When given the option, most yoga instructors will chose relatively narrow age ranges for classes. Typical age ranges would be 3-5, 5-8, and 8-10 years old. Often times we can use the same materials with these different groups. However, we choose to separate by narrow margins because our presentation, and class flow, are heavily dependent on the ages of our students!
Sometimes our classes are set for us, or we experiment and open up to a wider age range. Here are some ways to help bridge the age-gap when you have mixed age classes.
The Buddy System
Pairing older kids with younger kids works like a charm! Yoga to books is a perfect time to pair up kids and introduce them to their yoga buddies. The older kids are happier doing activities when they are geared toward younger kids, because they are now helpers. Older kids are great at keeping younger kids on task, or helping them to balance.
This creates a fun system of teamwork. If you have the children make a forest with Tree Pose, they will look need to figure out the best way to accomplish this. Some kids will make a progression of size, while some will decide to do every other child big/little. It’s a wonderful exercise in mindfulness, kindness, and creativity to have mixed ages work together!
Activities that can be individualized are also helpful.
- Mindfulness Projects: By introducing mandalas, or other mindfulness projects, you can adjust to the age and ability level of each child. Children are free to color to their own abilities, without worrying about what anyone else is doing. Each of our mindfulness projects comes with a description on how to individualize the project.
- Hula Hoops: Hoop Hopping is fun for everyone, even at it’s easiest level. But there is no need to let the big kids take the easy way out! Challenge them with the harder courses, while they encourage the littles to do their best at the easier course designs.