Lesson 6: Relaxation: Stretches

By imitating the shapes of animals, children explore different stretches to help to ease tension in the body and aid relaxation.

Learning objective

  • To perform a range of relaxation stretches

National curriculum

All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice.

The PSHE Association Programme of Study recommends that pupils are taught:

  • H16. about strategies and behaviours that support mental health — including how good quality sleep, physical exercise/time outdoors, being involved in community groups, doing things for others, clubs, and activities, hobbies and spending time with family and friends can support mental health and wellbeing

Success criteria

Success criteria:

  • I understand the positive impact of relaxation on the body
  • I can use stretching to ease muscle tension and relax
  • I understand when is a good time to use this technique


Cross-curricular links

  • Nothing relevant to this lesson

Before the lesson


  • Teacher video: Relaxation
Teacher video: Relaxation

Have ready

  • Stretches for children video, ideally ‘animal stretches for children’ which can be sourced online
  • Animal Stretches PowerPoint
  • Link: Cosmic Kids Super Yoga video


  • Animal stretches cards (see Download classroom resources)

Download classroom resources

Animal stretch cards
icon download

Attention grabber

Ask children how well they are managing to stick to their healthy diaries.

Do they have any new fun activities or snack/breakfast ideas to share with the class and update their diaries with?

Main event

Discuss their ideas for relaxation activities, drawing upon the techniques they learned in Year 1 and Year 2 Relaxation lessons (progressive muscle relaxation, laughter, breathing exercises, etc).

Re-cap the positive effects of relaxation on the body and mind:

  • allows your body to repair itself
  • restores your energy
  • makes you more alert
  • helps your memory
  • helps you to learn and concentrate
  • helps your immune system – can stop you from getting ill
  • can make is easier to stay calm

Explain that we are going to explore how different stretches can make us feel relaxed.

Stretches activity

Source the short ‘(animal) stretches for children’ video online (ensuring that you have watched it by yourself first to make sure it is appropriate and that stretches are suitable for the children). Watch the video before looking at the Animal Stretches PowerPoint and looking through and imitating the different animal-inspired stretches in the PowerPoint.

Presentation: Animal stretches

Display the presentation on your interactive whiteboard.

Hand out the Animal Stretches Cards. Ask the children to practise the poses.

The children draw themselves as stick figures, completing the stretch described.

Call out the animal names without describing the stretch.

Children should use their stick figure drawings to help them remember what they should do. Encourage them to look around at their peers to illustrate how they can learn from others.

Discuss when they could use these – at what times in the day? How would this make them feel?

Key questions:

  • Why is relaxation a good thing?
  • When should you use relaxation strategies?
  • What other types of relaxation are there?


Pupils needing extra support: Might need to work in pairs so that one person can do the stretch while the other draws a stick figure to show the pose.

Pupils working at greater depth: Could label the stick figures, describing what parts of the body should feel a stretch or how you should be breathing during the activity.

Wrapping up

Remind children that there are some unusual ways of relaxing, such as laughter – looked at in Year 1. Laughter can make it difficult to feel nervous or worried. It can also help to focus your mind on something else. As if they can think of anything else that could do this.

If you have time, look at a Dance activity from ‘Cosmic Kids’ and/or give children the opportunity to make each other laugh again.

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Stretching to relax their muscles. Describing how relaxation affects the body.

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Describing when to use different relaxation techniques and understanding the positive impact on the body.


  • Relaxation

  • Stretch

  • Breathe

  • Movement

Created by:
Elaine Bousfield,  
Wellbeing specialist
Elaine worked for many years as a therapist with young people. She is the founder and chair of XenZone and its children and young people’s counselling service, kooth.com. Kooth delivers an online counselling and therapy service. It is also an online community…
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