Monday, September 2, 2013

2013 - 14 Week 1: Tatty Bumpkin's pose for the Week is TREE!

By Sue Heron – Training Co-ordinator Tatty Bumpkin and Paediatric Physiotherapist

The pose for this week in Tatty Bumpkin classes is TREE. 

Have you noticed the trees around your home?  If you look really carefully, the edges of some leaves are changing colour. Also, this year is going to be a bumper year for apples, so if you’re lucky enough to have an apple tree close by - it is worth looking at!

This week Tatty Bumpkin wriggles through the Giggle Tree to find herself under a small wood of trees along with her friends the worms. She has a giggle wriggling with the wriggly critters!  

Looking up, she notices some of the leaves are changing colour. They are turning slightly golden, red and orange at their tips. Tatty Bumpkin looks at all the different shaped leaves and dances with them as they float to the ground.

Then Tatty Bumpkin spies apples on some of the trees!

She ‘has a go’ at balancing them in her outstretched hands, on her head, under her chin, even on her feet!  

After all the fun, Tatty Bumpkin has a think, what can she make with the apples and who can help her? She decides to ask the butterflies for their help – but do you have any ideas what Tatty Bumpkin can make with the apples? Remember worms like to eat apples too!

In your Tatty Bumpkin class this week, come and play with Tatty Bumpkin under the apple trees with her friends the butterflies and worms…..


What Tree Pose Looks Like!  


Balance as a tree with your arms out wide!

Perhaps you can be a tall tree, in a forest!

Description – What to Say to Your Child

Stand still with your feet apart and stretch your arms out to either side – these are your branches! Imagine the wind is starting to blow, so take a few deep breaths and blow out softly.  As you blow, gently twist your body round one way and then the other so your ‘branches’ are swaying side to side in the wind!

Want to make it harder?

Now see if you can ‘have a go’ at doing tree pose whilst balancing on one leg. If you are a bit wobbly practise this by leaving your toe on the ground and resting your heel against your other foot.  Parents: blow gently on your child’s body so they can be a ‘tree in the wind’. Collect a couple of apples and see if you can hold them out to either side – then you are an apple tree! Even ‘have a go’ at balancing the apple on your head!

Note to parents:
when your child moves onto one leg guide them to try and keep their hips as level as possible and their legs slightly apart - this means they are using the correct muscles. If your child has a tendency to wrap one leg round the other in an effort to keep their balance – try not to encourage this - instead support them round their hips (so their hands are free to balance) and see if they can stand on one leg, keeping their legs slightly apart. Once they have the idea, you can stand back and let them do the pose by themselves.


Other games

Place a couple of cushions on the floor on a non-slip mat or carpet. Encourage your child to practise stepping on and off the cushions and to try standing in tree pose whilst balancing on a cushion to be a ‘wobbly tree’. You may need to support your child whilst they do this game, in which case, try kneeling down next to them, and supporting them round their hips – by doing this you leave your child’s arms free so they can use them to learn how to balance.

Collect a variety of real leaves and encourage your child:

  • To look at the leaves closely and see if they can be a leaf of a similar shape
  • To experiment with putting the leaves between their toes whilst they are sitting down and try to wave their feet in the air with their leaf! (Watch your child closely so they do not fall backwards). This is a great activity for balance, and strengthening tummy muscles. Older children can see if they can balance apples in their hands, whilst they are waving the leaves with their feet! 

How many apples can you have on your tree?!
  • To play a ‘collecting leaves’ game with you. Put a basket in the middle for the leaves and see how many leaves you can put in it.  As your child plays this game they will not only be feeling the leaves but they will be encouraged to balance in squatting and practise their hand skills as they pick up the leaves,
  • To ‘have a go’ at blowing the leaves – hold the leaf on the back of your hand and see if your child can blow it off!

Find a few apples and encourage your child to:

  • Not only balance them on their head etc. (as above) but also have a go at picking them up with the soles of their feet to put them in the basket. This game is great for strengthening foot and tummy muscles. 

Careful now!
  • See if they can roll an apple under their bare feet – great for balance and for activating their foot muscles.
  • Play the 'wormy apple' game! Carefully core one apple. Then give your child a ‘fuzzy stick’ – this is their worm. Guide your child to post their worm through the cored apple. Younger children will need the apple held for them, and will post the worm through one side and pull it out the other using the same hand. Older children can be encouraged to post their worm through the apple with one hand and pull it through with the other – this is a great activity for eye hand co-ordination and general fine motor skills.

Why Tree Pose is ‘Good For Me’

Tree pose will give your child the opportunity to:
  • Strengthen their core muscles.  As your child does tree pose they will be activating and strengthening their hip, back, tummy and shoulder muscles. These large muscle groups are sometimes referred to as the ‘core muscles’. Strength in these muscles is not only important for more complex sporting skills i.e. football, dance or tennis, but also is crucial for good posture, writing skills and daily living skills i.e. dressing
  • Refine their sense of balance. Balance is a complex process. As children learn to sit, stand and move around so they develop mature ‘balance reactions’. These are automatic responses which help us to keep upright, regain our balance if it is slightly disturbed i.e. bring our body back to the middle or to protect ourselves if we lose our balance completely i.e. put out our hand if we fall. For most children these postural reactions develop as part of growing up and moving around, but if you provide your child with plenty of (safe) opportunities to experiment with and gently challenge their sense of balance this will definitely help them to develop and refine these reactions.
  • Develop their concentration skills. Doing tree pose demands concentration! Guide your child to gently rock from one foot to the other before they try and balance on one leg, this will help them to focus on the activity, rather than rushing straight in! Older children can try and look at a particular point ahead of them whilst they stand on one leg.

Make it Multi-Sensory, Educational & Fun 

In Tatty Bumpkin classes we use unique storylines to make the activities meaningful and to fire the imagination.

All our classes are multi-sensory comprising of:

  • Adapted yoga poses and activities which both stimulate and calm the body senses
  • Dedicated songs and rhythms which are relevant to the stories
  • Bespoke hand-woven props to look at and feel. Tatty Bumpkin has it's own range of fairly traded animal props to back up the yoga poses and bring the stories to life. Our teachers are supported to use natural props in the classes which are great to feel as opposed to smooth plastic

We have carefully linked each Tatty Bumpkin to the new 2012 Early Years Foundation Stage framework. Importantly supporting children to learn ‘how to learn’ not just focusing on what on they learn.

So … The Adventure This Week  ..

Some things are changing at Wobble Farm, children are heading back to school, maybe to a different school, and the trees are starting to change as well. So when Tatty Bumpkin finds herself in a small wood of trees she notices the leaves, of all different shapes, are gradually starting to change colour.

Will you be a star shaped leaf?
Or maybe a narrow, tall leaf?

Some of the leaves are falling to the ground and Tatty Bumpkin has a great time dancing amongst them to her favourite Tatty Bumpkin track.

Here we go! Floating to the ground!

As Tatty Bumpkin looks closely at the trees she spies little birds in their branches. They are getting ready to fly to a faraway land and are eating lots of worms for energy! 

"We have to fly a long way , tweet, tweet! We need worms for energy, tweet, tweet!"

Then Tatty Bumpkin notices some of the trees have apples – and she has a go at balancing apples on her head and out stretched arms – soon she is just like an apple tree!

What a lovely apple tree!

As some of the apples had fallen on the ground Tatty Bumpkin, along with her friends the butterflies, collects them all up, along with some leaves into her basket.  She finds she can pick up the apples using her hands and her feet!

Can you help Tatty Bumpkin collect the apples?

Tatty Bumpkin takes the apples back to Wobble Farm to make the most delicious apple pie for all her friends

Would you make an apple pie or an apple turnvover!
But she has kindly left an apple for her friends the worms to munch. The worms start at one end of the apple and munch the whole way through! Yum, yum!  

Yum, yum!

This story gives your child an opportunity to:

  • Progress their balance and concentration skills in tree pose
  • Bring their attention to their breath as they blow the butterflies and leaves
  • Use their imagination to think of different leaf shapes and to dance and ‘float’ as leaves to a Tatty Bumpkin instrumental track
  • Activate their ‘core’ muscles as they wriggle as worms
  • Refine their eye-hand and eye foot co-ordination whilst they: balance the apples in their hands or on their feet and ‘have a go' at pushing the worm through the apple 
  • Strengthen their delicate hand and foot muscles to collect the apples and leaves. Activate their foot muscles whilst rolling the apples under their feet
  • Have fun with their friends and talk about what they are going to make with the apples!

Find your local Tatty Bumpkin class at

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