Kids Yoga Story: The Singing Mermaid by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

The Singing Mermaid tells the story of a mermaid who has a beautiful singing voice who is tricked into joining the circus by her horrible owner. Enjoy the story with nineteen kids’ yoga poses.

If you ever went to Silversands, perhaps you saw the mermaid who sang in the deep blue bay (Mermaid: Sitting on your bottom, bend your knees and swing the heels to the outside of your right hip. Place your left palm on your right knee. Twist the torso to the left, placing your left hand on mat behind your left hip. Gaze to the left). She sang to the fish in the ocean and they flashed their scales and swished their tails to hear the mermaid sing (Fish: Extend your legs long and point your toes. Drop down onto your elbows, resting on your forearms. Slide your hands underneath your buttocks. Lift your chest up, letting the head rest lightly on the mat). Sometimes the singing mermaid swam to the shore, she sat and combed her golden hair (Swimming: Lying on your tummies, stretch the arms out in front of you. Raise the right leg and left arm up. Balancing the body on the tummy, keep the other leg and arm on the floor. Lowering the arm and leg, switch sides). She sang to the birds on the wing. And the seashells clapped (Seashell: From a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together. Fold forward, resting your hands on your feet. Your head should hang down toward your heels) and seagulls flapped to hear the mermaid sing (Bird: Come halfway up into a flat back. Open your arms wide like wings floating up and down as you fly like a bird).

When Sam Sly’s circus came to town (Circus/House: Open your legs wide but a comfortable distance apart. Lift your arms up over your head bringing your hands together), Sam took a stroll by the sea. He heard the mermaid singing. He said “I can make you famous and rich. You shall swim in a pool of marble and sleep on a fine feather bed.” (Bed: Sitting on your bottoms, walk your hands behind you, fingers pointing towards your hips. Feet flat, bend your knees. Lift your hips up off the ground.) “You shall sing for the lords and ladies. They will pay good gold to hear the mermaid sing.” “Don’t go! Don’t go!” cried the seagulls (Bird: Come halfway up into a flat back. Open your arms wide like wings floating up and down as you fly like a bird). And the seashells warned “He lies” (Seashell: From a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together. Fold forward, resting your hands on your feet. Your head should hang down toward your heels). But the mermaid listened to old Sam Sly and smiled as she waved her goodbyes. And he took her away to the circus, she sang to the crowds round the ring. “More! More! More!” they cheered when they heard the mermaid sing.

Now the mermaid shared a caravan with Annie the acrobat, and Ding and Dong the circus dogs (Dog: Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back), and Bella the circus cat (Cat: Hands and knees in tabletop position, round your spine. Let your head drop down, tucking chin to chest). And she made good friends with the jugglers, and the man who swallowed fire and the clown (Clown: Standing with your legs and heels together, arms to sides and palms facing down, now let’s walk and waddle side to side like a penguin). But she wasn’t friends with old Sam Sly. He made her live in a fish tank where there wasn’t room to swim. And there was no feather bed. When she begged him to set her free he laughed and shook his head. All year long the circus toured. The mermaid longed for the deep blue sea and her songs grew sad. Whenever she begged Sam Sly to set her free, “here you will stay, while people pay to hear the mermaid sing” he told her.

Kids Yoga Flow of the Story with Stick Figures

At Silversands, a seagull was flying to his nest (Flying: Standing straight with your feet together, bend your upper body forward bringing it parallel to the floor. Balancing on your right leg, raise your left leg and stretch it behind you. Extend the arms out at shoulder level) when he heard a song which he loved. And he followed the song to the caravan. Sam Sly was about to lock it. The seagull watched as he turned the key and slipped it inside his pocket. The seagull waited till Sam had gone. Then he perched on the windowsill and tapped with his yellow beak. “Come back! Come back to Silversands. It’s only a mile away. I can find the key and set you free.” “Escape!” barked the dogs (Dog: Coming to all fours, tuck the toes, lift your knees. Send your hips up and back). “Escape!” miaowed the cat (Cat: Hands and knees in tabletop position, round your spine. Let your head drop down, tucking chin to chest). But the mermaid sighed “I’d fail because I only have a tail. (Mermaid: Sitting on your bottom, bend your knees and swing the heels to the outside of your right hip. Place your left palm on your right knee. Twist the torso to the left, placing your left hand on mat behind your left hip. Gaze to the left). Annie the acrobat stood upon her hands and said “This is the only way to get to Silversands. If I give you lessons every night, you will soon learn how to do it.”

Next week, while Sam was snoring, the seagull stole the key and set the mermaid free (Door: Standing on your knees, extend your right leg to the right. Lift the left arm over head toward the right. Slide the right hand down the right leg. Keeping your chest open, bend toward the right side). And he flew ahead to guide her as she walked upon her hands all along the moonlit road (Moon: Standing tall with hands on the sides, sweep the arms up overhead palms touching. Lean over to one side so that the biceps touch the ears). The creatures on the seashore and the fish beneath the foam jumped and splashed and danced with joy to have their mermaid home (Fish: Extend your legs long and point your toes. Drop down onto your elbows, resting on your forearms. Slide your hands underneath your buttocks. Lift your chest up, letting the head rest lightly on the mat). If you go down to Silversands, perhaps you will see the mermaid and she will sing for you.

Relaxation:

What a beautiful story of the singing mermaid, who is tempted away from her home at Silversands to join the circus. She is tempted by the promise of fame and fortune, indeed. Yet, she is kept in a tank by the wicked circus owner Sam Sly. Poor mermaid longs to return to the freedom of the sea. She soon realizes that nothing can replace her freedom, not even fame or fortune. Feeling free and happy is something that cannot be bought with money. The things you buy can make you happy for a while. For instance, you may be happy when you have new toys, shoes, or clothes. The real happiness is not about what you have but it is about how you feel. For the singing mermaid, happiness may be in the sea salt in her hair… or in the flutter of the wings of the seagulls… or in the foam of the waves. You can easily recognize happiness in little things and thus feel freer… now it is your turn to find out little things around you that makes you feel happy… It might be a hug of a friend or parent… a smell of a flower… or a delicious taste of an ice-cream… Give yourself some time to think of…

When you feel ready, you can slowly start to move your fingers and toes. Pulling your knees to your chest, give them a big hug. Rolling over to one side, lift up to a comfortable sitting position. Bring your hands together in front of your chest. Thank you for doing yoga with me today. Namaste!

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