Not A Box: An OMazing Kids Yoga Lesson Plan & Book Review

Not A Box: An OMazing Kids Yoga Lesson Plan & Book Review

We had SO much fun in OMazing Kids Yoga this week doing yoga to the story “Not a Box” by Antoinette Portis!

I brought a medium sized cardboard box for each child since we had a small group of 5 kids & I wanted them to be able to experience being “in” and “out” of the box. I also selected this size of boxes since I wanted large surfaces for them to be able to put pictures on since the kids I see in that group have difficulty with fine motor control. The paper template in the Not A Box Activity Guide listed below would be great if you had a very large group and the kids had the ability to handle that level of fine motor task. Or you could also have each child bring their own box to the group (of course have a few extra boxes on hand in case someone forgets to bring one).

As a motivator/reinforcer for the kids to participate, they earned a coloring sheet for each pose they participated in and then got to glue it on their own box. To keep the flow of the group going, we saved the coloring of the pictures for the end. Worked like a charm…. the child who had so much difficulty staying engaged last week was a great yogi this week and was SO proud of his “not a box” creation. Wish I could have taken pictures to share but that’s not possible in the hospital setting due to HIPAA rules.

Opportunities for yoga poses/activities in this book:

  • bunny breath
  • racecar (Could do as group pose or individually sitting in your box or on the yoga mat. Sit with legs & arms straight out. Point/flex feet to hit the gas pedal or brakes. “Steer” your car with arm motions or could also add a hula hoop to be the steering wheel.)
  • mountain (We stood in the box to do mountain pose. It was a great opportunity for the kids to use motor planning skills to figure out how to get in/out of the box and to practice asking for help when they needed it.)
  • firefighter (a variation on elephant pose & crescent moon pose – hold hand together at midline to be the firefighter’s hose and then bend in different directions as you squirt water on the burning building)
  • robot (move & freeze like robots. Could also incorporate mindfulness to see how closely the kids can imitate specific robot movements)
  • pirate
  • balloon breathing
  • elephant
  • boat
  • humming breath (as we are thinking “Hmm”)
  • rocket (variation of volcano pose  – squat down with hands together at heart, countdown (we did 3, 2, 1 given our kids short attention spans), then “blast off” as you jump up, lift your arms and exhale loudly)
  • star
  • planets (group activity – one child in the middle as the “sun” and the rest of the group move in a circle “orbiting” around the sun)
  • Affirmation: I am creative – I use my imagination!
  • Relaxation: Listening to relaxing music as we colored all the pictures we had glued on the “not a box” creations. Each child was given only 2 crayons so they would have the opportunity to practice social skills in asking to trade colors with the other kids.
  • Each child took their “not a box” creation with them to play with later


“Not a Box” Playlist

This book will also be great to use in my work as a Speech-Language Pathologist. So here are several other reasons I LOVE this book:

  • Simple text.
  • Clear illustrations (combination of black, white, red & yellow) are great for young kids and will especially be helpful for kids who may have difficulty attending to pictures in other books due to visual impairments or conditions like ADD/ADHD or Autism. Many kids with cortical visual impairments tend to respond well to these specific colors so I can’t wait to try this book out the next time I have a patient with CVI.  (Here’s a great CVI tip sheet:
  • Great repeated line “It’s NOT a box”. Repeated lines provide great predictability for emergent readers, are great for intraverbal fill-ins in a ABA Verbal Behavior program and are great opportunities for kids to participate in reading the story either verbally or through the use of a single message voice output communication aide (ex: BigMACK).
  • Opportunities for practicing inferencing & predicting skills (looking at the details in a picture for “clues”).
  • Lots of practice of “positional” words (in, on top, beside,  behind, etc…)
  • Great use of two “Wh” questions (why, what)
  • Great way to teach “negation” (the concept of “not”)
  • Encourages “flexibile” thinking & creativity (often very difficult for many kids with special needs…. Especially those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder).

I purchased my copy of the book on Amazon:

Free Activity Guide (9 page PDF): (also saved on my blog at: Not A Box Activity Guide)

Printable Coloring Pics to Color & Paste on a “Not a Box” Box – I use them as a reinforcer for kids to try each pose in the Therapeutic Yoga Group for our inpatients at the JD McCarty Center. They get a pic to add to their box for each pose. The large pics work well on a large box – like copy paper comes in or larger. The small pics work well on smaller boxes or with kids that get too focused on coloring.

not a box (full page pics) – 11 page PDF

not a box (small pics) – 4 page PDF

bunny puppet for It’s Not a Box

bunny puppet for It's Not a Box

See the entire book in this cute YouTube video:

Great review & ideas from Picture Books & Pirouettes & Maria’s Movers

Great blog post from another SLP with more ideas for this book:

More out-of-the-box fun in this blog post: & bought Sitting in My Box by Dee Lillegard to extend the box theme:

Encourage some out-of-the-box “food fun” with these creative snack ideas:

Food Fun

There are lots of fun Pinterest pages & blog with fun kids snacks & bento box ideas!

Here’s a great “think outside the box” mini poster from FableVision Learning to go with this theme:  

(1 page PDF – / also saved on my blog at: Think Outside The Box mini poster)

Also love this:

See how we used this book in a free storytime event for Better Hearing & Speech Month at the JD McCarty Center in May 2013.

Feel free to comment & share your “not a box” ideas 🙂

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2

Speech-Language Pathologist

Founder of OMazing Kids Yoga, LLC – inclusive yoga for kids & teens of all abilities in Norman, Oklahoma

Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2





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