Kid’s yoga lesson plans can be hard to create.
I know because I used to spend hours every week planning and rewriting lessons for my students aged 5-10. I teach nine 40 min lessons a day, 5 days a week. That is a lot of planning!
Now I write up lesson plans on a weekly basis, and it comes from years of experience that I can walk into a class and know what to teach and how.
Each week I have theme, and then I use that to create a class plan. As I greet each class, I read the room, gauge their energy, and teach based on that.
When I do plan lessons in advance I have to be flexible and make sure that I have a backup plan. I almost always have backup plans based on books.
I use kid’s yoga books as a choice time activity when they split into groups but I usually use regular storybooks for teaching new or different poses.
I love using stories to teach yoga to kids ages 3 to 12 because it gives the lesson a focus on something other than postures.
Kids like learning new yoga poses, generally, but it’s nice to have a focus on something else so they feel like they are playing instead of just learning something.
I also think if you teach in a school or classroom it helps when you give them the option to get up and move and maybe be silly while listening to a story. They definitely will feel like they are getting to play a little, which is good for learning.
My first year of teaching, especially, I used plenty of books that were not actually yoga books to build lesson plans.
Here are the books that I have found work best for kids yoga lesson plans:
These books work well for yoga for a couple of reasons. They have few words on each page, maybe a sentence or two (or a rhyme). They have lots of animals in the plot line, (which is good for yoga poses). Or they may have one repeating theme, that is good for the repetitive nature of yoga sequences.
Not a Box Kid’s yoga lesson plan.
This lesson based on the book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis is a favorite of mine. I like it because it is a short story, so more time for actual yoga. It also encourages kids to use their imaginations. And, it’s a really good lesson to use at the beginning of a unit on creativity.
I have used this book with kids ages 3 to 9. It may seem like a big range, but really the difference between the ages is the way that I teach, not the content. I change my voice levels and tone slightly for different ages, I use simpler words for the younger kids, and I let the older kids tell ME what they see in the story and help me figure out the poses.
Raise your hand if you have you ever had a big box to play with at home. What did you do with it? (Take a few answers)
There are so many things you can do with a cardboard box. In this book, we are going to see a bunny who is being creative and thinking about different ways to use a box. If you have ever used a box in the same way as the bunny, you can make a silent connection, like this [model linking two pointer fingers together and shaking gently].
As we do each pose, remember to keep your body safe on your own mat. Keep your voice off so you can hear the story, and everyone else can too. I’ll tell you when we get to make special sound effects.
When you hear “It’s NOT a box,” raise your hand to tell us what it IS, and then we’ll do the pose!
*Read the book, pause to take answers, then take a minute to do each pose*
If you’d like a PDF version of the Not a Box lesson plan below, *with images!* join the 7 Days of Kids Yoga and Mindfulness Freebies here:
It’s Not a Box… It’s a racecar!
Seated forward fold
Sit on your bottom with your legs and back straight. Pretend to hold the steering wheel and bump your legs up and down, go around corners and up and down hills like a real race-car driver. Make sound effects!
It’s Not a Box…It’s a mountain!
Mountain climbers and upward mountain pose
Pretend to climb up a mountain by doing standing mountain climbers: lift your feet one at a time and reach up with alternating arms as if you were climbing a ladder. Then reach up with your arms while standing tall and look up for mountain pose.
I Said It’s Not a Box…It’s a burning building!
Step your legs far apart, and bend one knee, with your toes pointed to the side and arms out above each leg. Hold warrior two while pretending to hold a fire hose and spray a burning building. Jump (or step) from one side (right forward) to the other side several times.
THIS IS NOT A BOX…It’s a robot!
Horse pose with robot arms
Step your feet wide apart, toes pointing slightly outward and bend your knees deeply. Stand in horse pose and move your arms up and down like robots. Bend and straighten your legs and make robot sounds!
IT’S NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT A BOX! … It’s a pirate ship!
Reach up high and place your leg on your calf or above your knee like the mast of a ship. Use one hand to pretend to look around for land.
It’s a hot air balloon!
Place your arms above your head like a balloon and lift one leg slowly behind you as if you are floating through the cool air. Tilt slightly forward with your torso as you do so.
It’s a circus elephant!
Wide legged forward fold with elephant trunk. Step your feet far apart and toes pointing forward. Reach forward and down with your torso, then grasp your hands together and swing them in front of you, side to side like an elephant trunk.
It’s a tugboat!
Sit on your bottom with your legs bent in front of you. Slowly lean back with your arms straight up in front of you and lift one leg at a time to balance on your bottom. Keep your spine straight and say toot toot! Like a tug boat!
It’s my Not-A-Box! (And a rocket ship!)
Stand with your feet together and your arms up high. Bend your knees deeply, then count from 5 to 1 and BLAST OFF! Jump up, then land with your arms up and sway them side to side, like a rocket soaring through the air.
And… sit down.
Let’s take some deep star and moon breaths while lying down to help our bodies calm down after all that activity.
Lay in star pose. Inhale out and make your body wide like a star. Exhale and curl your body inward like a round, full moon. Do this 3 to 5 times.
Now lay completely still and see if you can hear your breath going in and out of your nose. Try to be still like a statue, and just let your breath be the only thing that moves.
Picture a box in your mind. Imagine you are sitting or laying inside of it, very comfortable, and with someone or something that you care about. You are calm and still, and you had fun playing all day. Take a deep breath in. And let it out slowly.
Sit back up in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Raise your hand if you would like to share another thing that you could pretend with your cardboard box?
Take a few answers and if you have time, create poses for them, too!
I have used this yoga lesson many times with the book before, but you can also just play make believe and do the poses purely by showing them and talking through the story.
It also works to play them this YouTube animation of the book and then we do the sequence afterward. That is enjoyable because it gives them something different to listen to other than myself.