Balloon Squeeze Balls

About Stress

The word “stress” has many meanings. It can be a noun — emotional and physical pressure you experience. (“Homework is such a major stress!”) It can also be a verb — emotional and physical reactions in your body as a result of the pressure. (“Homework is totally stressing me out!”) Stress can also be subjective, meaning it can be good or bad depending on the person experiencing it. (Maybe you love doing homework!)

Nevertheless, when people talk about stress, they’re usually talking about negative stress. This is the bad kind — and it’s important to know how to recognize and deal with it. When you feel negative stress, you also often feel anxious, frustrated or angry. It can also show up in your body — with a stomachache or headache.

So what can you do when you’re feeling negative stress? One GREAT thing is… (surprise!) yoga. Another great thing to do is to use a stress ball — a squishy toy you can squeeze when life gets challenging.


Balloon Squeeze Balls

Create these super-cute Balloon Squeeze Balls for yourself — or for someone special!

Supplies:

  • Balloons
  • Flour
  • Funnel
  • Permanent Markers

Instructions:

  1. Blow up the balloons, then release them — to stretch them out.
  2. Use the funnel to fill the balloons with flour.
  3. Tie the ends of the balloons. (Get a grown-up for help!)
  4. Draw faces on the balloons with a permanent marker.

 

Chakra Butterflies

Chakra Butterflieschakra butterfly craft

About the Chakras

Have you heard the word “chakras” before? In yoga, the chakras are energy “centers” in the body. There are 7 chakras total and each one is has it’s own color and feeling:

  1. Red (the Root chakra): “I am grounded.”
  2. Orange (the Sacral chakra): “I am happy.”
  3. Yellow (the Solar Plexus chakra) “I am strong.”
  4. Green (the Heart chakra): “I am loving.”
  5. Blue (the Throat chakra): “I am truthful.”
  6. Purple (the Third Eye chakra): “I am smart.”
  7. White (the Crown chakra): “I am whole.”

The chakras move up through you body, beginning with the your feet (the “root” chakra) and up to the top of your head (the “crown” chakra). When your chakras are “balanced,” you feel the positive feelings of each one. For example, if you’re feeling super-smart — you have a healthy, balanced Third Eye chakra.

 

About Butterflies

Butterflies are extraordinary creatures. They begin their lives as caterpillars and change into butterflies through a process called metamorphosis. This is why butterflies often represent change.

There are over 20,000 types of butterflies in the world. They live almost everywhere, except in Antartica and the driest of deserts. Butterflies are like birds in that they migrate to warmer weather during colder seasons. (The Monarch butterfly will travel up to 2500 miles!) A group of butterflies is a called a “flutter.” Butterflies can’t hear — but they can feel the vibrations of sound. They also vary in size, ranging from 1/2 inch to 12 inches in length. AND — and this is our favorite fun fact about butterflies — they taste their food with their FEET! Can you imagine?

 

Chakra Butterfly Craft

Celebrate your ever-changing energy centers with a simple Chakra Butterfly Craft!

Supplies:

  • Coffee filter
  • Spray bottle (with water)
  • Clothespin
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Glue

Instructions:

  1. Color the coffee filer with the chakra colors of your choice.
  2. Spritz the filter with water, allowing the colors to mix together.
  3. Set the filter aside to let it dry.
  4. Once dry, pinch the center of the filter with a clothespin to create the body of your butterfly.
  5. Glue on pipe cleaner for the antennae.

 

 

Chakra Butterflies

About the Chakras

Have you heard the word “chakras” before? In yoga, the chakras are energy “centers” in the body. There are 7 chakras total and each one is has it’s own color and feeling:

  1. Red (the Root chakra): “I am grounded.”
  2. Orange (the Sacral chakra): “I am happy.”
  3. Yellow (the Solar Plexus chakra) “I am strong.”
  4. Green (the Heart chakra): “I am loving.”
  5. Blue (the Throat chakra): “I am truthful.”
  6. Purple (the Third Eye chakra): “I am smart.”
  7. White (the Crown chakra): “I am whole.”

The chakras move up through you body, beginning with the your feet (the “root” chakra) and up to the top of your head (the “crown” chakra). When your chakras are “balanced,” you feel the positive feelings of each one. For example, if you’re feeling super-smart — you have a healthy, balanced Third Eye chakra.

 

About Butterflies

Butterflies are extraordinary creatures. They begin their lives as caterpillars and change into butterflies through a process called metamorphosis. This is why butterflies often represent change.

There are over 20,000 types of butterflies in the world. They live almost everywhere, except in Antartica and the driest of deserts. Butterflies are like birds in that they migrate to warmer weather during colder seasons. (The Monarch butterfly will travel up to 2500 miles!) A group of butterflies is a called a “flutter.” Butterflies can’t hear — but they can feel the vibrations of sound. They also vary in size, ranging from 1/2 inch to 12 inches in length. AND — and this is our favorite fun fact about butterflies — they taste their food with their FEET! Can you imagine?

 

Chakra Butterfly Craft

Celebrate your ever-changing energy centers with a simple Chakra Butterfly Craft!

Supplies:

  • Coffee filter
  • Spray bottle (with water)
  • Clothespin
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Glue

Instructions:

  1. Color the coffee filer with the chakra colors of your choice.
  2. Spritz the filter with water, allowing the colors to mix together.
  3. Set the filter aside to let it dry.
  4. Once dry, pinch the center of the filter with a clothespin to create the body of your butterfly.
  5. Glue on pipe cleaner for the antennae.

 

 

Pot O’ Gold Craft

Pot O’ Gold Craft

St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th of every year. St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday honoring Ireland’s patron saint. In Irish language, it is called Lá Fhéile Pádraig, or “the Day of the Festival of Patrick,” St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are a way to celebrate Irish culture, where it is a national holiday. In fact, it is observed (celebrated) in more countries around the world than any other national festival.

Ireland is a European country, but it’s not attached to the mainland. Rather, it is an island in the North Atlantic off the coast of Great Britain. It is sometimes called “The Emerald Isle.” The cool climate and lots of moisture from the ocean air is what keeps Ireland so green.

A leprechaun is one type of fairy from Irish folklore. They are usually portrayed as mischief-making little men with red hair, wearing green hats and coats. Legend says, if you catch a leprechaun, he will have to take you to his secret pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Let’s learn about rainbows while we make our own pot o’ gold!

POT O’ GOLD CRAFT

  • Cotton balls
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple paint or markers
  • Six popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Black construction paper
  • White construction paper or cardstock
  • Shiny gold buttons, paper, or bells – anything that can be glued on to look like gold coins
  1. Color one popsicle stick with each color.
  2. Cut out a cauldron (pot) shape from the black construction paper about 4-5″ across.
  3. Glue the popsicle sticks, color side up, to the back of the pot, so it looks like a rainbow is disappearing into it.
  4. Cut a cloud shape out of the white paper
  5. Glue cotton balls on top to make it look more like a cloud
  6. Glue the cloud on top of the opposite end of the rainbow from the pot
  7. Cut out and/or glue your gold pieces to the top of the pot

*Optional: only make the cloud and the rainbow, and stick the “pot end” of the rainbow into a bowl with gold-wrapped chocolate coins for a tasty party decoration.

About Rainbows

Rainbows are made up of six colors in the visible spectrum of light. Some people use the acronym ROY G BIV to remember the colors: Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. Rainbows form when white sunlight enters tiny droplets of water — called water vapor — suspended in the sky, and breaks apart into all the colors that make up what we call “white.”

The area around a rainbow is brighter than the dark sky behind it because the water droplets are both refracting (bending, breaking) and reflecting (bouncing off) the light. The reflection magnifies the white light, while the refraction makes a rainbow.

You can make your own rainbow by shining white light through a prism, which is a type of crystal that bends light and breaks it apart into its separate colors.

If you want to find a rainbow in nature, you should look toward a dark, cloudy, rainy sky with the sun at your back. You will then be at the right angle to see a rainbow if one forms.

Did you know?

A rainbow is actually a full circle of light, but because of where we are on the earth, we usually only see half of it — in a bridge shape. Can you do Bridge pose and be a rainbow?

There are even “moonbows,” which are rainbows that form in the halo of light around a bright moon!

Sometimes you can find rainbows on a perfectly sunny day in the mist that comes off of garden hose sprayers and sprinklers. And of course, with your prism, which you can leave in a sunny window so there are always rainbows when the sun is shining through the glass.

Unfortunately, you can’t touch a rainbow because it is just made of light, and because the light will only be visible from the right angle, there is no end to a rainbow. So if you catch a leprechaun, it might be better to apologize and offer him a chocolate coin before you let him go, because that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is just a myth; a trick of light.

Pot O’ Gold Craft

St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th of every year. St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday honoring Ireland’s patron saint. In Irish language, it is called Lá Fhéile Pádraig, or “the Day of the Festival of Patrick,” St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are a way to celebrate Irish culture, where it is a national holiday. In fact, it is observed (celebrated) in more countries around the world than any other national festival.

Ireland is a European country, but it’s not attached to the mainland. Rather, it is an island in the North Atlantic off the coast of Great Britain. It is sometimes called “The Emerald Isle.” The cool climate and lots of moisture from the ocean air is what keeps Ireland so green.

A leprechaun is one type of fairy from Irish folklore. They are usually portrayed as mischief-making little men with red hair, wearing green hats and coats. Legend says, if you catch a leprechaun, he will have to take you to his secret pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Let’s learn about rainbows while we make our own pot o’ gold!

POT O’ GOLD CRAFT

  • Cotton balls
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple paint or markers
  • Six popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Black construction paper
  • White construction paper or cardstock
  • Shiny gold buttons, paper, or bells – anything that can be glued on to look like gold coins
  1. Color one popsicle stick with each color.
  2. Cut out a cauldron (pot) shape from the black construction paper about 4-5″ across.
  3. Glue the popsicle sticks, color side up, to the back of the pot, so it looks like a rainbow is disappearing into it.
  4. Cut a cloud shape out of the white paper
  5. Glue cotton balls on top to make it look more like a cloud
  6. Glue the cloud on top of the opposite end of the rainbow from the pot
  7. Cut out and/or glue your gold pieces to the top of the pot

*Optional: only make the cloud and the rainbow, and stick the “pot end” of the rainbow into a bowl with gold-wrapped chocolate coins for a tasty party decoration.

About Rainbows

Rainbows are made up of six colors in the visible spectrum of light. Some people use the acronym ROY G BIV to remember the colors: Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. Rainbows form when white sunlight enters tiny droplets of water — called water vapor — suspended in the sky, and breaks apart into all the colors that make up what we call “white.”

The area around a rainbow is brighter than the dark sky behind it because the water droplets are both refracting (bending, breaking) and reflecting (bouncing off) the light. The reflection magnifies the white light, while the refraction makes a rainbow.

You can make your own rainbow by shining white light through a prism, which is a type of crystal that bends light and breaks it apart into its separate colors.

If you want to find a rainbow in nature, you should look toward a dark, cloudy, rainy sky with the sun at your back. You will then be at the right angle to see a rainbow if one forms.

Did you know?

A rainbow is actually a full circle of light, but because of where we are on the earth, we usually only see half of it — in a bridge shape. Can you do Bridge pose and be a rainbow?

There are even “moonbows,” which are rainbows that form in the halo of light around a bright moon!

Sometimes you can find rainbows on a perfectly sunny day in the mist that comes off of garden hose sprayers and sprinklers. And of course, with your prism, which you can leave in a sunny window so there are always rainbows when the sun is shining through the glass.

Unfortunately, you can’t touch a rainbow because it is just made of light, and because the light will only be visible from the right angle, there is no end to a rainbow. So if you catch a leprechaun, it might be better to apologize and offer him a chocolate coin before you let him go, because that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is just a myth; a trick of light.

Spring Daffodil Craft

Spring Daffodil CraftDaffodil Craft

We’re celebrating spring with a super easy and adorable daffodil craft.

What is Spring?

How do we know when spring begins? Spring falls around March 20 each year at the time of the spring equinox. An equinox happens when the duration of day and night are approximately the same length of time (12 hours day, 12 hours night) all over the world. So even though it might still be snowing where you live, the spring equinox will always happen at the same time of year, all over the world, because of the way the Earth tilts on its axis as it rotates around the sun.

Usually when we talk about spring, we are talking about the seasonal time when the browns and greys of winter begin to give way to colorful spring blooms, and new, green baby leaves and grass begin to unfurl on their branches and poke up from the ground. Even in places that do not reach freezing temperatures in the winter, and places that stay green all year ’round, spring brings big changes in weather.

Where I live now, in Southern California, it is green and cool most of the winter. It doesn’t rain in the summer here; instead, we have a monsoon season, in which most of our rain falls all at once during the winter, over just a couple months. It is mid-February here, and while some of my friends who live to the north of me are still getting snow, the fruit trees are already flowering here, and the weather is warm and balmy. Soon, there will be fields and fields of golden California poppies – the reason California is called The Golden State. Those poppies and many desert wildflowers are the spring flowers Californians enjoy, while you may see daffodils, tulips, crocuses, rhododendrons, or hellebore if you live further north. Do you know the names of the spring flowers where you live? The latitude of where you live affects what kind of winter you will have. Do you know how to find your latitude? 

In the summer here, it is very dry; so much that all the dried up grass in the foothills and mountains turns gold and remains dead until the first rains at the beginning of winter. When I was a kid, I lived in places like Texas and Indiana, where it rained throughout the year, and experienced what we think of as “traditional” seasons: an explosion of flowers in the spring after a long, colorless winter; hot, green, muggy summers; crisp autumns with changing leaves; and cold, sometimes snowy winters.

Those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere (North and Central America, Europe, most of Asia, and northern Africa) call March “spring,” and September “autumn.” Did you know that, in the Southern Hemisphere (Africa, South America, Australia, and some southern islands of Asia), it is completely opposite?  Australians celebrate Christmas in the summer!

What is the weather like where you live? What time does spring come, and how do you know (meaning, do you know because you see specific flowers or animals that you do not see in the winter)?


Colorful Daffodil Decorations

What you need: 

  • Yellow construction paper
  • Paper mini-cupcake holders
  • Scissors and adhesive
  • Wood craft sticks
  • Green paint or marker
  1. Cut out the daffodil shape from the yellow paper.
  2. Adhere a cupcake wrapper in the center, to look like a daffodil’s “trumpet.”
  3. Color your craft stick green on one side and glue it to the back of the daffodil to make a
    stem. You may use more than one stick if you want longer stems.
  4. Curl the edges of the petals forward slightly.
  5. Put your daffodils all around to chase away the winter blues!
  6. Daffodils come in many shapes and sizes. Can you figure out how to make some of the colors of daffodil, pictured at the top of this article?

 

 

Spring Daffodil Craft

We’re celebrating spring with a super easy and adorable daffodil craft.

Different types of daffodils

What is Spring?

How do we know when spring begins? Spring falls around March 20 each year at the time of the spring equinox. An equinox happens when the duration of day and night are approximately the same length of time (12 hours day, 12 hours night) all over the world. So even though it might still be snowing where you live, the spring equinox will always happen at the same time of year, all over the world, because of the way the Earth tilts on its axis as it rotates around the sun.

Usually when we talk about spring, we are talking about the seasonal time when the browns and greys of winter begin to give way to colorful spring blooms, and new, green baby leaves and grass begin to unfurl on their branches and poke up from the ground. Even in places that do not reach freezing temperatures in the winter, and places that stay green all year ’round, spring brings big changes in weather.

(click for big picture)

Where I live now, in Southern California, it is green and cool most of the winter. It doesn’t rain in the summer here; instead, we have a monsoon season, in which most of our rain falls all at once during the winter, over just a couple months. It is mid-February here, and while some of my friends who live to the north of me are still getting snow, the fruit trees are already flowering here, and the weather is warm and balmy. Soon, there will be fields and fields of golden California poppies – the reason California is called The Golden State. Those poppies and many desert wildflowers are the spring flowers Californians enjoy, while you may see daffodils, tulips, crocuses, rhododendrons, or hellebore if you live further north. Do you know the names of the spring flowers where you live? The latitude of where you live affects what kind of winter you will have. Do you know how to find your latitude? 

California poppies

In the summer here, it is very dry; so much that all the dried up grass in the foothills and mountains turns gold and remains dead until the first rains at the beginning of winter. When I was a kid, I lived in places like Texas and Indiana, where it rained throughout the year, and experienced what we think of as “traditional” seasons: an explosion of flowers in the spring after a long, colorless winter; hot, green, muggy summers; crisp autumns with changing leaves; and cold, sometimes snowy winters.

Those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere (North and Central America, Europe, most of Asia, and northern Africa) call March “spring,” and September “autumn.” Did you know that, in the Southern Hemisphere (Africa, South America, Australia, and some southern islands of Asia), it is completely opposite?  Australians celebrate Christmas in the summer!

What is the weather like where you live? What time does spring come, and how do you know (meaning, do you know because you see specific flowers or animals that you do not see in the winter)?


Colorful Daffodil Decorations

What you need: 

  • Yellow construction paper
  • Paper mini-cupcake holders
  • Scissors and adhesive
  • Wood craft sticks
  • Green paint or marker
  1. Cut out the daffodil shape from the yellow paper.
  2. Adhere a cupcake wrapper in the center, to look like a daffodil’s “trumpet.”
  3. Color your craft stick green on one side and glue it to the back of the daffodil to make a
    stem. You may use more than one stick if you want longer stems.
  4. Curl the edges of the petals forward slightly.
  5. Put your daffodils all around to chase away the winter blues!
  6. Daffodils come in many shapes and sizes. Can you figure out how to make some of the colors of daffodil, pictured at the top of this article?

 

 

Bird Feeder

Aren’t birds amazing? They are in a class of their own. Like mammals, birds are warm blooded, but they lay eggs like cold-blooded reptiles. They are covered in feathers. Some fly in the air and some swim in the ocean, play games, use tools, sing songs, do complicated dances, decorate their homes, and some travel very long distances when the seasons change.  Birds are descended from a dinosaur called maniraptoran theropod, the same family as the Velociraptor; some scientists believe those dinos were covered in feathers, too. So when you’re watching a little bird hop around, it’s the closest you’ll get to seeing a real, live, miniature dinosaur!

All year round you can invite birds to dinner at your home with this easy bird feeder.

 

What you need: 

  • Wood glue or hot glue
  • Large craft sticks (between the size of a tongue depressor and a popsicle stick)
  • Yarn or hemp string
  • Peanut butter
  • Birdseed

Instructions

  1. Make the base of the bird feeder. Lay one stick out, and then line up more sticks side-by-side, perpendicular to stick #1 until you have enough to span the width of stick #1 (which will cover the whole bottom of the feeder.) Leaving the other sticks in place, aligned side-by-side, and with all the ends even to each other, put a line of glue across stick #1 and glue it along one edge, so it holds together all the ends of all the other sticks. Use another craft stick and more glue to do the same on the opposite side.
  2. Using the “log cabin” method, build up the sides of your feeder by gluing down two sticks to opposite sides of the square, and then repeating the process with the next two opposite sides, until your feeder is five or six layers of craft stick high.
  3. Cut four equal lengths of strong string, 24-36″ long. Tie one to each corner of the feeder.
  4. Put the feeder flat on the floor and hold all four strings together at the top. Lift the feeder slightly up and make sure it hangs in a balanced manner, adjusting the strings as needed. Now, tie off the strings in a knot about 10-12″ from the top. You will use the remaining top 12″ of string to tie the feeder to a tree branch. If you’re hanging it from a hook, you can tie the top into a loop.
  5. Spread peanut butter all over the bottom tray of the feeder and pour some birdseed on top. Hang your feeder where birds will find it (but far enough from the ground that cats and other predators can’t easily reach it) and wait. You will soon have finely feathered visitors!

More Fun Facts About Birds:

  • There are roughly 11000 species of birds on Earth.
  • The ostrich is the largest bird in the world. If you put a cheetah and an ostrich in a race, the cheetah could outrun the ostrich over a short distance, sprinting short distances at 59 miles per hour. But an ostrich can run very long distances at over 40 mph, and would eventually outdistance the cheetah.
  • Birds have lightweight, but strong, hollow bones that don’t weigh them down while they’re riding wind currents far overhead.
  • Some bird species of birds — like corvids, which include jays, ravens, and crows, are so intelligent that they can create and use tools, play games with each other, and play pranks on their foes!
  • Ostriches, emus, cassowaries, rheas, kiwi, and penguins cannot fly at all.
  • Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world, and some of them travel up to 3000 miles at a time miles in a migration season. They can fly backwards and hover, and can flap their wings up to 200 times per minute! The bee hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world at only 2″ long.

Make your own observations:

What birds are common where you live? If you put different types of seeds in your feeder, do different birds come to eat? Do you see different birds in the summer than you do in the winter? Can you find a bird-watching guide and name all the birds who visit your feeder?

Related YogaKids Poses:

Crane, Flamingo…what other yoga poses remind you of birds?

Handprint Menorah

(Originally published in the YogaKids 2016 Holiday Family Fun Guide)

Supplies:

  • Patterned or brightly colored paper to use for candle flames
  • A piece of card stock
  • Tempera or other water based paint in the color you want your menorah
  • Scissors
  • Glue or glue stick
  • Metallic sharpies, paints, sequins, etc. optional – for decorating the menorah

Instructions:

  • Fold the card stock in half, and then unfold it. Lay it flat.
  • Placing your left hand on the left side of the paper, with your thumb straight up, across the center fold line.
  • Trace your hand, then repeat on the right side, with your thumb in the same place as the left thumb.
  • Paint inside the lines you just traced.
  • Allow paint to dry and then decorate over the top of the menorah.
  • Fold the piece of paper you’re using for flames in half. Draw five flame shapes and cut them out of the folded paper to make ten flames. (That’s one left over)
  • Glue a flame in the center, then “light” one finger of the menorah for each night of Chanukah.
  • Keep the extra flames in an envelope nearby so they don’t get lost, and enjoy the Festival of Lights!

Handprint Menorah

Handprint MenorahHandprint Menorah

Supplies:

  • Patterned or brightly colored paper to use for candle flames
  • A piece of card stock
  • Tempera or other water based paint in the color you want your menorah
  • Scissors
  • Glue or glue stick
  • Metallic sharpies, paints, sequins, etc. optional – for decorating the menorah

Instructions:

  • Fold the card stock in half, and then unfold it. Lay it flat.
  • Placing your left hand on the left side of the paper, with your thumb straight up, across the center fold line.
  • Trace your hand, then repeat on the right side, with your thumb in the same place as the left thumb.
  • Paint inside the lines you just traced.
  • Allow paint to dry and then decorate over the top of the menorah.
  • Fold the piece of paper you’re using for flames in half. Draw five flame shapes and cut them out of the folded paper to make ten flames. (That’s one left over)
  • Glue a flame in the center, then “light” one finger of the menorah for each night of Chanukah.
  • Keep the extra flames in an envelope nearby so they don’t get lost, and enjoy the Festival of Lights!