Zen Counting Game

Length of Time: 3-5 minutes

Game/Activity Name: Zen Counting Game (adapted from Street Yoga Curriculum)

Age Group: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Supplies: None needed

Space Set-Up: Any format (circle, mats, clusters)

Game Instructions:

This activity is a counting game that can help refocus a group. One person begins with counting out loud “one”, followed by another person at random counting out loud “two”, and so on. No one can say the same number at the same time or tell another person to go. No words are involved except numbers. The goal of the game is to see how high you can count together as a group.

Explore different varieties such as pace, whispering, or people closing their eyes. This activity helps to build awareness of other people and yourself as you need to be watchful and listen to what is going on.

Special Considerations:

Can be used at the beginning of a class to get everyone’s attention or at the end of another game to bring the group back together.

Nature Kids Game

Length of Time: 10 minutes

Game/Activity Name: Nature Kids Game (adapted from Street Yoga Curriculum)

Age Group: Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School

Supplies: Mats

Space Set-Up: Circle

Game Instructions:

Pick 6 things from the nature of your surrounding area such as rocks, river, trees, bugs, birds, cloud. For each one, come up with a physical movement that represents it (option in smaller groups for each participant to choose one and come up with the movement). One person will be the caller or “it” and they will begin to call out one thing at a time, and everyone will respond with the movement assigned to that thing. For example, if the caller says “cloud” everyone will enact the “cloud” movement. The caller can follow with another one. May also explore changing the order, calling at a slow pace and then gradually increasing the speed of items called, etc.

Special Considerations:

Consider whether you’d like to be the caller or offer it to students to be a caller (in large groups it may be easier for the teacher to just be the caller). If more than one person want to be the caller, make sure to allow for enough time for them to each have a turn being “it”.

Tree/Wind Game

Length of Time: Depends on energy level of the group; try 2-3 rounds to start and maybe add on more rounds each class

Game/Activity Name: Tree/Wind Game (adapted from Street Yoga curriculum)

Age Group: Elementary, Middle School

Supplies: Mats

Space Set-Up: Circle

Game Instructions:

One person is chosen as the “wind” (depending on the size of the group, 1 “wind” to 6 “trees” is a good amount). All of the other people come into tree pose. One foot stays rooted on the ground, connecting their foot or shoe with the ground. THe other foot is lifted and then placed on the inside of the standing leg’s calf, so the legs are making a “4” shape. The rest of the body is upright, and the hands can come together in the front of the heart or open to either side, or up in a V. The trees find their balance, and can look at a still object to do this. The “wind” will then begin to circulate around blowing, moving creatively, and attempting to distract the trees. The “wind” should not touch anyone but can try to make the kids laugh! As the “trees” fall or come out of balance they come to sit on the ground. If the trees are in good balance, another person can be chosen to help the Wind. If one tree is left standing, this person becomes the wind for the next round.

Special Considerations:

This game can be great for kids with lots of energy to try to be a calm and solid tree, and vice versa for kids who tend to be quieter to be the crazy wind.

5 Finger Contract

Length of Time: 5 Minutes

Game/Activity Name: 5 Finger Contract

Age Group: Elementary/ Middle School

Supplies: n/a

Space Set-Up: Circle

Game Instructions:

The 5-finger contract is a great way to set up expectations prior to a new class. This gives the instructor and the students something to refer back to during the course of the session in the event that unwanted behaviors are presented. Typically for the first class the teacher will present each piece of the contract and what it means, in subsequent sessions, students can be used to reference the contract.

Thumb = ‘thumbs up’ - be positive and encouraging to everyone in the group (including yourself!)

Pointer Finger = ‘#1’ - 1 person talking at a time, 1 person per mat (for safety considerations)

Middle Finger = ‘disrespect’ - We will all be respectful to everyone during the duration of the session

Ring Finger = ‘commitment’ - Students are committed to the session, if they need to take a break or go to the bathroom, no problem, but they agree to not distract others

Pink Finger = ‘safety’ - safety first, follow the instructions of the teachers to ensure safety

Special Considerations:

If a group already has some structure around expectations (perhaps this is a group that is around each other a lot) this may not be necessary. It has been useful with groups that we see somewhat regularly to continually remind them of our expectations (and let them know we have them)!  

Captain's Coming (Y Cards)

Length of Time: 10 minutes

Game/Activity Name: Captain’s Coming

Age Group: Elementary School, Middle School

Supplies: None

Space Set-Up:

One side of the room is designated as “shore” and the other as the “ship”

Game Instructions:

Players must follow the commands of the “captain.” Feel free to add your own but some include:

  • Ship: players must go to the ship side of the room

  • Shore: players must go the the shore side of the room

  • Hit the deck: players lay down on their bellies

  • Octopus: players lay on their backs and move their arms and legs

  • Captain’s Coming: players must salute and cannot move before the captain calls “At Ease” - this is where you can try to trick the players into moving/following commands

  • At Ease: players can unfreeze and continue when the next command is called

Special Considerations:

You may want to practice the commands with the students before beginning the game

Jump The Creek (Y Cards)

Length of Time:  5-10 minutes

Game/Activity Name: Jump the Creek

Age Group: Elementary School, Middle School

Supplies: Mats

Space Set-Up: Two mats, initially spaced close together

Game Instructions:

Two mats are parallel to each other on the floor, initially with a small space between them. Each student must jump from one mat to the other to jump the creek. After each student has jumped, the mats are spaced wider. If a player touches the ground between the mats, they have fallen in the creek and are eliminated. The game is played until one person is remaining.

Special Considerations:

To keep those who have been eliminated engaged in the activity, encourage them to help move the mats and to cheer on their peers.

Connections (Y Cards)

Length of Time: 5-10 minutes

Game/Activity Name: Connections

Age Group: All ages

Supplies: String/yarn

Space Set-Up: Circle

Game Instructions:

One person begins holding the ball of string and starts to list facts about themself (I have a pet dog, my favorite food is pizza, etc.) and when someone else from the circle hears something that is also true for them, they say, “Connect,” and the ball of string is passed to them. Each person should make one connection before players are repeated. You can play until the yarn runs out, or as long as students stay engaged.

Special Considerations:

It’s fun to point out to the students how we have created a visual representation of how we are all connected (you may be able to relate this to the “Namaste” at the end of class.)

Freeze Yoga

Length of Time: 10 - 15 minutes

Game/Activity Name: Freeze Yoga (with music or counting)

Age Group: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Supplies: None needed (or a speaker if you are doing the music version)

Space Set-Up:

Circle if possible, if the space is small and there is a lot of kids you can have them move around the space

Game Instructions:

The group moves around the circle as the ‘museum curator’ counts or closes their eyes in the middle of the circle. When the music stops (usually managed by a yoga instructor) or when the curator reaches 10 all other students freeze in a yoga pose. The curator chooses the best statue (still, quiet, close to an actual pose) and they switch places. The game continues without any real winner for as long as is appropriate for the group.

Special Considerations:

This game is great as there is no winner. I usually try to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to play the role of curator. Having music/dancing happen can be really fun for a kids group. I try and have some kidzbop songs downloaded for this purpose.

 

Veggie Off

Length of Time: 5

Game/Activity Name: Veggie-Off

Age Group: Elementary/Middle School/High School  

Supplies: n/a

Space Set-Up: Two Participants (dualers) will be back to back. Everyone else will be away from them out front watching the ‘veggie-off’. 3 Judges (usually participants) will be together in a group to choose the vegetable and judge the winner.

Game Instructions:

Two participants line up back to back. Judges choose a veggie (ie broccoli) the participants walk ten steps away from each other  the judges call out the veggie (‘broccoli!”). Each participant imitates the veggie and the best impersonation wins (judges decide).


Special Considerations:

This is a great game if you need to pick a winner or a student to lead something or go first in another activity. It is a great tie breaker or an opportunity for two team to go against one another kind of like a coin toss.