The Bendy Blog

A Thanksgiving Story


By Julie Pate


Bendy Blog category: Seasonal Goodies, Teaching Techniques

Enjoy a FREE YogaKids Lesson Plan about Thanksgiving.

Teach your kids the story of Thanksgiving through yoga poses with this original lesson plan.

AGES: 2-6, 7-11

MATERIALS

  • Music and music player (Suggested Music: Native American drums, Hallelujah by K.D. Lang, Colors of the Wind by Judy Kuhn, We Are Native American Tribes by Ella Jenkins)
  • Soft ball
  • Paper tree and leaves
  • Markers/crayons/pens
OBJECTIVE
To learn the story of Thanksgiving through movement. To learn a Sun Salutation as an example of how people from around the world celebrate and give thanks every day.
 
VISUAL VIGNETTE
Prepare a paper tree and leaves. Hang the tree on the wall, and as students enter the space, have them write on the leaves what they are thankful for. Have the students tape the paper leaves onto the tree.

 

CONNECTING CIRCLE

 

Introduce the ThemeWe will start celebrating around the world with yoga today. We will start in the United States, celebrating THANKSGIVING!

 

Centering Circle – Say your name and your favorite thanksgiving food and roll a ball to another student and ask them to share. Go around the circle until everyone has shared.
 
POSES AS PATHWAYS/INTEGRATE THE ELEMENTS

 

Take 5 BreathLet’s learn about yoga first! Let’s learn yoga breathing…

 

Sit cross-legged. Lift one finger at a time as you breathe in through your nose and count in your mind: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Pause for a second with your hand up. Slowly breathe out through your nose and count backward – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, putting down one finger at a time for each number. Repeat.

 

Warm-up– Include any warm up poses you like here.

 

Volcano – Once upon a time, about 400 years ago, some English settlers were angry with their king!They were not allowed to worship the God they wanted to, so they decided to leave!

 

Begin in Mountain pose. Bring your fingertips together at the chest. Jump your feet apart. Place your palms together at the center of your body in Namaste Position. Breathe in. Watch your hands as you raise them over your head. Breathe out as you explode your arms outward. Lower them to your sides and return your hands to Namaste. Erupt and release again and again. Make big, exploding volcano noises. Jump your feet back together when you’ve finished erupting.

 

BoatThey bought a boat called the Mayflower.And sailed it across the ocean.

 

Begin in L-Sitting pose and place both hands, palms down, alongside your hips. Lengthen your arms and spine. Lean back and lift your legs up. Balance. Stretch your arms forward, palms up. Breathe in and out. Row your arms forward. Reverse, and row your arms backward.

 

WavesIt was a hard journey because there were a lot of waves.

 

Sit on the ground and bend your knees, placing your feet on the floor hip-distance apart. Move your knees and legs back and forth to the left and right, as they ebb and flow like waves. Use this as a transition pose between the wet poses. It is a fun and accessible hip opener.

 

Moo and Meow and Yawn and FlopAnd they did not have much room to stretch out on the boat.

 

Begin in All Fours Pose. Line up your wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide and arch your spine to the sky. Loosen your neck and drop your head down. Breathe out long as you meow. Now lift your chest forward and look up with big cow eyes. Dip your belly down and tilt your sitting bones up. Your back will sink down like a cow’s. Make cow lips and moo deeply from the back of your throat. Go back and forth, meowing and mooing.

 

Stand in Mountain pose. Yawn as you stretch your arms upward with a big yawning sound and then flop forward in Rag Doll. Repeat several times.

 

Sunrise/SunsetThey were in the boat for 60 days and nights.

 

Sit on your heels. Open and close your wings several times. Then open your wings and interlace your fingers above your head. Stretch your arms up as you lift your buttocks off your heels with an inhalation. Exhale and drop your hips to the right as the arms drop left like the setting sun. Inhale and arch your arms overhead like the rising sun. Then, drop your arms to the right as the hips drop left. Repeat.

 

Tarzan’s Thymus TapThey tried to stay healthy.But many got very sick and some died.

 

Start in any of the base poses, seated or standing. Make two fists and pound your chest. Pound and tap under your arms, too. Howl, yowl and yodel. Feel the power and vibration of your sounds.

 

Child’s PoseAfter 60 days, they reached America at Plymouth Rock.

 

Begin in Heel-Sitting pose. Open your knees a little, so your belly relaxes between your thighs. Bend at the hips and fold forward, letting your shoulders drop down away from your ears and spine. Your arms lie back along the sides of your legs with open palms facing upward. Place your forehead on the floor. Turn your head to one side and take a few breaths. Then, turn to the other and do the same.

 

Tree/Leaf and Woodchopper – They needed to get warm, so they started to chop down the trees.

 

Begin in Mountain Pose. Lift one foot and press your foot against the inside of your other leg. You can use your hand to place your foot anywhere between your ankle and inner thigh. Avoid the knee joint. As your balance gets stronger, you’ll be able to raise your foot higher up your leg. Bring your hands to your chest, palms together in Namaste position. Then raise your arms up above your head. Stretch them out wide, like the branches of a tree. Separate your fingers. Balance and breathe. Now repeat on the other side.

 

Take a stance like a woodchopper with the feet hip-distance apart. Interlace the fingers and swing your ax over your head with an inhale. Exhale as you bring your ax down and split your log. Come back and forth several times. Remain down and then roll up slowly. Repeat.

 

Warrior SeriesThey had a long, hard, hungry, cold winter, but they tried to stay strong.

 

Begin in Mountain pose. Step one leg back while bending your front leg. Keep your hips facing frontward as you raise your arms straight above your head. Say, “I am bold!” From Bold Warrior, turn your back foot slightly outward and bring your arms down parallel to the floor. Keep your front knee bent directly over your ankle. Say, “I am brave.” From Brave Warrior, shift your weight onto your front leg. Pick up your back leg and stretch it behind you. Keep both legs as straight and strong as possible. Stretch your arms forward and say, “My own power I can hold!” Repeat on the other side.

 

Child’s PoseWhen it got warm out, they needed to plant food, but the land was different here, and they had trouble. They also needed seeds.

 

Acorn to TreeThe Native American Indians had been watching the settlers, and they decided to help. So they shared their seeds and taught them how to plant.

 

Pretend to dig a small hole. Place an imaginary acorn in the hole. Pat it down and water it. Now pretend to be the acorn in Child’s Pose. Act out the process of an acorn becoming a tree, ending in Tree/Leaf pose.

 

The settlers were so happy and the Native Americans were too, because they grew so much food, and the settlers wouldn’t have to be hungry anymore! So they celebrated! And we still celebrate that friendship and cooperation today! If we take time each day to be thankful, we are happier and healthier.

 

Sun SalutationIn India, many people do a Sun Salutation each day to be thankful for the sun rising each day – let’s learn it!

 

There are numerous styles of Sun Salutations. This is one example. Start in Namaste, raising your arms overhead and stretching upward. Fold forward into Ragdoll pose. Step back with one leg into a lunge. Step back with the other leg into Lizard pose. Slowly come down to the floor with your knees, chest and chin. Bring your hips down to the floor, and lift up into S is for Snake pose. Curl your toes under and stretch into Down Doggity Doggy Down pose. Repeat, beginning with the opposite leg and finishing in Namaste.

 

Cool Down –Include any cool down or closing poses here.

 

QUIET QUESTS

 

“Waves” – Guided Imagery by Maureen Murdock

 

As you breathe in… and… out, imagine that you are on a wave on the sea going up… and… down… up…and… down. You are perfectly safe, either lying on your back in a sailboat being gently rocked by the motion of the sea. And as you continue to move up… and… down… back… and… forth, you will notice the warmth of the sun relaxing you and feel a gentle ocean breeze. You may notice the color of the sky, the smell of the sea air, and the sound of sea birds above. You notice a sense of calm throughout your entire body as you experience the gentle rocking motion of the sea. Allow yourself to feel nurtured and supported. Think about what you are thankful for. (pause 1 minute) Now it is time to come back. I will ring the bell 3 times. On the third time, slowly open your eyes. Now I will ring the bell 3 more times. When I ring it the third time, please slowly roll to your side. Now, begin to wiggle your toes and fingers, and when I ring the bell the 3rd time, please come to a seated pose.

 

CLOSING CIRCLE

 

Namaste Song

 

Use the song along with the movements to end your YogaKids classes.

 

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Put your hands together at your heart and bow to each other.)

 

I am the light and the light is me.
(Point toward yourself and then to the sun.)

 

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Put your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

 

I shine bright with all I see.
(Move your Namaste upward like in Volcano pose. Separate and arc your arms outward through the air, and return them to your heart in the Namaste position.)

 

The light in me sees the light in you.
(Gently touch your hand to your heart, palms down and extend your arm out to gesture toward another person with an open hand.)
 

 

Bow to me, I’ll bow to you.
(Place your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

 

 
The light in me sees the light in you.
(Point and bow to someone.)

 

Bow to me, I’ll bow to you.
(Place your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

 

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Repeat)

Learn to write and teach your own YogaKids lesson plans!

 

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