Kids Yoga Story: The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

It is a tale of a rat, searching for sugary treats to steal. Enjoy the story with twenty yoga poses!

The highway rat was rough and rude (Mouse: We kneel down and tuck ourselves into a little tiny ball, like a mouse). He took what he wanted and ate what he took. He went riding along the highway and stealing the travelers’ food (Horse: One knee down, one knee up. Lift and join your hands up high above your head). A rabbit came hopping along the road (Bunny Hops: Hands down flat, arms straight, we tuck our legs up behind us and spring both feet up together like bunnies bouncing). The highway rat cried out “Give me your chocolate and cake, pastries and puddings!”. “I have no cakes, only a bunch of clover” the rabbit replied (Hare: Coming to our knees we lean forward a little then cross our hands behind our back. As we fold all the way forward our arms lift up to the sky like very long hare ears). “Hand it over, this basket of clover belongs to me!” the highway rat ordered (Bowl: Lying on our tummies, flick our feet up towards our bottoms. We reach around with our arms and take hold of our ankles. Kicking our legs into our hands, we lift our chests up).

A squirrel came along the road (Squirrel/Kneeling: Stand on your knees, open your chest, reach up to the moon). He stopped with a shake and a shiver. The highway rat took his nuts. Some ants came crawling along the road (Ant/Knee Hugging: Lying back we draw our knees up and give them a big hug). The highway rat ordered “Give me your sweets and your lollies!”. “We have no sweets but only this nice green leaf” the ants replied. “Although this leaf is bitter, it belongs to me!” declared the highway thief. With never a please or a thank you, the Rat carried on this way. He stole flies from a spider (Spider: Standing with your legs as wide as your shoulders, bend your knees to place your hands inside your feet. Walk your fingers around the back of your feet, like tickly spiders until they are on the outside of your feet, crouching down, resting your legs over your arms like a spider) and milk from a cat (Cat: On all fours, round your back up, then down). The creatures who travelled the highway grew thinner and thinner and thinner while the highway rat grew horribly fat from eating up everyone’s dinner (Rub tummy, Pat head: Sitting with our legs crossed, we roll a hand round and round on our tummies, then we pat our heads at the same time). He was a very fat rat now (Star: Standing tall with your legs wide and arms outstretched. You are big!).

A duck came down the road (Duck/Malasana: Bend your knees deeply, sinking down until your hips are lower than your knees. Bring your palms together at heart center. Push your elbows into your knees to open your hips). “I see you have nothing. In that case, I’ll have to eat you!” the Rat complained. “Hang on for I have a sister with goodies you might prefer. There are plenty of biscuits and sweets in her dark cave” quacked the duck (Cave: Standing with your legs wide, hands together above your head, making a pointy roof). They took to the road, which seemed it would never end (Horse: One knee down, one knee up. Lift and join your hands up high above your head). At last they came to a lonely cave, and the duck began to quack. She quacked “Good evening sister, sister, sister”. “Sister, sister, sister” a voice from the cave came back. “Do you have cakes and chocolates?” the highway robber cried. “Chocolates, chocolates, chocolates” the voice from the cave replied. The highway rat leapt off his horse and he ran into the cave (Roadrunner: Standing up, fold forwards and place your hands down either side of your feet. Step one of your legs back and bend your front knee down into a lunge. Lift your chest). The duck took hold of the horse’s reins and galloped down the road back to her hungry friends (Horse: One knee down, one knee up. Lift and join your hands up high above your head).

Then they shared out the food from the saddle bags (Treasure Chest/Box: Sitting on your bottom, bring the soles of your feet together and fold your body down over the top of your feet to close your treasure chest). There was music, song and moonlight dancing (Dancer: Standing tall, take hold of one leg. Lifting your other arm up to the sky, kick your back foot into your hand and tilt forwards). For now, they could live in freedom, safe from the highway rat. As for the rat in the cave, he shouted (Thymus Tapping: Tap your thymus, using your fingertips and calling out “aaaaoooo”) and wandered. He found his way out of the darkness among the bats, on the other side of the hill (Bat: Turn around, legs a little bit wider, bend forward. Put your hands on your legs like little bats hanging upside down). As they say, he found a job in a cake shop, no more robbing on the road, sweeping the cake shop floor.

Relaxation:

Dancing with joy all night, the inhabitants of the forest fell into a deep sleep at sunrise. They had sweet dreams. How important it is to share in life, not only sharing food, but also sharing feelings. They dreamed how happy and connected they were to each other. What a happy end! When you are ready move your fingers and toes, hug your knees into your chest. Roll over onto your side. We press ourselves up to sit, crossing our legs. We bring our hands together at our heart. Thank you for doing yoga with me today. Namaste!