4 Essential Yoga Props for Kids Yoga Teachers (And Parents, too!)
As a children’s yoga instructor for over 10 years, and the owner of Shining Kids Yoga, I am often asked by new instructors what items are needed when teaching a yoga class for kids.
Over the years, I’ve acquired more and more items that I’ve found helpful in engaging children and bringing a quality of playfulness to classes; however there are 4 absolutely essential items that I recommend every yoga instructor who teaches children includes in their toolbox. If you’re a parent, these items are also helpful when introducing yoga and meditation to your child at home!
Hoberman Sphere (aka the “breathing ball”) - The Hoberman Sphere comes in several sizes, but I’ve found the large size to be the biggest hit with the children I teach. The Hoberman Sphere is a staple among kids yoga teachers because it helps children to visually see how their breath works and how to take deep breaths to promote feelings of peace and relaxation - when the ball opens up, children take a deep belly breath, and when the ball closes, children exhale. Children love the opportunity to open and close the ball themselves and practice deep breathing, but the real fun is getting a turn to go inside the ball!
Zenergy Chimes - Ringing the Zenergy chime is a wonderful tool for helping children develop focus, concentration, and listening skills (aka - meditation!). When the bell rings, children close their eyes and focus their attention on the sound of the bell as it gets quieter and quieter. When they can’t hear the bell anymore, they raise their hands. Kids love the opportunity to have a turn ringing the bell themselves! In a group yoga class, this chime can also be used as a classroom management tool - when the children hear the chime, it is a time to come back to their mats, get quiet, close their eyes and focus. As a teacher, I’ve found there is a noticeable difference in being able to keep kids focused and on their mats when I have the bell with me vs. when I don’t. This is definitely a must-have item for any teacher of children’s yoga classes, and a fun and engaging meditation tool for parents to have at home, too!
Yoga Pose Cards - there are so many wonderful yoga cards out there that it’s hard to choose just one deck - so I chose two! The Yoga Pretzel Cards and the Yogi Fun Cards. There are many wonderful yoga card options for kids, but these are the two decks I use most. There are several game ideas included in each deck, or you can simply use them as a visual aid in teaching the poses. A reminder to keep pose instruction for children simple and positive - if their body is in the general shape of a pose and they are not doing anything unsafe, I don’t correct children’s poses. If they are doing something that could hurt or injure them, I will give them instructions on how to move their body differently and explain that I am giving these instructions so that their body stays safe and they don’t get hurt.
Eye masks - this was a game changer for me when teaching yoga and relaxation to children! In my experience, I have found that it is so much easier for little bodies to stay still and relax when they have an eye mask over their eyes. The masks give children the sensory tool to help them close their eyes and relax both from the tactile sensation of the mask over their eyes as well as the darkening of the visual field around them to give their brains a cue to calm down and promote the relaxation response. Children as young as 2 (with supervision!) love putting on an eye mask and lying down for a few minutes to relax.
There are so many more props and tools that are helpful for a yoga teacher (or a parent) to have, but I hope this has provided a good foundation! You can also check out my recommendations on yoga books for pre-school aged children and yoga and relaxation resources for helping children have a restful night’s sleep
Want even more ideas about props, toys, and other tools that can be used with practicing yoga & meditation with children? Check out my post on how to make your own Yoga Jenga game and stay tuned for my next blog post, entitled “Parachutes, scarves, and bean bags…oh my!” coming very soon!
TEACHERS AND PARENTS: What props or toys do YOU find essential when teaching yoga to children? Share your ideas below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you peace, love, and yoga!
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Andrea is the founder of Shining Kids Yoga, which began as an after-school program at her son's elementary school in 2014. She has been teaching yoga to all ages since 2005. Andrea completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training & prenatal yoga training at Tranquil Space Yoga in Washington, D.C. In addition, she received specialized training in children’s yoga from the Radiant Child Yoga program, training in postnatal yoga from Baby OM, and training in therapeutic yoga from The Samarya Center.
Andrea is also a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) through the State of Maryland, having received her MSW degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore.
She has taught yoga for children at yoga studios throughout the DC area, including Tranquil Space, Budding Yogis, Rock Creek Yoga and Warrior One Yoga. She also teaches classes for adults at Yoga Bliss Studios and Extend Yoga, where she is on the yoga teacher training faculty.
When not teaching or practicing yoga, Andrea enjoys playing board games with her son, Quinn, singing karaoke, and trying out new vegetarian recipes!