Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013 - 14 Week 4: Tatty Bumpkin's Pose for the Week is Frog!

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

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

This week Tatty Bumpkin meets a bored and unhappy frog! He is living amongst the reeds in a beautiful pond on Wobble Farm, but he is desperate to investigate what other creatures do. 

Maybe kicking up his back legs like a horse might be fun, or perhaps trying to see if he can be as still as a mouse? Will Frog find something fun and exciting to do? 

Come and find out with Tatty Bumpkin…. 

What Frog Pose Looks Like! 


Jump up high and croak like a frog - "Ribbit!"

Description -‘What to say to your child

Find a clean space and, ideally, take your shoes off.  Squat down balancing on the front of your feet, put your hands on the floor in front of you to help you keep steady. Do a few little bounces, then, 1, 2, 3, quickly straighten you knees to JUMP up high! As you jump, take your arms above your head to touch the sky!


Want to make it harder?

Have a go at being a frog, by a pond, at first hiding then jumping. On a soft floor surface or mat, start by curling up really small taking your chin to your knees to be a frog hiding under a lily leaf. Then move up into the squatting position. Try to balance in this position for a few seconds - you can even stick out your tongue to be a frog ‘catching flies’! Start to bounce and then - JUMP! See if you can do four frog jumps in a row before having a rest on the floor.


Other games

Use fabric squares, ideally green, as ‘lily pads’. Guide your child to squat or crouch down low seeing if they can balance their ‘lily pad’ on their head. Then 1, 2, 3, jump – watch the lily pad fall off!

Why it is ‘Good For Me’

Frog pose will give your child the opportunity to:
  • Strengthen their ‘core’ muscles. As your child jumps up from squatting, taking their arms above their head they will be strengthening their gluteal (hip), abdominal, spinal and shoulder muscles. These muscle groups aid good posture.
  • Strengthen their leg muscles. Jumping will strengthen your child’s quadriceps (thigh), hamstrings, calf, ankle and foot muscles. Your child will be using their own body as a natural weight to ‘work’ these muscles.
  • Improve their sense of balance. Staying still in the squatting position for a few seconds will challenge your child’s sense of balance.  If your child is older encourage them to rock forwards onto the balls of their feet as they prepare to jump and to try jumping up and down without putting their hands down on the floor. 
  • Raise their ‘levels of alertness’. Jumping in frog pose will stimulate your child’s vestibular sense. Our vestibular system is located in the inner ear and is stimulated each time we move our heads in relation to our body and gravity. This sense helps us achieve the right ‘level of alertness’ for any task we do i.e. via our vestibular sense we are able to move quickly and smoothly from sitting quietly to jumping up and down as we cheer on our favourite team. If we sit for too long, with minimal vestibular stimulation, our levels of alertness fall and we may find it harder to think and process information. If your child has been sitting for a while, frog pose may help them become more alert. Doing a few frog jumps in the morning can help your child raise their levels of alertness at the start of their day – making them more ‘ready to learn’. However, don’t encourage your child to do too many jumps as this can lead to overexcitement.

Younger children and Toddlers

 Younger toddlers

Older toddlers


Description of pose

Younger toddlers. Your young toddler will probably love coming up into standing and experimenting with jumping with your help. It is best for your toddler to do this pose with bare feet as then they can truly feel the floor with their feet.  Start by sitting back on your heels, holding your toddler securely round their hips this means they can use their arms to balance. Have your toddler either facing you or facing outwards looking at another adult or baby; then they can either see your face or the other person’s face for reassurance and enjoyment. Remember to tighten your tummy muscles to protect your back and gently bounce your toddler in front of you whilst smiling and talking to them. If they start to look worried, reassure them and try again perhaps with small bounces. Whilst doing this activity encourage your toddler to push up from their feet themselves and reach for the floor with their feet to ‘land’, do this by:
  • Giving them time in between the jumps for them to work out ‘what to do’!
  • Gently guiding their feet to the floor (if possible) and then crucially leaning them forward from the waist before guiding them up into stand. When you add this forward movement into the stand you may be surprised how easily your baby pushes up to standing.
We all have to get our ‘nose over our toes’ before we can stand up (try it for yourself!)

Older toddlers.  If your toddler is older, they may be too heavy or indeed too independent for the above game.  Instead face your toddler and show them how you bend and straighten your knees to jump. Most children will be over two years old before they can jump from the floor – they will usually jump from a low step first. However, your toddler will be keen to practise and will love just bending and straightening their knees copying you. Make the movement fun by:

  • Using two pieces of green fabric, for the lily pads (see above). As you curl up to start, show your toddler how to balance the fabric on their heads – you are hiding! Then as you both jump up the lily pads ‘fall off!’
  • Before you do the frog bounces say “Ready, steady” to prepare your toddler for the movement, then say “Jump!” 
  • Of course you can support your toddler by their hands to jump – but be careful not to stress their shoulders and elbows and encourage them to push up themselves as much as possible. Remember not too many!
  • Doing the actions to the Tatty Bumpkin frog song/rhyme. This time crouch down or curl up with your toddler for the first few verses or let them crouch down or curl up themselves, copying you. Then jump up and bend and straighten knees for the jumps.


Why it is ‘Good For Me’

As you do frog pose with your toddler they will have the chance to:
  • Strengthen their tummy, back, and hip muscles. As your toddler jumps up in front of you they will be using their tummy, back and hip muscles. These muscle groups all have to be strong and active to help your toddler advance both their gross (whole body) and fine (hand) movement skills.
  • Develop their foot muscles. As your toddler feels for the floor with their feet, pushes up through their feet to jump and then reaches for the floor to land, they will be gently stretching and strengthening their delicate foot muscles in preparation for standing. Remember not to do too many jumps as you do not want to strain these delicate muscles by over doing it.
  • Develop their sense of balance. If you support your toddler round their hips as they jump in frog pose, they will be able to use their arms to balance themselves.  Using our arms to help us keep our balance in unstable situations is a sign of maturing balance skills. 
  • Develop early communication skills. As you talk, sing and make faces to your toddler, whilst doing the pose, you will helping them to 'tune in' to you.  
  • Frog pose may help your toddler to raise their ‘levels of alertness’ (see above for older children), as jumping in frog pose will stimulate their vestibular sense. Our vestibular system is located in the inner ear and is stimulated each time we move our heads in relation to our body and gravity. This sense helps us achieve the right ‘level of alertness’ for any task we do i.e. via our vestibular sense we are able to move quickly and smoothly from sitting down quietly to jumping up and down as we cheer on our favourite team. If we are still for too long, with minimal vestibular stimulation, our levels of alertness fall and we may find it harder to think and process information. It is the same with your toddler, if they have been sitting for a while in the car seat or push chair they are likely to get drowsy. Doing frog poses, gently to start with, may help your toddler to become ‘more alert’ and hence ready to learn new things.
But remember, be careful, do not do frog pose too suddenly as this may catch your toddler by surprise and unsettle them completely and don’t do too many jumps in a row as this can over stimulate them - and it might end in tears!


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 its 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  ..

This week Tatty Bumpkin returns to the pond on Wobble Farm but today; the sun is shining, the pond is like a mirror, reeds wave in the breeze and the frogs are jumping.


The pond is like a mirror

One frog is, however, is bored with jumping and asks Tatty Bumpkin if they could find out what other creatures do. Maybe he could lap milk like cat, or kick up his heels like horse? Maybe buzzing like a bee would be fun?

Would kicking up your heels be fun?


In the Tatty Bumpkin class this week your child will have the opportunity to:

  • Strengthen their core muscles, develop their sense of balance, and stimulate their body senses in frog and horse poses 
  • Use gestures or words to express their feelings – imagining they are ‘bored’ then ‘happy’ frogs
  • Develop their sense of rhythm as they jump to the Tatty Bumpkin Frog song
  • Learn about the pond environment and the plants and creatures  they might see there
  • Have fun with their friends; kicking up their heels in horse pose, curling up really small in mouse pose and, of course, jumping as frogs!
  • Calm in Tatty Bumpkin bee pose and realc by the pond 

Lapping up milk with cat!

Will Frog find a fun something exciting to do? Come and find out with Tatty Bumpkin…. 

Find your local Tatty Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html

1 comment:

  1. So pleased I found your blog, this is a really excellent idea and informative too! We loved baby yoga, this sounds like a brill next step for toddlers and bigger kids!