Some people say your sense of smell has the best memory. Like, if you smell a certain perfume or soap, you might think of a special teacher. Or the smell of grass makes you remember when you helped your dad mow the lawn. We can use our sense of smell to add some creativity to our Kids Yoga class!
Start with a scent-based meditation. Children sit quietly with their eyes closed and the teacher says something like, “I’m going to describe an object or a place. I want you to imagine what smells might be there. Ready? Close your eyes. A bakery. Brushing your teeth. A swimming pool. A library. A baby. Were you able to imagine the smells? Did it make your mouth water sometimes? Or make you smile? Our imaginations are very powerful.” The teacher should provide time between each odor suggestion to allow children to formulate the memory and the related smell. Perhaps your students have some powerful memories related to smells that they’d like to share, like the smell of their backyard pool or the smell of their favorite blanket.
Play a game of Smell-and-Tell to build some mindfulness “muscles”. The rules and organization changes depending on size/age of the group. Have 5-10 scents in paper cups ready. Scents can include cilantro, coffee grounds, baby powder, soap, lemon peel, mustard, dryer sheet, popcorn, vanilla, essential oils, etc. Each person has a chance to smell each cup without looking (use blindfolds, eye masks, or closed eyes). Pass a single cup around the circle so each child gets a chance to smell it. When it has gone around the room, ask kids to describe the smell without saying exactly what is in the cup. Model questions: Does it smell sweet/sour? Does it smell familiar? Does it smell edible? How does the odor make you feel? When they’ve described the scent in great detail, count to three and everyone says their guess out loud. Reveal the scent. As they practice, they’ll get better at describing the scent, rather than just naming it.
Ready to move? Guess Who is a fun game to play. You’ll need either a deck of yoga cards (we love our Kidding Around Yoga Cards) or slips of paper with poses written on them. Be sure to pre-select poses that will work with this game. Pass a card to each player. They look at it secretly. One at a time, the player describes all the things their pose card might smell. For example, if you have a “fish” card you might say you smell seaweed, bubbles, salt water, or shrimp. When the other kids think they know what pose the player is describing, they silently come into that pose. The player with the card has to keep describing what they smell until everyone is in the correct pose. Then the next player takes a turn.
End the class with a fun song about stinky feet! Play Kidding Around Yoga’s song. Kids roll onto their backs with their feet in the air. As the song plays, spray their stinky feet with a lavender spray (being mindful of possible allergies). The lavender oil has a calming effect and will help children rest quietly for a guided meditation at the end of class.
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