April showers bring May flowers, (and bugs), which means backyard season is officially open! In the spirit of outdoor play, I will be featuring my top Spring picks throughout the season. First up, and this week’s story-telling Sunday feature, goes to “The Yoga Game in the Garden” - written by Kathy Beliveau and illustrated by Denise Holmes.
This book checks off so many boxes. Fun sing-song rhymes, check! Animal facts, check! Cute illustrations, check! Encouragement of physical activity, check! Outdoor exploration, check! Practice of mindfulness, check! "The Yoga Game in the Garden" is a perfect way to incorporate story time into backyard fun, so let’s dig right in (pun intended)…
The book opens up with a call to action, and children know right away that they are going to be part of the story.
“Wiggle your toes and touch your nose.
Now can you guess the yoga pose?
First we listen to the clue,
then we see what we can do!”
From that point on, each yoga pose is paired with a Spring-themed animal. Kids are exercising their minds by piecing together animal clues, all the while physically exercising with the yoga poses. The best part? They're outside in nature, smelling the flowers, listening to the birds tweeting, watching the occasional squirrel race up the tree, and surrounded by all things Spring time! Can you tell I’m excited that ‘winter jacket season’ is over?
Beliveau’s writing style is excellent. Simple, naturally flowing rhymes, and super cute descriptions for each animal. The butterfly verse is my personal favourite:
“I flit and flutter everywhere,
happy, free, as light as air.
With silent grace, I land on things,
and sunlight dances on my wings.
What am I?”
If only I could live my life like a butterfly! I would certainly flitter and flutter to a warm beach destination, sip on the sweetest flower nectar, and land gently in a sea of my butterfly family. Giving up coffee would be a problem though. One can dream, right?! This is what a wonderful children’s book is capable of - transporting your mind into the most imaginative places.
The book ends with a special message that reads like a mantra for kids, and quite frankly, applicable to adults too! Here's a sneak peek:
It’s no surprise to learn that Kathy Beliveau has studied Children’s Yoga & Safety and is a certified Yoga Instructor. Her love of nature and sense of calm definitely shines through this book. Further insight into the benefits of learning yoga and mindfulness as children, as well as teaching resources can be found on her website:
I LOVE this book and highly recommend it for primary school aged children.