As a Pediatric Physical Therapist, I am always looking for fun and creative ways to engage the children I work with, and encourage carry over with families and caregivers outside of our therapy sessions.
Early in my career, with the help of some amazing colleagues, we created Yoga mats with shape cut outs to designate different body parts. With bright colors and soft materials, the Yoga mats were a hit with children of all ages.
The picture above is a shot of our original Yoga mats. Made of brightly colored felt, with cut outs representing different body parts, designating the different yoga poses! For a fun challenge we would flip the yoga mats over and have the child toss a bean bag animal! Whatever red rectangle it lands on we flip over and the child has to attempt the yoga pose! Extra points for extra time holding the pose!
I created many sets of these Yoga mats, and offered a lending library for clients to take home and try with their family and friends. But the sets were fixed and a bit bulky. I wanted something compact, portable and completely customizable that I could share with more families and therapists around the world!
Introducing Dinosaur PT’s Yoga for Kids!
Our updated yoga mats are made of textured yoga mats and foam cut outs with velcro backing on the different shapes. This allows the parent, caregiver or children themselves the ability to transform the mat to allow for different configurations and new challenges! We are able to customize the mats and shapes to size and color preferences of each individual child or therapist!
How to Make your Very Own Customized Yoga Mat:
1. We begin with these colorful textured yoga mats. They can be cut to size, to best fit each individual child.
2. Next trace child’s hand, and begin cutting out hand shapes! We prefer using these foam sheets which give a bit of extra stability and durability to the yoga mats.
3. Trace the child’s foot and cut out footprints!
4. Completely customizable to size and child’s color preferences!
5. Attach velcro and description on the back each shape for easy placement on that mats themselves.
6. Our Yoga for Kids key: the hand and foot shape represent hand and foot of course! While the small circle represents an elbow, the square represents a knee and the oval represents the child’s bottom. You can even experiment with different shapes to challenge the child further. For older children try a different shape or color to represent the left and right sides. The possibilities are endless!
7. Some Yoga for Kids pose options!
8. Provide families with their own yoga cards, with photos of the poses to easily replicate at home! We laminate our photo cards to ensure durability! Use the cards to create a variety of ways to engage the child. Therapists, teachers, parents or caregivers can set up poses for great gross motor workout. For older children, the child can choose a card and create the corresponding yoga mat with their shape cut outs to practice visual-spatial skills and motor planning!
9. You can pack all of your body part cut outs in a small tote bag, for easy storage and clean up!
Here are some shots of the famous Dinosaur PT baby, Abe himself, demonstrating a few of his favorite Yoga poses!
Please share your experiences via email at firstname.lastname@example.org as you begin to incorporate the yoga kits in your practice!
Learn more about Dinosaur Physical Therapy!