Win All Four Cosmic Kids Books for Your School Library!
For our competition, we want you to pick one of the covers of our brand new books to colour in, any way you like! You could use crayons, pens, pencils or paints, stripes or spots, different patterns and multicolours! Just use your imagination and create your very own Cosmic Kids book cover.
To enter, colour in one of the covers below and share a photo of your entry on Instagram, Twitter or our Facebook page, using the hashtag #CosmicKidsBooks. Don’t forget to use the hashtag to make sure we don’t miss your work of art! You can create your entry in class or at home, just make sure you add your first name, age and the name of your school in the comments along with your entry.
Save and print a picture to colour in from the attachments below, and we’ll announce the winners when the competition finishes on 2nd March. And for anyone colouring at home to win books for their school, Jaime will send you a special Cosmic Kids fan pack too!
Good luck everyone and happy colouring!
8 Ways Kids Can Benefit From Yoga
As more schools include children's yoga in their classrooms, we wanted to talk about some of the benefits of kids' yoga, from physical health to wellbeing.
Yoga has been long used by adults who've found a range of positive results, from improved posture to reduced anxiety. Through teaching children yoga, we've found that many of these effects are actually experienced by kids too. If you've been thinking about introducing your child to the world of kids' yoga, here are just some of the benefits...
As children regularly practice yoga, mastering new poses and creating a flow between their body and mind helps builds confidence. Even a simple step like a child being able to touch their toes after practicing each week, creates the feeling of achievement. Yoga allows every child to move at their own pace which helps mastering a pose to feel important and special. Thanks to the fact that each child can achieve at their own pace, the comparison to others that they may experience elsewhere is completely removed.
2. Kids' Yoga Promotes a Healthy Body
Regular yoga practice helps promote a healthier body through poses that stretch, strengthen and build coordination too. Kids’ yoga improves flexibility and increases blood flow, which in turn can help reduce the risk of injury during other physical activity. In our recent survey of teachers around the world using Cosmic Kids Yoga in their classes, 97 percent of saw improvements in their children's body strength, hooray!
3. Kids' Yoga Improves Concentration
Part of the positive changes teachers have found from using yoga in classes is the improvement they see in concentration. After a kids' yoga session teachers have seen improvements in attention and even behaviour too. Using yoga as a short brain break between classes or subjects can help allow kids to better focus, which in turn means more learning! A teacher from our survey commented that ‘my children’s ability to focus and sustain attention to a task significantly increases after doing yoga’.
4. Kids' Yoga Helps Kids Manage Stress Through Breathing
Controlled breathing can work wonders for stress and anxiety, helping to give us a sense of calm and reassurance. When these breathing techniques are taught properly, this is no different for children. Yoga helps kids understand how to use their breathing to reduce stress and feel in control when they feel anxious. Once they master this whilst practicing yoga they can take this technique away with them to use whenever they need reassurance. Frontiers in Psychiatry talk about yoga as a powerful tool to minimise anxiety and encourage self-regulation in children. Whilst research is still growing in this area, they have a brilliant article pulling together theories on the benefits of children’s yoga for mental health further.
5. Kids' Yoga Promotes Inclusivity
We all want our children to be healthy and activities like football, athletics or gymnastics are very popular for school age children to keep active. Not all children enjoy the competitive nature of sports though, and performing to win just doesn't suit all characters. Part of the reason yoga is so successful in schools is its inclusive nature. Yoga practice does not focus on levels of ability, winning or even being better than the person next to you. It instead encourages you to be the best you can be, putting the focus on the self. By promoting inclusive practice as a group, no matter what your level, kids' yoga is great for children who don’t flourish in competitive environments.
6. Kids' Yoga Introduces Kids to Mindfulness
Yoga helps to align the body and mind, meaning it can be a great introduction to mindfulness too. Children’s yoga often uses stories to engage kids, usually with a mindful message to take away; whether it's about building confidence, finding inspiration or simply following your dreams! By using the whole body and thinking about our breath in each pose, children finish yoga feeling aligned, calm and happy. A school in Baltimore recently replaced detention with meditation, providing a room set up for mindfulness, yoga and breathing exercises to calm children. Since this big change they have seen changes in behaviour, better self-regulation and amazingly, zero suspensions.
7. Kids' Yoga Teaches Through Stories and Song
Yoga for kids usually includes songs, story-telling and wordplay for fun. This gives the opportunity for younger children to learn new words and help develop language alongside their pre-school learning. The benefit of adding songs means that the physical movements can combine with the cognitive process of discovering new words - a kinaesthetic process, which aids learning.
8. Kids' Yoga Improves Coordination & Balance
For grown-ups and children alike, yoga is a brilliant way to develop coordination. As yoga poses work to use a range of muscles, kids find their body working in symmetry, improving body coordination and encouraging motor development. Of the teachers we talked to who regularly practice yoga in classes, an amazing 97 percent saw positive changes in their children’s balance.
As yoga becomes more readily available for children, parents asking ‘is kid's yoga right for my child?’ can know that there are a whole host of benefits for children. Whether it be through physical health or wellbeing, the positive mindset children’s yoga encourages leaves kids feeling aligned, focused and happy. As specialist children's yoga like Cosmic Kids also meets official guidelines for physical activity in schools through aerobic activity, muscle development and bone growth, it's perfect for class, home and beyond!
If you'd like to see what we're talking about, try this kids' yoga playlist for beginners. With slightly slower yoga adventures, it introduces children to key poses and most importantly, the fun of kids' yoga! We're always on hand to talk more about all things yoga. If you're interested to hear more, comment below or join us for a chat on Facebook or Twitter.
Kids Yoga in Schools - Our 2016 Teacher Survey
In late September 2016, we did a survey of teachers who use Cosmic Kids videos in their classrooms. We wanted to find out how they were using Cosmic Kids and what benefits they were seeing. We got a good response (468 respondents) and have learned a lot from the survey. Thank you so much to everyone who took part! You've shared a lot of positive changes in your classrooms, from wellbeing to concentration and in this post we'll share some of the feedback you gave us and the exciting changes we'll be making thanks to your input.
We have noted every piece feedback, from light users as well as heavier users of Cosmic Kids in the classroom. For this analysis (of the impact of Cosmic Kids on students), we are focusing on respondents who use Cosmic Kids at least once a week in their classroom. That's 372 of the 468 respondents. Teachers who use it less than once a week are also seeing very positive changes but we are most interested in regular use. We picked once a week or more as our measure. This feels about right to us - it means it's a habit.
Teachers believe overwhelmingly that Cosmic Kids has a positive effect on their students
99.7% of teachers who do Cosmic Kids with their class at least once a week believe it is having a positive effect on the students’ wellbeing. You'd expect this of course - it's why they've made it part of their teaching week - but it's still good to know!As it happens, the one teacher who didn't think it was having a positive effect had just started doing Cosmic Kids the previous week and thought it would be wrong to say she'd seen a change. Well said!
Teachers attribute a wide range of positive changes to Cosmic Kids
We asked about changes in behaviour, ability to focus, empathy & awareness, and strength & balance. Many teachers are seeing some excellent change in their students. A number of teachers said they were unsure if they could attribute change to Cosmic Kids over the other variables at work in their classroom, but many said they were able to attribute change directly to the yoga and mindfulness videos they'd been using in class.
97% of teachers have seen a positive change in students’ behaviour (51% a marked change)
96% of teachers have seen a positive change in kids' ability to focus (51% saw a marked change)
90% have seen a positive change in students' empathy and awareness (37% saw a marked change)
97% have seen a positive change in their strength and balance (57% saw a marked change)
A photo posted by M I S S H ???? (@teaching.with.miss.h) on
We need to make some shorter videos!
One of the many inspiring things for us to come out of this survey is the discovery that many of the opportunities to use Cosmic Kids in a teaching day are brief. Many are just transitions between things, a bit of a brain break before doing something else. Many teachers use the full-length episodes we offer for PE and Indoor Recess but thanks to this feedback we are now working on a new series of 5 minute short yoga breaks - called Ready Steady Yoga. This will start appearing on our YouTube channel in January! Subscribe to our Youtube channel if you haven't already!
Some teachers have discovered our full range of videos, but quite a large proportion haven't yet...
A lot of teachers use our Yoga Adventures, and now many have also discovered our Zen Den (mindfulness) series, Peace Out (guided relaxations) series and Namastories (literacy) series. There are still quite a number of people though who haven't started using our other collections of videos.
We're working on this, by coming up with ways to share the wider range of videos that we make. One change we've already made is on the Watch Page of our website. All of our videos are on there now (not just the yoga adventures; also all Zen Dens, Peace Outs and Namastories.) We've also made a handy filter to make it easy to find something that's right for your teaching need in the moment.
Cosmic Kids videos are used most often for kids aged up to about 9 years old
Most teachers who responded to the survey are teaching kids from 3 to 9 years old. We've also had feedback that kids aged up to about 9 like Cosmic Kids best. After a certain point - perhaps around 9 when some kids can become a bit more self-conscious - the style of our videos can seem 'babyish' to some.
In light of this, a number of teachers of older kids have asked us to do yoga and mindfulness videos for 9-12s. There is more on this below in the Feedback section.
There are some amazing stories about the impact of Cosmic Kids
We also asked for qualitative feedback about how Cosmic Kids is helping kids in the classroom, and we were thrilled to get so many wonderful stories from the teachers who responded. Cosmic Kids is clearly having a huge impact. This is obviously why we do it, but it is still really nice to hear it.
We've grouped the stories into themes so you can get a sense of what people are saying. The headlines are written by us, but everything in quotation marks is a quote from a teacher who took the survey.
1. Cosmic Kids gets students moving, because it’s fun.
2. Cosmic Kids is helpful for teachers because it's inclusive
3. Cosmic Kids creates a positive atmosphere in class
4. Cosmic Kids helps kids become better at self-regulation
5. Cosmic Kids helps kids focus
We asked for feedback about how we can improve...
There were five common requests. Here’s what they were and what we are going to do about them.
Make shorter episodes - for brain breaks. We are creating a new series called Ready Steady Yoga - 5 minute yoga sessions which are great for in-class transitions. Coming in early 2017.
Make them slower for younger kids and kids with additional needs. We are incorporating some shorter and steadier episodes in our release schedule. Arnold the Ant is an example of this. We also have a playlist on YouTube of the slower yoga adventures.
Turn off the ads! We now have an ad-free platform called Cosmic Kids Complete. For $40 a year, you get ad-free streaming access to all our videos. You can try it free for two weeks. You can also pay to download many of our videos there so you can watch them offline.
Create a set of rewards, and/or a structure so kids can keep track of what videos they’ve done. We are working on this and will keep you posted. In early 2017, we hope to be able to offer a downloadable ‘passport’ in which kids can tick off the episodes they’ve done. Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook for more info.
That's it for now. If you've read this far I'm seriously impressed! You might even like to look at the full survey results...
How Cosmic Kids Yoga Meets Official Guidelines for Physical Activity
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends 60 minutes a day of activity for kids aged 6+, focusing on three types of activity: aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening. Other countries have similar guidelines. UKCanadaAustraliaNew Zealand
Here’s how Cosmic Kids yoga delivers against recommended physical activity guidelines.
1. Cosmic Kids yoga offers aerobic activity (in which young people rhythmically move their large muscles.)
A Cosmic Kids yoga adventure is designed to be a workout. It moves at a good pace to hold the attention of the kids and to make sure there is aerobic activity in the exercise. With the sequence of poses working to bring a story to life, there is a continuous flow of poses which means the heart rate stays in a healthy cardio range. In a Cosmic Kids yoga adventure, there is always plenty of hopping, jumping, running on the spot, swimming actions and dancing to be enjoyed - a varied blend of aerobic activity. One particular aerobic highlight kids love in all CK adventures…Monkey Jumps! They certainly get your heart going!
A photo posted by M I S S H ???? (@teaching.with.miss.h) on
2. Cosmic Kids yoga offers muscle-strengthening activities - making muscles do more work than usual during activities of daily life. This is called "overload," and it strengthens the muscles.
When we do yoga, we use our own body weight to achieve the ‘overload’ required to build and strengthen muscles. Scuttling around in crab pose has the arms and legs supporting the torso. Sailing along in boat pose has the muscles in the core contracting to hold up our legs, and upper body keep and stay balanced as we charge through the waves. Lifting high into Unicorn pose and taking big steps through the sticky mud involve strong lunges which the large muscles in our legs and bottoms (the quads and gluts) working hard. Yoga poses don’t just require us to use the big muscle groups; we have to use all the little ones too. The muscles in the feet, ankles and often hands and fingers have to work hard as we hold a balancing pose. The smaller harder to reach muscles in the upper back are activated with snake pose or an airplane pose. This is one of the reasons why so many sporting stars and athletes practice yoga - the poses build strength in the muscles around the joints which helps to prevent injury.
3. Cosmic Kids yoga offers bone-strengthening activities - producing a force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength.
Weight bearing yoga poses like surfer pose encourage the retention of calcium and increase bone mass. When we perform weight-bearing poses we hold the weight of our body up against gravity. Resisting gravity puts a mild stress on the bones. That stress encourages the bones to lay down the new growth – which is especially important in kids. Unlike other weight-bearing activities like running or skipping, yoga doesn’t include much in the way of impact, so it’s very unlikely to damage cartilage or stress the joints. Instead, it lengthens muscles and holds them there, creating good tension on the bone.
Cosmic Kids yoga is a free resource on YouTube so that as many kids as possible can benefit. Yoga Adventures are fun so that kids want to do them – they don’t even know they are exercising. We recommend them for kids aged 3 to 9 or so. Thousands of teachers are using Cosmic Kids Yoga as a resource now – some as often as every day.