I never teach a yoga class without my bag of props. Regardless of whether or not I plan to use them in the lesson, there are some things I bring to ever class no matter hat.
Balls In my classes, my students learn quickly that the balls I bring aren't meant for hands- We use our feet instead! I love watching the reaction of the students when they first experience literal 'football'. I generally have them all sit in a circle, knee to knee leaning back on their hands so the feet can be maneuvered in the air. The ball is then passed around the circle solely by the kid's feet and toes. This is not only a great way to build core strength, but a good way to center a rowdy class and a lot of fun for everyone on top of both.
A bag of small plastic animals is a must for any children's yoga class. Students can pick one out a cloth bag, and then go into a pose they come up with based on that animal. We always talk about the animal as well, for instance discussing the tail of the squirrel or the trunk of the elephant. Kids are always eager to show off how much they know.
Letters Foam letters are always tons of fun to work with, with any and all age groups. With younger children, I feel they get the most out of it when we focus on how the letter is constructed. The sharp point in an A, for example, or the double-humps on the M. The older ones enjoy acting out words that start with the letter; B for bird, F for frog, and, in a particularly memorable class, R for dead rat. This is easy to work into the theme of the lesson as well. You can tell the class that the words need to relate to things on a farm, or around a school, or what you would find on a beach. This is an easy activity that gets the kids moving and makes them think creatively. And those are the things that never leave my bag of tricks, unless of course one of my daughters takes them out for whatever reason (I will never understand why a 16 year old and two 12 year olds find foam letters so entertaining). Next post, I'll get into how I handle down time. Trust me, this is harder than it sounds...