We previously shared a Superhero Yoga for Kids lesson plan, and Anastasia commented at the bottom of the article that she had a superhero kids yoga lesson plan using a book titled Eliot Jones Midnight Superhero. We received so many emails asking for her plan that she has generously offered to share it below. Anastasia is a kids yoga teacher and owner of Sunshine Kids Yoga.
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Superhero Kids Yoga Lesson Plan
Ages: 3 to 8 year olds
Time: 60 minute class (but you can pull out some of the ideas to create a shorter lesson)
Book: This superhero kids yoga lesson is inspired by Eliot Jones Midnight Superhero by Anne Cottringer and Alex T. Smith.
Credit: Anastasia adapted this yoga plan from Kids Yoga Academy by adding her own introduction, breathing, warmups, relaxation, and closing ritual.
1) OPENING/ INTRODUCTION
The golden rules of the class:
- go to the toilet before class
- put your hand up if you have a question
- yoga happens on your mat unless I’ve told you otherwise
- be nice to one another – everyone has kind words, kind hands, and good listening ears that are turned on.
- If I sound the yoga bells, it means stop what you’re doing, stop talking, and come back onto your mat and sit cross-legged or in mouse.
Ask the children how they are feeling. They might respond with a thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or a sideways thumb if they’re feeling halfway.
Sitting in a circle, pass the ball around the circle with your feet. When you have the ball, say your favourite superhero (if you have one), or if they know the names of any, or if they know any special powers that superheroes have.
Get them to think about being a superhero, just as themselves. Ask, “What is super about you? How are you a hero for others?” Explain to the children that they are all superheroes who shine bright like the stars in the sky. They all have “special powers” that are unique to them.
Remind them that they can be “heroes” every day: When they help someone out with something, when someone is hurt and they go to make them feel better, or when they include all their friends in a game and make them feel good about themselves, they are being superheroes for someone else’s well-being.
2) BREATH & WARM UPS
Sitting in cross-legged, remember we sit with happy backs and a soft face, meaning a gentle smile from the inside to the outside.
With hands in prayer position in front of their hearts, yogis rub their hands together fast to create heat. Once heat is built up, inhale deeply, place your warm hands over your eyes to wake them up so that they may see all of your yogi friends doing beautiful yoga poses. Keeping your hands there, exhale with a “hmmm…” (sounds like “om” but doesn’t make them be silly and laugh at doing “Om”!)
Repeat the hand warming, inhale, and place your hands over your ears (for good listening). Exhale, saying, “hmmm…”
Inhale and place your hands on your head (for focus/concentration), then exhale, saying “hmmm…”
Finally, inhale and place your hands on your heart because yogis are loving and respectful to friends.
Say, “May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you have peace. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I have peace.”
Breathing is important to give us life force and energy like fuel in a car. When we don’t breathe properly, our bodies, muscles, organs, and brains can’t function properly. Yoga helps us to remember and get to know our breath so that we can give our body everything it needs to work properly.
We breathe in what the body needs (oxygen). We breathe out what the body doesn’t want (carbon dioxide).
Sitting cross-legged, with hands at your heart centre, open your arms wide to each side and bring them up. Join your palms together overhead as you inhale, filling your lungs the way you would inflate a balloon. Bring your hands straight back down to your heart centre as you exhale. Repeat this three times.
Now we’re going to warm up our backs and our upper bodies while practicing different breaths:
- Sitting up nice and straight, hands on shoulders, elbows up and out to the sides. Let’s pretend you are a superhero flying through the sky! Keeping hands on shoulders and elbows out to the sides, twist the whole upper body and head. Breath in quickly through the nose when twisting one way and breathing out fast with a “huh” sound through the mouth when twisting the other way. Repeat about 5 rounds of twisting, and tell them to slowly slow it down to come to a stop.
- Next, pretend you are doing your superhero exercises to get super strong! Start bent down low with a curved back, forehead on the mat or on your legs with clenched hands in front of you on the mat. Roll your hands around each other in front of you, lifting them above your head on the inhale. Extend and arch your back slightly at the very top, then roll your hands around each other back down to your lap or back down to the mat. Curve your backs and heads back down to the mat on the exhale. Repeat this three times.
- Let’s pretend to create a protective force field around the earth and protect everyone on our planet! Lean over to each side, stretching your arms overhead, and imagine creating that forcefield. Stretch from side to side, stretching out the lateral torso muscles. (If there are older kids, they might call out countries around the world that they are putting up the force field over).
3) YOGA GAMES
Musical yoga mats to “I Am a Superhero” by Lourds Lane
Make up superhero yoga poses. Go around the class and ask/help each child to make up a yoga pose for their favourite superhero. For example:
4) ASANAS (PHYSICAL POSTURES)
This is the story of Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero by Anne Cottringer
By day, Eliot is quiet. He reads his books. [BUTTERFLY: open up the soles of the feet like pages of a book]
He feeds his goldfish. [FISH]
“Eliot is such a quiet little thing,” say all the grown-ups. [HERO]
But “tick, tock, tick, tock” [move your arms like the arms of a clock] “when the clock strikes midnight…” [BONG!]
“Eliot is a Superhero!” [jump up to SUPERHERO – Stand with legs apart and hands on hips]
“He hangs out of helicopters.” [CHAIR with arms out to the side and TWIST both sides]
“He skis down glaciers.” [CHAIR: deep squat, grab your poles, swish down the slopes]
“He returns teddies to their babies.” [HINDOLASANA: pretend to rock a baby]
Then the town mayor needs Eliot’s help as the lions have escaped from the zoo. “Luckily, Eliot is an expert lion tamer.” He comes face to face with the roaring lions. [LION]
“He stares into their eyes, [ON ALL FOURS, looking forward intently] and one by one, Eliot stops them in the tracks.
He leads the lions back to the zoo [EXTENDED CAT COW] as the crowds cheer.
Sometimes, the Coast Guard call out for his services when ships are about to crash onto the rocks. [BOAT]
Luckily, Eliot is a champion swimmer. [LOCUST, swim arms]
He dives into the towering waves, grabs the anchor, and tows the ship to safety as the sailors shout, “hooray!”
Tonight, Eliot receives an urgent message from the world’s most important scientist.
“A gigantic METEOR is heading this way!” [ROCK n ROLL] “It’s going to smash onto the earth!” This is Eliot’s most important mission ever!
Luckily, Eliot has built a meteor-busting rocket launcher for just such occasions. It’s hidden in a deep cave in the mountains of Tibet. [stand up to MOUNTAIN]
The only way to get there before the meteor hits is by supersonic jet. [WARRIOR 3 both sides]
Luckily, Eliot is an expert jet pilot. He sets off over the Alps [AIRPLANE/ DEKASANA], over the Caspian Sea, across to the Himalayas, and lands his plane on the most dangerous landing strip in the world.
The sky is blazing with the light of the meteor. [STAR] Closer and closer, it comes.
As Eliot is a highly experienced mountaineer, he climbs the cliff face [pretend to climb up a mountain] and into the cave.
Eliot swings the barrel of the rocket launcher towards the sky. [DRAGON with arms up] He aims. Holding his breath, he waits until just the right moment, and then he fires! [DRAGON other side, shoot arms forward and lean into the lunge with a WOOOOSH! sound]
Eliot saves the world from destruction. [HERO] The Queen gives Eliot an award for his courage and ingenuity, and the earth trembles with deafening applause. [STOMP HANDS ON MAT]
But being a midnight superhero is very tiring. It doesn’t leave Eliot with much energy. So by day, Eliot is quiet. [SAVASANA]
Lie down however you are comfortable: on your backs, or on your side, or on your tummy – however you feel comfortable, like when you’re getting nice and cosy in your bed. Close your eyes. Now squeeze. Scrunch your up your feet really, really tight… and let go.
Squeeze your legs,
Squeeze your hands,
Squeeze your arms
Scrunch your face
Squeeze and scrunch your whole body really, really tight… and let go.
Feel your body relax and melt softly into your mat. Remember your breath from the beginning of the class. Put your hands on your belly or your chest so you can feel your breath going in and out slowly, your tummy going up and down with each breath.
Continue this slow breathing, and with each breath out, feel your body sinking into the mat and relax even more. You might like to imagine that you are like chocolate on a plate in the sun, melting slowly. Your body and all your muscles are getting softer and softer as you breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly…
As you lie here relaxed, remember that you are your very own superhero.
If things get tough or too hard, you know how to calm yourself down by breathing deeply and slowly, so you can think clearly and solve the problem.
You are a leader. You know that you can teach your friends to breathe in deeply and out slowly if they’re feeling frustrated or upset.
Whenever you are nervous or don’t think you can do something, remember that you are special and have talents that no one else does—because there is only one of you in this world.
Look inside yourself and transform into your very best self with loving kindness. Be sure that you can save whatever or whoever needs saving or helping in your own world around you.
Remember that you are brave, you are strong, and you are smart.
Breathing in, think to yourself, “I am amazing and awesome.”
Breathing in, think to yourself, “I am special and unique.”
Breathing in, think to yourself, “I am loving and kind.”
Breathing in, think to yourself, “I am happy and loved.”
Breathing in, think to yourself, “I believe in myself.”
Breathing in, think to yourself, “I can do anything.”
Now take a deep breath and gently bring your attention back to the room.
Feel your yoga mat beneath you. Hear the sounds around you. Wiggle your fingers and your toes. Slowly stretch your arms above your head, stretching your whole body from the tips of your toes to the tips of your fingers. Gently open your eyes. Slowly roll over onto your side. When you feel ready, place your hands on the floor to slowly push yourselves to come up to sitting.
6) CLOSING (5 minutes)
Gather in a circle. Check in with how the kids are feeling, using the thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or sideways thumbs.
Everyone clasps hands and then starts to “pass the squeeze” around the circle, saying one word that they are feeling now.
Conclude by thanking everyone, folding hands, and saying, “Namaste.”
Sing “My little light shines to you your little light. Your little light shines to my little light. My little light shines to your little light, NA MA STE.”
Namaste, everyone! Have a great week.
About the Author
Anastasia Katsimbardis has been practicing yoga for over fifteen years, and while her daily dawn practice slipped away once she became a busy mum of three, her love of yoga remained. Anastasia’s kids inspired her to become a certified children’s yoga teacher, as she wanted children to learn this beautiful practice that helped shape her attitude towards a balanced and healthy physical, mental and spiritual lifestyle. Anastasia started her own business, Sunshine Kids Yoga, in Ireland at the start of 2017, and she is so grateful to be teaching in several local schools and her own after school classes. She is inspired by seeing how positively yoga resonates with children of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Her dream and goal is that yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation become part of school curriculums around the world so that children have the opportunity to learn peaceful, loving, positive self-affirming practices in a fun, creative, and non-competitive setting that will carry them through adulthood.