Using Yoga to explain New Years to Children

Happy New Year Everyone! Much love and light to all and may we stay on our paths of improvement this year.

With each new year we as adults tend to set our intentions high or aim for resolutions that will “better us”, whatever it is we choose to work towards may we do our best and be reminded that each day is a new page turned in a 365 page book, and we can always restart our story. This quest towards health, happiness can be a difficult concept for children to grasp. They wonder why an adult they look up to has changed a certain behavior, because one thing for sure is that kids notice everything. If I change my hair-do, wear a different piece of jewelry, get new shoes my students always know and it amazes me. So here is a yoga class for your kids to help understand positive change and what a resolution is.

New Year’s Yoga Class Sequence

For ages, 3-6 years old, 35 minutes

With students gathered in a circle, seated in Criss Cross Apple sauce, Read them the quote,

“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a Butterfly.” – Lao Tzu

Ask the class, In what weather do we see Caterpillars?

Answer: When it’s Sunny

Have children stand up and balance on Tippy Toes, arms up in the air and waving side to side have them sing, “Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun please shine down on me”

Tell the Kids, “The Sun Shines Down, so every body touch the ground”, Kids go into a Forward Fold

Ask kids, “Show me how strong you are” and have them go into High Plank, count to 3 and have them shout Chatarunga, as they drop to the floor

Play Caterpillar Song

Once on the floor, Do cobra Pose aka Caterpillar Pose for this class. Let them have some fun and inch around. Maybe make some nom,nom,nom noises to show that they are hungry caterpillars. Push up into Downward Facing Dog, come to standing.

Ask the kids, “Where do we see Caterpillars?”

Answer: “In Trees”, Have kids do Tree Pose on each leg

Ask the Kids, What fruit may grow on the tree that caterpillars like to eat?”

Answer: Apples

Time to Play the Hungry Caterpillar Game

I take out a red plush ball and stuffed plush caterpillar, I place the red ball aka the apple in-between my feet and tell the children that there is no using our hands, feet only. I pass the ball to the child next to me and they grab it with their feet,  and they pass it onto the next, the next, the next, etc. As this happens I take out the Caterpillar and begin to pass him around as well. Finally the red Ball and the caterpillar both come back to me.

I ask, what does the caterpillar do now that he is full?

Answer: It’s time for him to get in his cocoon.

Have the kids lay back with their legs up, tell them this is them hanging up side down, beginning to change, becoming beautiful, invite them begin to wiggle around, and then tell them the transformation is complete.

Have everyone sit up in butterfly pose, bada konasana. Flap their legs as everyone sings, “Fly like a butterfly, Fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly”

Next the kids have their hands on each foot and lift one leg up at a time, repeating over and over while singing, “Stretch like a butterfly, stretch like a butterfly, stretch like a butterfly, stretch like a butterfly”

Next tell the kids, “Open your Wings wide” as they come into a straddle split, gave them reach for their toes as everyone sings, ” Open your wings, Wide like a butterfly, wide like a butterfly, wide like a butterfly, wide like a butterfly”

Tell them, ” See the caterpillar did not end, it became a more beautiful and improved version of itself.”

Question: Now what are some ways we may want to become better versions of ourself this year?”

We’ll Grow like a Gorilla – Kids Squat down in yogi squat, malasana and let them gently beat at their chest making gorilla noises

We’ll Soar like a Bird – Have kids stand and balance on one leg while making Ca-Caw noises and opening and closing their arms as wings

We’ll Stand Tall and Grounded like a Mountain – Mountain Pose, Standing Pose

We’ll be Brave like a Warrior- Warrior II Pose

We’ll be Happy like a Dog getting belly Rubs- Downward facing Dog while kids make happy barking noises

We’ll be Healthy like a Horse- Three legged dog pose, while kicking the lifted leg and making Nahh! noises

We’ll be Fierce like a Lion- Tabletop pose paired with Lion’s Breath

We’ll Love More- Backbend

We’ll make more Friends – Play or sing, The more we get together Song

Have everyone stand up and hold hands, move circle in clock wise direction a few times, change to counterclockwise direction a few times, have everyone huddle into circle and than move back out and expand circle again, end with everyone huddled in and suggest a group hug.

The End.

** I have not included any pictures as I do not photograph my young students, if you have any questions or need a pose or game explained please feel free to reach out to me**

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