Goodness this was a big week!
(In fact, I tried to write a full post of my lesson plans for the whole week and it was WAY too long. I don’t expect anyone to put up with me for that long, so instead you get the highlights.)
Since this was my very first Yoga Summer Camp to produce, I was a little nervous. But honestly everything ran smoothly and we all had a lovely time.
I tried to keep the same basic structure, with the theme or specific activities changing each day.
*Warm up – Voice, Breath, Body, and Mind
*Pose of the Day
(^^Most days we only had time to get to 2 out of 3 of these so I’d try to gauge which would give us the most bang for our buck, or think of a way to combine elements of each into a new activity.)
This helped everything go much more smoothly for myself and for the Tykes. This way they knew what to expect when and transition times happened a lot smoother. Also, this helps me modify lesson plans as needed while making sure that we are still reaching our objectives.
Once again, my lesson plans are always fluid. I don’t think we completed everything I had planned on any day, but that is OK. I’d always rather have too much planned than too little.
Anyway, these were some of our favorite moments from our very short 10 hours together.
Ringing the singing bowl at the beginning and ending of class is always a crowd pleaser, and lets everyone know its time jump into class.
We learned Swan Pose as our Pose of the Day and everyone did such a great job. We practiced it on our own, then added our Swan wings flapping and then head and neck diving down. Once everyone was comfortable in the pose, we got into partners and practiced Double Swan. This not only helped us practice balance, working together, and trust, but it also gave us an awareness of our back bodies and spacial relationships.
After that we learned how to make origami swans. The Tykes were super into this. Everyone made at least 4 of all colors and sizes and then even came up the the idea of coloring their swans a pond or home – which of course I was all for.
We laid down with our swans balanced on our bellies and practiced taking deep breaths and watched our swans floating on the waves. I was so impressed with these Tykes and their ability to focus and to try something new.
This day was all about BALLOONS!
The pose of the day today was Child’s Pose. We learned it on our own, then practiced with partners using stillness and movement, then I even came around and offered gentle pressure and massage as they rested.
This is one of my favorite techniques to help little’s who are getting overwhelmed or anxious. Have them come into child’s pose, then using your palms, press gently into their sacrum or low spine- right about hip level (under the ribs and above the tailbone). If your little one isn’t ticklish, you can walk your palms up and down their spine, moving slowing and deliberately, offering pressure in one spot for a round of breath or two.
After Balasana, it was time for BALLOONS! We used our very strong and steady breaths to blow up our balloons as big as we could! As students finished, we took a little bit of time for free play to get our bodies and imaginations moving.
After a few minutes of that, we came back to our mats and tried to balance our balloons on our heads, noses, ears, knees, toes, belly, ect. We tried each body part sitting, standing, and laying down. This created all kinds of fun shapes and let us practice lots of focus and thinking outside the box.
Our pose of the Day was L-Dogs, or Supported Handstands, and they could not get enough. We could have just done this for the whole 2 hours and I wouldn’t have heard one peep of complaint. (In fact, they were so excited, I added them in to our warm up for the rest of the week.) We learned how to move from Down Dog into walking our feet up the wall to make an upside down “L” with our bodies. Once everyone felt safe and secure in the pose we started an L-Dog tunnel where one at a time you could crawl on your belly under the rest of the class. We played it leap frog style, so once you went through you added on to the end of the tunnel and the next student went. We were able to span an entire wall from one side to the next this way, these kids have stamina!
After all that work, we needed a little rest for our bodies so we decided to stretch our minds by doing a Group Drawing activity. I taped some butcher paper on the wall and explained the rules.
*Everyone can add 1 thing to the picture at a time
*We can only add, not take away
*There are no wrong choices
For our first drawing I chose the theme, we were drawing a park. No one had played this before, so I wanted to give them something a little more concrete as a reference point. We had so many incredible things added in our park, a hill for rolling down, a swing set, a slide, children picking flowers, a merry go round, bouncy duck, and even a beautiful sun and clouds.
This can be a hard activity for some to start because everyone so desperately wants to share their own ideas. So we talked a lot about how in this game we think a little more about appreciating everyone else’s ideas, our goal is to help, to make everyone’s idea better, not to prove your’s is the best.
Once we all agreed our park was finished, I decided we could handle something a little more abstract. It was time to draw our Twisted Monster. This time our rules got a little tougher.
*If you pick your crayon up off the paper, your turn is done
*You can’t say out loud what you think you are adding
This always gets a little squirrel-y, because someone might think they are drawing an eye and the next student turns it into a belly button, but I think that is what is fun about this activity- everyone sees the same things differently. I was very impressed with how quickly these students jumped on board with this concept. We even had a few students form an alliance and work together to draw things that would require multiple colors or having to pick up your crayon.
Our Pose of the Day was Spinal Twist, and we learned it in all kinds of ways, standing, seated, laying down, with partners, and in a circle as a class.
For our craft today, we created Balancing Butterflies, I had cardboard cut outs of butterflies for everyone to color and design, then we practiced balancing them on our fingers and even our noses!
This lead perfectly into our Relaxation, where we rolled up in our mats and I led us through a guided imagery of being a Caterpillar, building your cocoon, and then emerging as a beautiful butterfly and spending your day flying through the air and visiting flowers of all kinds.
Our last day of the week!
We learned Eagle Pose and practiced it with just arms, just legs, our whole body, and then moving from Eagle to Airplane. This is an extra twisted up pose with lots of strength and balance and these kids did a great job!
But honestly, everyone’s favorite part of the day was TWISTER!
We played so many rounds. Then we used the Twister board to teach certain poses. (ie: If you put one hand on red and one on blue and one foot on red and one on blue you are in plank, if you lift your bottom up, you are in Downward Dog.) I taught a few and then asked them to teach a few. (I love offering the kids a chance to be leaders and use their voices and bodies to communicate an idea.)
Then asked a few riddles like “Are their any poses you can do all on one color?” (Yup! Warrior 2!)
And in no time at all, our week was done.
We really had a great time and I loved getting to spend a few extra hours with each of these Tyke’s sweet, smiling faces.
Check out next week’s blog for the highlights of Week 2!