Any parent or caregiver knows that it is difficult for children to stretch and move slowly for any length of time and some find it hard to calm down—so simply telling kids to calmly do poses in a hammock that resembles a swing isn’t going to work. The best teachers know how to present information in a manner that is infused with movement, fun, and play, so children are more likely to retain it. The same methods can be used for teaching aerial yoga to children. Aerial props are an easy way to add an element of fun and novelty to kid’s classes.
Adele Diamond, a professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, found that when we engage in activities, we find enjoyable, our brain produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gets our brain primed for peak performance. This means aerial yoga activities should be fun, multi-sensory, play-based and use props to maintain attention.
Here are a few of my favorite props for aerial yoga:
Bungee is a stretchy band from Bear Paw Creek. Bungee a movement prop for music and movement, group poses, body awareness, and weight shifting. This helps children build strength while having fun. The stretchy band comes in several sizes – we use the personal one for 1:1 use and the large for our classes. This prop is machine washable and made in the USA by Bear Paw Creek.
Ikea Gymnastic Mats. Mountains, hills, and the world are obstacles we create in our obstacle courses. We make our obstacles out of Ikea Gymnastic Mats. Compared to gymnastics products they are inexpensive and hold up well. Mats can also be placed under smaller children to bring the floor closer to the hammock.
Crash Pad. Kids love crashing and it is an essential part of our obstacle courses. Children can choose to fly over it or crash on it (most like to crash). It is a fun prop that allows sensory seekers to gain the proprioception they need in an acceptable manner.
Landing pads. Landing pads can be cut up mats from Five Below (if you are on a budget) or spot markers are fairly inexpensive as well. Spot markers can be found at a variety of online sources such as Amazon.
Aerial props are inexpensive and add an extra element of fun to kid’s aerial classes. If you’d like more ideas on aerial yoga classes for kids check out our aerial yoga teacher training!