Ever wonder what it takes to teach yoga and mindfulness to kids? Ask any kid’s yoga teacher and they’ll tell you that the #1 piece of advice is to always be prepared.
Kids are picky, finicky, and not afraid to voice their displeasure. Just because YOU love the class you put together doesn’t mean the kids will.
And that’s why. . .
👉 Kid’s yoga teachers know how important it is to always have backup.
Because it’s only a matter of time before one of your well-thought out lesson plans goes south.
But with your bag (or suitcase) of tricks, you won’t have to panic. Instead, you’ll dig out something different to do.
If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on teaching yoga to kids, Teach Kids Yoga Now mini-course is now open for enrollment. With 100s of resources, including already-done-for-you class plans, you’ll be confidently teaching in minutes, not hours.
Here are six essentials every kid’s yoga teacher needs to carry with them to class:
Yoga and Non-Yoga Props
Depending on where you teach, the space may already have some yoga equipment: mats, blocks, blankets, straps, etc. If you plan to visit non-yoga places, such as schools or churches, you might have to bring some of these basics with you.
Discount stores like Ross and TJ Maxx are great places to find inexpensive yoga accessories like mats and blocks.
If space is an issue, a great alternative to yoga mats are called Sit Spots. They have options for carpeted floors and non-carpeted floors.
What about non-yoga props?
This is where you start to get into the fun stuff. Take a stroll through any dollar or craft store and see what inspires you. Let your imagination connect random items to a yoga lesson.
- Pom poms
- Pipe cleaners
- Popsicle sticks
- Fake flowers
- Holiday themed materials
Stacey at Glued to My Crafts Blog shows you 100 things you can buy at the dollar store and how you can use them in your crafts and art projects.
Yoga + Mindfulness Books
Books are another favorite resource among children’s yoga teachers. Toddler, preschool, and lower elementary ages love story time. Lots of older kids enjoy story time, too, they just might not admit it.
Do a quick search through Amazon and you’ll find hundreds of yoga and mindfulness books available. You can also check out my Pinterest Board for children’s yoga books.
You don’t have to rely solely on yoga specific books. Pick any favorite kids story and have fun turning it into a yoga book. Or let the kids choose what poses they think best correlate to the pictures and stories.
If you’re searching for children’s books that celebrate diversity and inclusion, check out these 13 titles curated by PBS Kids.
A subset of yoga books are yoga decks. Each card in a deck demonstrates a different yoga pose, breathing exercise, or relaxation technique. But be forewarned, it can get addictive buying all the colorful and imaginative yoga sets available.
Most kids love games and you have so many options. You can choose to play a game with the kids on their mats, off their mats, or one that moves them across the floor.
Think about traditional games that don’t require any props or supplies like musical chairs, Simon Says, and Red Light/Green Light. You can take almost any game and adapt it to yoga or to the theme you’ve selected.
For example, musical chairs becomes musical mats. Simon Says becomes Yogi Says, and when you shout out “Red Light” the children have to freeze in a yoga pose.
👉 Make a list of your top ten favorites and keep it in your bag for quick reference.
Finally, remember when playing group games to:
- Focus less on competition and a single winner and more on kids working cooperatively.
- Let the kids have some autonomy; they love to be in charge. Show them how to be the leader then let them lead.
- Also, make sure the kids are engaged and having fun. If not, move on to a different game or activity.
fun and easy crafts
Location, age range, and length of time may be a determining factor on whether you do a craft or not. Mess level might also factor in especially since most crafts involve some combination of glue, paint + markers, and other decorations.
Don’t let a little smeared paint or spilled glitter prevent you from offering a craft because kids love them.
If you do plan to include a craft in your kid’s yoga class, keep in mind the little ones’ abilities. You may need to prepare the craft up to a certain stage ahead of time so that the younger children only have a few steps to complete it.
For example, a glitter meditation jar, has multi-steps and can be messy so you could prepare them with the instructions included in the free yoga teachers resource library, and have the kids finish the project during class.
As noted above, your local dollar store can be an inexpensive, one-stop shop for most of your crafting needs. Look for these paper craft must haves.
- Paper plates (in different sizes)
- Popsicle sticks
- Coffee filters
- Cupcake liners
- Brown paper lunch sacks
- Cotton balls
Activities is a general term that can really apply to all the kid’s yoga teacher essentials I’ve listed. However for this blog’s purposes “activities” is anything that doesn’t fall under one the previous categories.
Perhaps at the beginning of class you want to incorporate an activity that will get them moving, get them alert, or make the wiggles and giggles disappear.
You could go super simple and turn on some music and let the kids dance. There’s also the ever popular Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and the Hokie Pokie.
Conversely, you might also need to include an activity that calms the group and helps prepare them for quiet time or final relaxation. Some favorite wind-down activities include:
- Coloring sheets
- I Spy (search and find) printables
- Word searches
- Dot sticker art printables
- Mandala coloring sheets for older ages
Rounding out a kid’s yoga teacher essentials, you want to make sure you include basic supplies. Whether you’re playing a game, building a craft, or coming up with an activity on-the-fly, you’ll want to have certain supplies at your fingertips:
- Crayons (for younger audiences)
- Markers, colored pencils (for older audiences)
- Glue, tape, construction paper
- Sharpie pen (to write their names on projects)
- Wet wipes to clean up messes and messy children
bonus: nice to have
Definitely not an essential, but Meddy Teddy is many kid’s yoga teachers favorite resource. This unique teddy bear has an internal frame that allows you to shape him into any position and pose yet is still soft and cuddly.
Kids love hanging out with Meddy Teddy. They watch intently as he demonstrates how to do yoga poses or how to sit quietly in meditation. You can also purchase accessories like mats and clothes for him.
Final Tips for kid’s yoga teacher essentials
In all the above, you want to explore the theme through all the selections. If you’re doing a class on summer, make sure your bag of tricks contains props, books, crafts, games and activities that support the summer time theme.
If a few minutes into your chosen theme you discover it’s not meshing with the kids, switch to a different one. And because you’re prepared, you have an entirely different lesson plan with corresponding resources stowed away in your bag.
You probably noticed the word mentioned freqently. When you’re teaching yoga to children, the more they enjoy the activities the more they’ll remember the lessons and want to participate in future classes.
Rotate items in your bag to keep your classes fresh and interesting.
Finally, don’t feel like you have to run out and buy all these accessories at once. You may already have many of the supplies on hand like paper plates and sacks. Build up your resources slowly.