This was one of my favorite classes to teach this year, so it was really fitting that it was for our 1st Birthday Celebration!
I want to preface this by saying the lesson plan I wrote for class is only about 60% of what we actually got done and that is totally OK. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from teaching children is that you have to be willing to throw the lesson plan out the window. It means a lot to me to be able to listen to and observe the kid’s and make changes as we go based on what is working and what isn’t. I still always write out plans for my kid’s classes, but I go into every class knowing they might never happen.
I always like to have a little Pre-class / transition activity going as students arrive, so today we were making Birthday Cards for Twisted Tykes. These kids really blew me away with the fun and silly cards they made. (They always do)
We had a big class there to celebrate- so by the time everyone went to the bathroom, took off their shoes, rolled out their mats, said “Hi” to all their friends, made a card and cleaned up it was about 10 minutes after the start of class. This is not a big deal at all. Everyone was engaged and having a good time and I really do love to see kids getting a chance to breath and settle in instead of rushing around all the time.
Once we made it back to our mats and found our Easy Pose , it was time for our Opening Ritual. I like to keep the same structure for the start of class each time with small changes to enforce or introduce the theme or plan for the day.
We went around the circle and everyone got a chance to ring our Yoga Chimes, as they do this everyone introduces them selves in their Loud and Proud voice.
Then we checked in about Birthdays and chanted YAY!
After chanting comes breath work, where we practiced blowing out our candles.
I must admit that by the time we finished our Pranayama, I looked at the clock and was in shock of how much time had passed, so I decided to skip our warm up (Which would have been talking about the sun and how it circles the earth in 365 days between every birthday, then stretching as the rays of the sun, spinning in circles, and a few rounds of Sun Salutations) and instead, head straight to the good stuff!
We all agreed that one of the very best things about birthdays is of course, Birthday Cake! So we set out to make the biggest and most delicious birthday cake we could think of!
Everyone needed a big bowl, so we sat in Bound Angle Pose or Supta Bodha Konasana and used our arms to begin mixing in each ingredient. We went around the circle and everyone got to add something. These kids were totally unafraid of exciting flavor combos and we had everything from Gold Fish to whole banana splits thrown in. Once everything was mixed in, we practiced some partner poses to to bake and decorate our cakes.
Once everything had been decorated to a T, we cut this giant cake by laying on our backs and scissoring our legs in the air. Then came everyone’s favorite new pose, Birthday Candle Pose! (Or better known in some circles as Shoulder Stand).
We moved into Shoulder Stand and let our toes flicker like the flame, then taking a deep breath in we would blow our feet back down to the ground. Now we did this 4 or 5 times, but I promise, they could have just done this for an hour and had a grand ole’ time.
After the candles had been blown out and all our wishes had been made, it was time to eat! We sat in Wide Legged Pose to look like a slice of cake and practiced eating with our hands and with our toes (My kid’s yoga take on Archer I Pose).
By then we (or at least I) was pooped and ready to rest and digest. So we circled in nice and tight to create a little massage circle.
Giving the cue of having everyone’s knees touch is a great visual to get the circle as small as you need, then with a hand on each of their neighbors backs I asked them to draw hearts and balloons and to write “Happy Birthday” and sign their names with their fingers.
This was such a sweet moment and I loved watching the kids find that connection and trust in their neighbors. We had a few tickles and giggles, but over all everyone felt safe and secure and we got a little fine motor skill work in trying to draw or write on something you can’t see and with both hands at the same time.
With just a few minutes left, we were ready for our Special Birthday Surprise…
A brand new game of Twister and some delicious strawberries, blueberries, and grapes.
Everyone lined up for a snack then sat on their mats to eat, while they were eating we took turns playing Twister 5 or so at a time. Once everyone had a turn they could jump in for a SUPER GAME as they finished their fruit.
Seeing 11 of these tiny people squished onto a 5X6 mat was pretty comical, but everyone was safe with their bodies and respectful of their friends so it all turned out just fine. (We had one set of tears, but it was nothing that couldn’t be solved by a hug and an extra strawberry.)
As always, we finished class with 10 deep breaths and our Namaste Song and everyone getting a sticker (which I’m really thinking about starting to incorporate in my adult classes).
I hope everyone had as much fun as I did, and I cannot wait for next year’s birthday party!