“Take only pictures, leave only footprints.” This is the golden rule when talking about exploring in nature, especially in our national park system where the land and wildlife are protected by law in order to preserve it forever, as naturally as possible. Even though you might see something beautiful, you don’t need it--a picture or memory is enough. We should not be greedy with our natural resources, taking or using more than we need is a waste. Ask students their thoughts about what might happen if you try to take a small animal from the wild and try to keep it as a pet, or what would happen if everyone took the flowers from a community garden. Practice taking “mental pictures” or making memories. Hold up a picture showing a beautiful nature scene and let them look at it for about ten seconds. Tell them to take a picture of it in their mind. Put the picture away and ask them to describe what they were able to keep with them in their mind.
Movement Game: Share the Musical Chair
Like musical chairs/musical mats, but no one is ever “out.” Begin with one mat/chair/newspaper for each student. When music is stopped, everyone finds a spot and then one (or more) place is removed for the next round. For all following rounds, players must make space for each other and share the remaining spots, which could mean squeezing together, sharing a lap, holding hands or elbows, etc.
National Park Yoga We will take a journey to some of our country’s beautiful national parks. We will see and do many things! Remember that we do not need to take anything home with us except for our pictures and memories. Try to remember as many poses as you can, and we will try to list all of them after our yoga adventure!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton Mountain Pose--This park has a mountain climbing school! Stand as strong as the 13,776-ft high Grand Teton!
Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Volcano Pose-- This hot spot has a Volcano Club for kids! The park contains all four types of volcanoes (shield, plug, cinder cone, composite). Begin in Malasana (squat) with hands together at heart center. Feel the heat of the lava bubbling around you and jump up as your volcano explodes.
Biscayne National Park, Florida
Boat/Canoe Pose--Since 95% of this park’s territory is underwater, you have to use a boat to see it! There’s a lot of history under the water here, including some shipwrecks! (Students love to sink their boat at the mention of a shipwreck)
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Sandboarder Pose--In Warrior 2, imagine you’re trying this fun sand sport on a special board made for cruising down the hills of sand. Be sure to avoid areas with trees and bushes!
Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts
Bicycle Abs--Biking is the best way to get around the Cape.
Pine Tree Pose--The pine forests in Cape Cod are controlled and kept as “young forests” by burning them very carefully. This keeps the habitat at its best for the wildlife there. Do tree pose with fingertips touching overhead like the top of a pine tree.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Harbor Seal--Modify Sphinx pose so hands and forearms point out to sides instead of forward. Bend knees and clap feet together.
Green Sea Urchin--They prefer living in the rocky, cold, northern waters of both the Pacific and Atlantic. Lay on back and stick legs and arms straight up to ceiling like the urchin’s spiny needles. See if you can slowly move your arms and legs without bending your knees or elbows!
Orange Sea Star--From Urchin pose, lay down and extend arms and legs out in an “x” shape, stretching as far as possible. Rest and imagine cool water flowing over you.
What do you remember? See how many of the poses the kids can remember from your National Park Tour. Why shouldn’t we take things from parks? (we don’t need those things, leaving them there is helping preserve nature and allows the beauty/wonder to be shared with everyone, wild animals/plants can’t survive out of their habitat, etc.) What can we do instead to remember things we’ve seen or done? (Take photos/videos, make memories in our minds, write in a journal about our impressions, etc.)
Find more information about and pictures of national parks at: http://www.nps.gov/kids/
Happy Summer Vacation or Staycation!