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Super Stretch Yoga HD
Pros: Engaging visuals -- demonstration videos with animations and cute kids -- provide no-pressure encouragement.
Cons: Explanations are a little speedy, and kids can’t exit videos mid-play.
Bottom Line: No-stress introduction to 12 yoga poses and the importance of good breathing captures kids' attention and gets them moving.
This app is probably best suited to a group activity. Teachers can display the videos on a large screen and have kids practice along. Teachers will definitely need to pause the videos to let kids try out the poses and play around with different kinds of movement. Taking and displaying pictures of all the kids doing their best version of their favorite poses can be a fun classroom activity. To extend the activity, kids who are interested can look up more yoga poses and teach the rest of the class. Or teachers can lead discussions about the importance of movement, and of balancing exercise with breathing and relaxation. Super Stretch Yoga HD may also work as a center activity, where videos cycle through and kids come and try various poses as they see fit.
Super Stretch Yoga HD follows Super Stretch as he introduces kids to 12 yoga poses. First, an animation demonstrates the "origin" of a pose (Audo the Down Dog leans on his front paws and wags his tail high in the air to release tension from a bad day, for example), then kids watch a video of one or two kids doing the pose, as the animated Super Stretch explains what they're doing. Super Stretch encourages kids to try their best; no pose has to be perfect. Kids can choose to try each pose individually or to play through them all. Either way, the video stops between poses and Super Stretch reminds kids to breathe as they listen to calming music. After each demonstration, kids collect a star. When they collect 12 stars, they can take a picture of themselves doing a pose and store it in their iPad photo library.
Super Stretch Yoga HD offers a simple, appealing introduction to fun and easy yoga poses. Kids will be drawn to the charming animations and enjoy watching other kids demonstrate the poses. In this effective way to encourage moving and breathing, Super Stretch points out that kids don't have to be perfect in their execution of poses, it’s just important to do their best.
The presentation, however, is a bit fast. It might be easier for kids to follow if demonstrations and explanations gave them more time to experiment on their own. Once kids start a video, they can pause it (great for giving them some extra time), but they can't exit out of it if they change their minds; they must wait for the video to end. Kids will have fun taking pictures of themselves or their friends doing the poses, but would probably prefer to be able to save their progress through the poses across sessions. As it is, kids must collect 12 stars in a single session to be able to take a picture. Finally, with only 12 poses available, kids may quickly lose interest in this app.