The Basic Props
In addition to the basic materials for yoga, here are some basic props that are well suited to a child’s yoga practice.
Yoga Wand, Chime, or Other Attention Gatherer. To gain your child’s attention or to begin and/or end a yoga session or specific activity, try using a chime or yoga wand. They have many uses referred to throughout this book. Any object with a peaceful bell or chime sound will do. You can even make your own (see sidebar).
Make Your Own Yoga Wand
Purchase a wand-length wooden dowel and a handful of small bells from an art supply store. Find a girl’s hair elastic with ribbons and sparkles at any department or drugstore. Elasticize it around the end of the dowel. Use additional pieces of ribbon to string a few bells, and add the bell ribbons to the end of the dowel by tying them into the elastic. Use the yoga wand as a talking stick, to gather attention, or to spinkle magic yoga dust on your resting child during relaxation.
Scarves. Pretend to be wind or ocean waves. Support a yoga pose. Provide a visual for a breathing exercise. Enhance focus skills through juggling. There are endless ways to use scarves in a yoga session. Raid your closet or attic (and your mother’s), yard sales, and recycled clothing stores such as Goodwill to find flowy silk scarves of varying sizes.
Digital Camera. Taking photos to instantly show your child what he is accomp-lishing is empowering and fun! Photos allow children to see themselves succeed in a pose, enhance awareness of their bodies and posture, and effectively engage visual learners. Seeing a photo of himself doing a posture can be inspirin and help build his confidence: “Oh, I can do that!”
Pose Cards. They are many varieties of card decks that can prove very useful when sharingyoga with children. A kid-friendly yoga deck such as Yoga Pretzels or the Yoga 4 Classrooms cards can be used as inspiring visuals Affirmation card decks such as Power Thoughts for Teens or Manifest Your Mognificence (for younger children) can serve to create a theme, the frir discussion or journaling, or can be used just for fun.
For younger children, a deck of animal cards can be used to help make the connection bet wen a specific animal and a yoga pose being taught. Don’t be afraid to try making your own (see sidebar).
How to Make Your Own Pose Cards
Purchase 8.5″ x 11″ pieces of colored cardstock. Turn the paper horizontally and clearly print the name (child friendly version) of a pose at the bottom. On the left side, draw or paste an image of the relevant object or animal. On the right side, draw or paste an image of a person in that pose.
Beanie Buddies. Small bean bag-type stuffed animals are popular toys that Can be effectively used an engaging props for yoga sessions. The weight and size of the buddies, along with the fact that they shape to whatever surface they are on, make them ideal for use in a variety of yoga games, balance challenges, and breathing activities, as well as during relaxation. Search your attic and yard sales.
Die-Cut Letters. Die-cuts can be used in many different ways with various age grou from helping children learn letters and sounds to using them in games such as Alphabet Soup .
Balls, An all-time favorite prop is the classic, plastic beach ball. Use beach type balls to play Gratitude Ball. Use Pilates or larger yoga balls creatively as needed for balancing postures, core-strengthening exercises, and the Ball Smoosh .
Magic Mist. Magic Mist is created by simply mixing water and a few drops of lavender essential oil in a small misting/spray bottle. Spraying the Magic Mist around the room, or high over the head of your child as he rests with eyes closed, produces an almost immediate calming effect. The use of Magic Mist can be incorporated into stories as jungle mist, ocean spray, or a rain shower. It can also be integrated into centering and relaxation activities.
Gratitude Rocks. Gratitude Rocks are small stones, rocks, or smooth glass stones that can be used to store gratitude to refer back to later on. These can be purchased inexpensively by the bag at craft stores or discount stores.
Other Props. There are many other props you can use in your yoga sessions with your child. Be creative! Think about what your child enjoys. For inspiration, here are just a few items you could use:
- Musical instruments
- Animal figurines
- Yoga straps (old neckties work great, too!)
- Wooden dowels
- Yoga pose figurines
- Glow sticks (for glow-in-the-dark yoga!)
- Hula hoops Hoberman Sphere