Ways To Make Yoga Fun For Kids
Wish to get your kids involved in 'boring' yoga? You should, especially since this art form comes with a host of benefits for both body and mind. Let's make it fun with these interesting games!
By Rohini Manohar
As an adult who has experienced the benefits of yoga on the body and mind, my desire is to share this uplifting experience with people everywhere.
In an era where childhood depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning difficulties are increasing, it is essential to teach yoga to our children. It will keep them healthy, help them cope with stress and cultivate inner strength.
A lot of parents tend to push their children into doing yoga. Unfortunately, if yoga isn’t taught well, children begin to think of it as ‘boring’. This could lead to a lifelong aversion towards an art form that has the power to make their lives better.
It is also important to note that children learn differently from adults. In fact, the brain understands concepts in distinct ways during various stages of a child’s growth.
A toddler is just learning to process the information at his disposal. Thus, almost all the learning happens through a ‘see and copy’ mechanism. From the age of four to eight, a child begins to develop cognitive ability and his understanding increases. This is the time when the mind gets easily distracted and prompts the child to test his boundaries. Thus, the practice needs to be fun and exciting – filled with stories and games. From the age of 9 to 13, the child seeks more information and desires to be treated like an adult.
To get your young children interested in yoga, here are some simple and engaging games that you can play with them:
Yogi says: This is a simple game. It works much like the game Simon says. The parent says – “Yogi says flap your legs like a butterfly” and get the children to come into Badhakonasana. Next, try saying “Yogi says be as still as an eagle” and get the children to get into Garudasana. Continue using both English and Sanskrit names to keep the children guessing as to what might come next. Interesting? Try it now.
Yoga Pictionary: You can play this game with your family or a group of children. Divide the children into two groups – Group A and Group B. Whisper the name of an asana secretly to the children of Group A. For instance, whisper in their ears Dhanurasana (bow pose). Ask them to give instructions to Group B to make the posture. Most of the time, children may not be able get the posture right, but it surely will be a lot of fun.
Partner Yoga: Doing yoga poses identically with your partner, offers another wonderful way to mix things up. Not only does working with a friend keep the session interesting, it encourages cooperation and builds problem-solving skills. You don’t have to get too fancy—a side-by-side tree pose or back-to-back easy-seated pose is usually enough to keep things interesting.
Let’s Freeze: This game works much like lock and key. Get the children to run around. When the ‘catcher’ touches one of the ‘runners’, she should freeze in a yoga posture until someone releases her.
Complete the Mantra: Chanting mantras is naturally soothing to children. It helps them calm down easily. After a yoga session, chant a few mantras. Stop after chanting the first few words of the mantra, and allow your children to chant the rest. Your child will be excited to complete your sentences.
While playing these games, it is important that you do not forget the importance of play. Sure, yoga is important, but try not to make it boring and dull for children. While you should establish a certain amount of structure and routine, remember to give plenty of space for creative expression. Nourish imagination, ask for children’s insights, and then genuinely listen to what they have to say. Happy yoga-ing!
Rohini Manohar Is The Founder Of Chennai Yoga Studio.
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