Kids 

Circus Games and Activities for Kids

Balloon Game: 

  1. Use balloons or balls and divide into teams or groups. 
  2. Each person who hits the ball calls out a yoga pose to do
  3. If someone cannot do the pose in time, the person with the ball taps them with the ball. 
  4. The person who gets tapped throws the ball up and catches it while calling out another pose.

Circus Alphabet:

Get in a circle or face each other. Pick someone to start and try to name things you find in a circus starting with the letter “A”. Go through the alphabet with each person saying the name of something in a circus. See if you can get through the alphabet and then try to get through it faster than before!

Ringmaster’s Bluff: 

Materials: scarf or blindfold, circus themed small objects or toys (animals, figurines, hoops, etc), and something to put these objects in.

  1. Fill the small object or toys having to do with the circus in your bag or box. 
  2. Tie the players eyes with the scarf or blindfold 
  3. Help the player choose an object or toy from the box. 
  4. The player will guess what the object is.
  5.  If they know, they will do the yoga pose of the toy they are holding, 
  6. If they do not know, the other players will do the yoga pose. 

Example: I pull out a lion toy and if I guess it is a lion, I will do the lion pose from above. If I cannot guess the toy, my partner will do the pose.

Yogi Says:

  1. One person is selected as ‘Yogi’ 
  2. The other players must do the yoga poses that Yogi tells them to do ONLY if Yogi starts with “Yogi Says”
  3. If Yogi does not say “Yogi Says”, the players do not do the poses.
  4. Switch up the person playing Yogi so everyone gets a turn

Play with the yoga poses you have learned from the circus.

Get more ideas for Yogi Says and huge printable list here.

Circus Themed Arts and Crafts Activities for Kids

No Sew Juggling Balls:

Materials: rice, sandwich bags, balloons, small plastic cups, and scissors.

Image and Craft from Kids Craft Room 

  1. Fill the plastic cups with however much rice you would like to fill your juggling balls with. Mark with a marker where you filled the cup too so you can make balls the same shape and size. 
  2. Measure your rice out and pour it into the sandwich bag. Twist the bag closed tightly, making sure all air is out. Pull the remaining bag over the ball of rice and twist shut again. Continue until the whole length of bag has been used and you have a tight, nice ball of rice. 
  3. Cut the neck off of a balloon and put your bag of rice inside the balloon. 
  4. Cut a slightly bigger neck off a second balloon and put the balloon cover rice ball inside, hole side first. It might help to tape the ends together.
  5. Have fun and enjoy juggling like a circus juggler!

This craft encourages hand-eye coordination and focus! Teach your kids how to juggle safely with these super easy juggling balls. 

Coffee Can Stilts for Kids

Image and Craft from TeachMama

Materials: empty coffee cans, yarn, hammer, and nail. 

  1. Make two holes in the bottoms of each can using a hammer and nail. (Don’t keep the nail in the cans! It is only to make the holes in the cans)
  2. Cut two or three long pieces of yarn for each can so they can double up.
  3. String them through the holes and secure them tightly by tying the yarn in knots. 
  4. The yarn will form handles and can be glued or taped on bottom if needed!
  5. Have fun and enjoy!

This craft is awesome for teaching coordination and balance. Your kids will love getting to act like real circus performers this summer! 

Enjoy these fun circus themed yoga and mindfulness activities to do this summer!

From yoga poses, breathing exercises to crafts, books, and games, there is always something for everyone in yoga class 🙂

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