Have you ever been teaching kids yoga only to find yourself with 7 or 8 minutes at the end of the class, not sure what to do?  It’s too little time for a big activity but too much time to finish early.

It’s those few minutes after you’ve already done the yoga, relaxation, a meditation, and a game.

It’s in a setting, like a school or daycare, where kids get story time and drawing – so you don’t want to repeat.

I’m referring to the places where you charge them for a full hour, which usually flies by, but on these days, the last few minutes seem like eternity.

This happened to me this week in a summer day care class with a group of 3-4 year old kids.  The class was small (8 kids) so all the yoga and games went by fast (compared to when there are 15 kids).  Yoga was right after nap time (3-4 pm), so the kids didn’t need a long relaxation.  Plus an hour with this age group is already on the long side of the class length.

Here are three things I go-to when I want to fill those last few minutes on days like these:

  1. Reflection Time:  Ask the children to list all the poses we did in class.  Which were difficult to do? Which were easy?  Which was the most fun?
  2. Dancing: Free form dance or a Freeze Dance (like Move and Freeze) gives the kids some unstructured movement.  Play many different styles and rhythms of music.  End with a slow song and then a minute of sitting quietly to leave the class in a calm state.
  3. A Goodbye Song: Have you ever heard of Lawrence Welk?  He had a Goodnight song for the end of the show. I also have another song that uses kids names that involves a bathtub, a giraffe, and a plug.Make a slight adjustment to the words, but use the same tune and you have a sweet song to finish class (bubbles optional):

Lawrence Welk’s Good-Bye Song

Here’s one version I’ve used:

Good-bye Maya
So Long Maya (or change the name each time if you have a lot of kids)
Good-Bye Everyone
It’s time for me to go.

Hope you had a happy time, happy time, happy time.
Hope you had a happy time, I had a happy time too.

(repeat with another name)

When you have a few extra minutes at the end of a class do you end early or fill it?  What do you do in those extra few minutes?

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  1. I often use Yoga Tag or Sea Shells which quickly become class favourites http://yogainmyschool.com/2009/09/28/useful-and-fun-yoga-games-sea-shells/

    Teaching a basic chant will also nicely fill the last few mintues of class. Sa Ta Ma Na, Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu, or Om(x3) are wonderful, brief and kid friendly.

    Last suggestion is to let all the kids try one acro-yoga pose with the instructor as the base. Everyone gets a chance to fly! Cool.

    • Thanks Donna – great game suggestion. The acro yoga with the teacher is also really fun with a small number of kids or also when there are other teachers there to help – like in my daycare class. Thanks for contributing these.

  2. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    Sarah – the one word answers are a great idea or else it so easily gets side tracked.

    Lisa – Yogi Says sounds like fun. Do the kids ever try to get out so they can be the caller? I find the older kids like to be it – but I haven’t tried this game so I’ll be adding it to my bag of tricks.

  3. Wonderful suggestions! We like to play ‘Yogi Says’ and review the poses and breaths, etc. learned that day or at earlier classes. When someone is ‘out’, that person gets to be the yogi and call out the next pose.

  4. These are great suggestions and I use them all. (Except the Lawrence Welk song). Sometimes I just sing a bunch of songs. I ask the kids for suggestions. Depending on the age group I might ask how they are feeling. Ask for one word to describe how they feel. Thank you for the smile from the Lawrence Welk video. What a hoot!!

  5. I love these suggestions! Although I have usually run out of time, rather than had extra…still, great info. to have in the back pocket. 🙂