The Mitten by Jan Brett is probably one of my favorite holiday stories, and brings that warm fuzzy feeling all season long. We wrote a quick lesson plan with poses and breathing inspired by the story, that can be taught with or without the book on hand!
Begin class with all the mats in a circle, with a couple extra making a square like shape in the middle. This will be our mitten where we all snuggle up together. Begin with talking about gifts. What gifts have students received that they have loved the most? What gifts have they given that they love the most? Emphasize the idea of sharing something good that you have received, whether it’s a new toy, good book, hugs, or yummy food.
Then tell the story of the mittens. They were a gift to a boy named Nicki from his grandmother, and he loses them in the snow, even after her warnings! Oh no! But perhaps that mitten can give something to someone else.
Then, tell the story that different animals get to share the mitten. Have a few students bring thier mats into the center, then teach the first animal pose. Have everyone learn the pose, but some people in the mitten, and the rest outside of it. Leaving those students, introduce a couple more into the center as the next animal, then continue. By the time the last animal, the bear, enters the mitten, everyone should be in it! Review the poses while everyone is inside before blowing out, using your breath.
Mole: Begin in Child’s Pose (hips on heels, forehead on mat). Bring arms extended above the head and keep the eyes closed. Burrow back and forth by moving the arms in an arch away from the center, and back to the sides repeatedly.
Rabbit: Begin seated upright on knees and heels, bending the arms and bringing the elbows into the sides. Practice bunny breath, first by twitching the nose, then taking a few short inhales into the nose, and exhaling “haaa” softly.
Hedgehog: Begin in child’s pose (hips on heels, forehead on mat). Bring arms upwards behind the back, fingers extended long to make spikes.
Owl: Begin seated upright on knees and heels, arms extended by side like wings. Keeping eyes open wide, twist head from side to side. Take a deep breath in and exhale with a long and low “WHOOOOO”
Badger: Sit upright on knees and heels. Teach kids the Gyan Mudra, which is first finger and thumb touching, other fingers extended, then bring over the eyes to look like a badger.
Fox: Bring yourself to hands and knees, back straight. Rotate hips left and right to swish your fox tail, and alternate raising one arm at a time.
Mouse Pose: Child’s pose (hips on heels, forehead on mat, arms resting by sides OR hands around ears, curled into mouse ears)
Bear: Similar to downward dog, but with a flatter back. Alternate picking up one limb at a time without bending elbows/knees, take deep breaths in and exhale with a growl.