Bear Says Thanks Kids Yoga Class Plan
Now part of the Seasonal Kids Yoga Bundle including five festival class plans.
Here is a lovely kids yoga class plan adapted from the story Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. The aim of the lesson is to help children learn about gratitude and being truly thankful. It works all year round but is especially brilliant at Harvest and Thanksgiving. All the yoga postures are highlighted and if you click through you’ll see a picture of the posture as a helpful guide.
You can download and print the full script by clicking the grab button on the left. If you need to get more familiar with the yoga poses, download the Big Yoga Posture Book or for a more comprehensive understanding about teaching kids yoga come and join our online kids yoga teacher training.
I hope you and the children you teach enjoy this wonderful class.
In honour of thanksgiving, we enjoy bringing the story ‘Bear Says Thanks’ to life with yoga. Let’s get ready for our story by making a special thanksgiving sandwich to take to see our good friend Bear and all of the woodland animals. We lay out the first slice of bread, legs long, touching our toes. Then we spread the butter on top (stretching from waist to toes along the legs singing the butter butter butter song). Now we twist one way and get some honey. Bear loves honey and we make big circles with our arms round one way then the other to make sure to get it right to the edges. Now we twist the other way to get some lovely berries to plop into the sandwich. Plop, plop, plop. Mmm. Now we reach high to get the top slice of bread and put it on top, bending our knees a little if we need to reach our toes. There now we’re ready to go find Bear!
We ride on our bicycles to find Bear all alone in his cave (either house pose or dog pose). It’s very windy – blowing in all directions. Sweeping us down and forwards (mouse pose) then up to the sky (camel pose). Repeat. It blows us from one side (high on knees, reach and lean the right arm overhead to the left placing the left hand on the ground to stabilize) then all the way over to the other side (reach left arm up then overhead to the right, placing the right hand on the ground to stabilize.)
Inside we find Bear, huddled into bear pose, his paws covering his nose, listening to the wind. He is bored, bored bored and he misses his friends.
We sit in front of our big friend bear and cross our legs wondering what on earth to suggest!
Suddenly Bear sits up – his legs wide and outstretched – “I could make a big dinner! A feast I could share!” We think it’s a great idea! And reaching into our backpacks (arms only) we pull out our sandwich to contribute to Bear’s feast. Bear says “Thanks!”
Then he gets up and opens the cupboard door . But as he looks through his cupboard using his big hopeful binoculars, he finds his cupboard is bare. He closes the cupboard door (other side). Then bear walks back to his spot feeling defeated once more. “You’re so very kind to offer this food. But I feel bad with nothing to add.”
Then mouse stops by with a huckleberry pie. And Bear says “Thanks!”
Crossing his legs he rubs a hand on his tummy and pats his head he declares, “Goodness me! What a delectable pie!” Then he stretches his legs out wide again, leans forward onto his bear elbows and sighs – “But I have made nothing.”
“Your welcome!” says Hare. Then he points to the door.“Here comes badger and he’s got even more.”
Coming up to a crouch position (kangaroo pose), keep the toes tucked under and drop forward onto knees. Our arms are lifted to make paws. To make them badger like, we make two little fists, folding them forward from the wrists (to get a great stretch from the wrist across the top of the hand) “Brrrr!” says Badger as he tromps inside. He sets down his pole and he smiles real wide. “I’m back from a stroll at the old’ fishin’ hole!” Sure enough, Badger lays down his catch – lots of freshly caught silver fish (fish pose) all still hooked to the line. Bear comes onto his knees and bows forward (mouse pose) saying “Thanks!”
Then gopher and mole tunnel up from the ground. Reaching arms forward, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle forward (from mouse pose) and up (into snake pose) tunnelling like mole and gopher! “We have warm honey nuts. Let’s pass them around!”
We sit kneeling up to enjoy the yummy nuts. All of a sudden, there’s a flap (owl pose) and a flitter (owl pose) and a flurry (owl pose) in the den when in flutters owl (owl pose saying Two-itt two-oo!) with raven (option to do crow pose or repeat the owl pose with a squawk up and down) and wren (tweety bird pose). Wren tweets (wrapping arms around our shoulders to make a tweety beak) “We went flying together (standing tall, extend the arms wide, lift the right leg up behind you and tilt forward into flying pose) swooping over houses (house pose). Then we flew through the woods (repeat flying pose on the other side). We landed in a pear tree (tree pose). It was windy, but the trees were strong! You couldn’t blow them over! (Try blowing the children over both sides). Raven adds, (sitting in a crow pose ready crouch with hands planted and up on the tiptoes/balls of the feet) “We have brought pears from the tree and herbs to brew tea!” Ooo. We get ready to brew the tea, sitting with our legs crossed, holding our knees, arms outstretched. We swirl the herby leaves round one way, moving from our hips in a big circle. Then the other way! Round and round.
Sitting with his legs out wide, Bear suddenly says “Wait…!”
He mutters, drawing one leg in, so the sole of his big paw (foot) rests on the inside of his outstretched thigh then brumbles his lips (horse blow) as he folds down over his long leg (head to knee forward bend). He stutters, swapping his legs now, folding down over the other leg (head to knee forward bend), again brumbling (horse blow). On his face he wears a big frown. Bear sits up tall, stretching out both legs wide and he sighs (breathing in, sighing out) and he moans (breathing in, sighing more audibly) as he draws the soles of his paws together in butterfly pose, he holds his claws (toes) and rounds his back, hollowing his tummy and hanging his head down low. He says:
“You have brought yummy treats. You are so nice to share. But me, I have nothing. My cupboards are bare!”
All tucked up tiny and small like a ball (mouse pose) Mouse squeaks, “Don’t fret. There’s enough dear Bear. You don’t need any food, you have stories to share!”
We friends hug him tight (sitting up high on our knees and wrapping arms all the way round)
It will all be alright!
And Bear lifts his head, sits tall and says “Thanks!” with a big smile.
Legs crossed, bottom planted on the mat, we reach forward to lay out our feast in front of us. And Bear takes his seat (chair pose) and we all gather round. Some are seated on one side coming into mermaid pose – legs swept round twisting to look up to Bear. Some are seated the other side (mermaid pose other side) – legs swept round the other way, twisting to look up at him the other way.
Coming to kneel – here we are in a cave in the wood, in a warm bright lair.
We friends feel grateful for our good friend Bear.
We pass around platters. We tweet and we chatter.
And we all say “Thanks!” with our hands in prayer together.
We lie ourselves down and rest for a while. Letting our bodies get lovely and comfortable. As we come to a calm still place our mind wanders and we begin to think of all the people in our life who we are so thankful for. Our families who love us and take care of us. Our teachers from whom we learn so much. Our friends who we laugh with and play. We spend these moments here in our rest, sending special wishes of thanks for all that they do, for helping us be the best that we can. Thanksgiving is the time to celebrate the beautiful world that we are a part of and everyone we know for making our lives so wonderful. We whisper the word ‘Thankyou’ all together. After 3 – 1,2,3 “Thankyou.” Slowly we come up to sit and bring our hands to our hearts. Giving thanks for our yoga today by saying our magic word… Namaste.
In preparation for the class, print out the following Bear Says Thanks ‘I am thankful for…’ activity sheet. Hand them out with pencils so the children can write or draw in the hearts what they are most thankful for.