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Today I bring to you a yoga lesson plan for kids based on the book, The Great Kapok Tree.

I love this book for teaching kids about: the jungle, the rainforest, South America, environmentalism, Earth Day, community, giving, and gratitude! Honestly, it goes with so many themes, I use it every year, sometimes twice!

I love to use books and stories as a way to plan and create yoga lessons for my students in the charter school where I work.

Reading and hearing stories is a wonderful way to engage kids in learning: plus, it focuses our movement on one theme and gives us some wonderful things to talk about.

 

The yoga poses and movement in this lesson plan can be done with kids of all ages. If you work with kids in early elementary or preschool, you can look at the pictures in the book and talk about what you see while doing the matching poses and the movement.

 

Each page of the book, The Great Kapok Tree, has quite a few words so I don’t usually use it for kids younger than 6. However, the story and yoga lesson works really well for kids 6 and up.

Even preteens and teens will get a lot out of the yoga lesson because they can have discussions based on more mature themes like climate change, deforestation, and indigenous peoples.

Either way, make sure you grab a copy of the book here to go along with your yoga lesson plan!

I wrote a fully scripted lesson plan with all the full-sized pose images that you can get in my shop here.

That lesson includes:

  • Overview of the yoga lesson
  • Scripted Entrance, Warm Up exercises, Breathing activity, Discussion Questions and Story Introduction
  • Teaching tips for classroom management
  • Images of the poses with pose descriptions in the lesson
  • Full size pose images to print and show with descriptions on the back
  • Community Tree/Human Mandala activity
  • Scripted Savasana
  • Printable pages for writing and drawing activity

Here’s an overview of the kids yoga lesson plan based on the book, The Great Kapok Tree.

Pose descriptions are also included below!

Entrance/Welcome (1 min):  Form a circle and do a Community Tree greeting: each person stands in Tree Pose, one at a time, joining hands with the person next to them. You can say names as you go around the circle or just stand and do tree and smile. Once the circle is complete, reach your hands high like tree branches, then switch feet as whole team.

Warm Ups (3-5 min): Go on a jungle adventure! Name all the jungle animals you can and either act out their movements or do a matching yoga pose.

Breathing (2 min): Lion’s breath: Breathe in deep while sitting on your knees. Exhale out and stick out your tongue and cross your eyes. Make a hhhaaaaaaaa sound!

Opening Discussion Question (3-5 min):

What do you know about the importance of trees?

Why do we need trees in the world?

What might happen if there were no longer any trees?

Introduction to the Story (1-2 min): This is a story about a very special tree in the jungle. We see a man who goes to the jungle to cut it down, but is taught an important lesson instead. Listen for the lesson that he learns as we read the story and do the animal poses.

Story/Movement (10-20 min): Read through the book one page at a time. Do poses that match the animals in the story.

Thinking job: is there another pose we could do for each animal?

Community Tree activity: Do tree pose as a whole community! Make a big circle and support each other in Tree Pose.  Then, try it on the floor and make some different shapes with your bodies to create human mandalas.

Relax/Savasana (3-5 min): Imagine yourself as a strong tree in the jungle, a forest, on a beach, or in a city.

Who do you shelter? What is the weather like? How do you grow and stay strong?

(Optional) Journaling/Creative Project (5-10 min):

Draw your tree, the animals around it, and any poses that you can think of to match the animals.

Make sure to include an environment to keep the tree and animals safe!

Here are the pose descriptions! A few images are shown, but for all of the images from Kumarah, grab the Full Yoga Lesson Plan here!

A tall tree in the rainforest (Tree pose)

Balance on one foot and rest your other foot against your ankle or your shin. Stand tall and proud like the Great Kapok Tree. Keep your hands at your heart, or reach them up like branches.

Wood Chopper

Stand with your feet wide and pretend to hold your axe high above your head. Swing down with your arms and upper body, making a “whoosh” sound as you go.

Boa constrictor (Cobra Pose)

Lay on your tummy like a slithering boa constrictor. Wiggle back and forth as if you are coming down from the tree, hissing softly.

Pollinator Bee (Butterfly pose)

Sit on your bottom with your feet together and your knees wide like wings. Hold onto your ankles or put your hands on your shoulders to make another set of wings.

Troop of monkeys (Monkey pose)

Start in low lunge and shift back so your front leg is straight. Bring your arms up under your shoulders and make monkey noises!

Birds of the Jungle (Airplane pose)

Balance on one foot and straighten your other leg behind you. Slowly lift your back let up and reach your arms out to the side like the wings of a bird.

Tree frog (Frog Pose)

Squat down to the ground with your feet and knees apart. Rest your hands on the ground, or do some frog hops!

Jaguar (Cow/Cat Pose)

Kneel on all fours like a cat. Arch your back up to the sky and tuck your chin. Then lower your tummy and chest and look forward with a strong king of the jungle gaze. Option to stick one foot out behind you like a tail!

Porcupine (Eagle Pose)

Stand one foot with your leg bent and wrap your other leg around like you are holding onto a tree. Wrap your arms up in front of you at the elbows and hold on tight!

Anteater (Forward fold with Hands Clasped)

Stand with your feet hip width distance and hang forward gently. Clasp your hands together like a long snout sniffing for ants.

Sloth (Happy Baby)

Lie on your back and reach your hands to your feet, bending your knees into your chest. Keep your back flat on the floor and rock gently side to side.

Young boy (Child’s Pose)

Come onto your knees and sit all the way onto your feet. Fold over your legs and rest your forehead on the ground, reaching your arms overhead to lengthen your spine.

The Great Kapok Tree (Tree Pose)

Balance on one foot and rest your other foot against your ankle or your shin. Stand tall and proud like the Great Kapok Tree. Keep your hands at your heart, or reach them up like branches.

Savasana (resting pose)

Lie on your back and take some deep breaths in and out through your tummy. Imagine that you are underneath a huge tree in the rainforest. You feel the warm air and the soft earth beneath you. As you listen, imagine you can hear quiet sounds of birds and animals rustling in the leaves above you. There is a cool breeze, and wonderful floral scents waft past you. Take a slow breath in through your nose, and slow breath out. Imagine the calm feeling of the tree, protective and strong, its roots going deep into the earth below you and its branches reaching tall.

 

I hope you enjoyed this kids yoga lesson based on the book, The Great Kapok Tree!

Don’t forget to check out the full-length printable lesson plan in my shop here for the all the pose images, printable writing and drawing activities, and more!

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