I love Cinco de Mayo. Maybe its the lively music, amazing food (enchiladas, fresh salsa, ensalada, chimichangas, mole, tamales, sopapilla…YUM!), remembrances of time spent in Latin America, or the entertaining atmosphere which permeates every Cinco de Mayo fiesta I’ve attended. Each year I like to include some fun Cinco de Mayo inspired yoga activities into my kids yoga classes. Here are a few suggestions.
This is a great sensory activity which makes kids feel safe and secure and stimulates the proprioceptors (the neurons which relay the information of one’s own body position and movement).
Have child lie across the end of a yoga mat with their head off one side.
With their arms down by their sides, roll them up in a mat (include a favourite stuffed animal if desired).
Sometimes kids like to do this themselves by grasping the mat up near their neck and rolling and unrolling repeatedly as they desire. I have one autistic student that does this whenever he feels the need during class which will often inspire the rest of us to join him.
Mexican Hat Dance
Have all the children make a giant circle while holding hands. Place a sombrero in the center of the circle. Begin to play some Mexican inspired music and have the children walk to one direction around the sombrero. When the name of a child is called, that child leaves the circle and dances around the sombrero until another child’s name is called when they rejoin the circle. Continue until all children have a chance to dance in the center.
Provide each child with a paper and pencil. Have each child write as many nice things about their classmate (amigo) to their right as they can in a given amount of time (5 mins). Suggest kind things about how they act, think, play, work, etc. Give the paper to the amigo to take home.
You could also include a craft like paper plate maracas or colouring page of children in traditional mexican costumes.
Teach some of the pose names in Spanish. (Since I don’t speak fluent Spanish I used my iTranslate app. Very handy.)
tree=árbol, mountain=montaña, warrior=querrero, boat=barco,etc.
This will help children to broaden their cultural horizons and appreciate the marvelous diversity which makes up the world. For more information on second language learning in the yoga classroom listen to this interview with Beth Reese of Yogiños.
What are some ways you enjoy celebrating Cinco de Mayo with your kids yoga classes?
By Donna Freeman
I love Donna Freeman’s ideas here.. she is so creative always sharing fun poses for the holidays. No matter what nationality or popularity of the holiday. I plan to use many of these in my classes, and my kids love the burrito pose, and I go around and eat them all up! They always ask for it.