The posture for the week in Tatty Bumpkin classes is boat.
This week Tatty Bumpkin finds herself on a beach along with her friend Rabbit.
Lying on the sand, at the water’s edge, she spies some pieces of wood, a square of cloth and an old sturdy box. Tatty B has a think, what can she build out of all these bits? Of course a boat!
Soon Tatty Bumpkin and Rabbit are sailing on the wavy ocean and it is not long before they discover a little Island. Ever ready to explore Tatty Bumpkin and Rabbit creep through the island’s forests and find a group of enormous statues, standing still and tall in the middle of the island!
BOAT Pose - Older Children
|Row back and forth with your friend!|
Description of Boat Pose - Older children
Note to parents – Boat pose is a pose for two people, as you do boat pose with your child you will not only be having fun but will be strengthening the bond between you both.
What to tell your child
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front with a friend or grown up. Hold each other’s wrists, and put your legs either inside and under or, outside and over your partner’s legs. Rock gently backwards and forwards with your friend. You might feel a tightness at the back of your legs as you stretch your hamstring muscles.
Want to Make it Harder?
With a friend or partner, rock further forwards and backwards and side to side. Be careful that you both rock in time to each other and definitely do not pull too hard! Talk about different boat shapes or the creatures you might see in the waves.
|The waves are getting bigger!|
|Go exploring in your own canoe..|
Why Boat pose is ‘Good For Me’ - Older Children
As you child does boat pose they will have the opportunity to:
- Develop their social and communication skills - whilst they are moving and playing with their friends or you!
- Refine their sitting posture. The rocking action of boat pose will promote your child’s sitting balance and provide them with a gentle hamstring stretch. In addition your child’s core muscles, their abdominal, spinal and shoulder muscles, will be activated. All these effects will assist your child’s sitting posture.
- Stimulate their ‘movement senses’ and manage their ‘level of alertness’ for learning. When your child rocks forwards and backwards in boat pose they stimulate their movement senses, especially their vestibular sense (see toddler section for further info). Stimulation of the vestibular sense can directly affect our ‘levels of alertness’ i.e. slow, rocking actions can be soothing and quietening whilst more vigorous head movements which can be intensely alerting. There is some evidence to suggest that rocking head movements (forwards and backwards) are organising in nature whilst spinning head movements can be quite disorganising for the brain, as in a fairground ride. Boat pose, if done rhythmically, at a moderate speed and not for too long, can gradually raise your child’s ‘levels of alertness’, in an organising way. This makes boat pose an excellent activity for your child to do as a ‘movement break’ if they need to increase their levels of concentration for a difficult, abstract task i.e. writing or maths. But remember not for too long, 1 minute is probably enough!
Description of Boat pose – Younger Children and Toddlers
Find a comfortable place to sit on the floor with your toddler. Stretch your legs out in front of you and either gently sit your toddler on your thighs facing you, or invite your toddler to sit in between your legs (see picture). Remember to keep smiling and talking to your toddler! Then, holding their forearms and wrists, gently rock forwards and backwards with your toddler – like a boat on the waves. After two or three rocks, if your toddler is happy, try rocking a little faster and do the pose to the ‘Row, row your boat’ song.
This is a fun adaptation to do with another adult or part of a group so your toddler can look at someone else. Find a comfortable place to sit on the floor with space in front of you. Stretch your legs out in front and place your toddler on your thighs facing away from you, supporting them with your hands around their hips. Shuffle forwards on your bottom, gently rocking your toddler from side to side as you go. After you have moved forward a little way - shuffle backwards. Once again sing the ‘Row, row, row your boat’ song as you do the movements. If your toddler is enjoying the game, make the rocking movements bigger so that they are challenged to keep their balance on your lap. Your toddler will enjoy the movement of their body against gravity, but do keep checking to make sure that they are not starting to feel anxious.
When doing either of the above poses, with your toddler remember not to do the more vigorous rocking movements for too long as this can overstimulate them and cause them anxiety.
‘Why Boat Pose is Good for Your Toddler’
As you do boat/rowing pose with your toddler you will give them a chance to:
- Gradually develop their ‘postural control’ becoming more stable in the sitting position. From about 3 months your baby will be relying less and less on their baby reflexes and will be learning how to move and control their body in space. If your toddler is about 8 months or older you may notice they are starting to consistently put their arms down to either side to ‘save’ themselves when they feel they are losing their balance. This saving action is a mature ‘postural reaction’ which we all use to protect ourselves throughout our lives. As you do rowing pose option 2 with your toddler try gently tipping them to either side to see if they are starting to put their arm out on that side to keep their balance. Remember always do this movement slowly and when your baby is old enough as you do not want to make them anxious! (Image courtesy of safehandsbabysitters.com)
|For example: Babies will put their left hand down to 'save' themselves as they tip to the left|
- Activate their tummy and spinal muscles in a coordinated way. As your toddler gently rocks back and forth with you in boat/rowing pose they will be alternatively activating and working their tummy and then their back muscles. These muscle groups have to work together for activities such and sitting and rolling
- Organise their sensations and movements. Our vestibular sense tells where our body is in relation to gravity and whether we are moving or still, the receptors for this sense are in our inner ears. This sense begins to function in the womb, at about 5 months after conception, and is well developed at birth. As your toddler starts to move into standing their vestibular sense starts to play a bigger role in the overall organisation of their senses and movements. This is because stimulation of vestibular sense helps the brain to sort out and combine the huge variety of other sensations it will be experiencing and it also underpins the control of posture, balance and movement. Although you cannot see this organisation happening you will probably know when your toddler wants to be rocked as in rowing/boat pose – sensations that make your toddler feel happy tend to be ‘organising'.
- Start to control their ‘levels of alertness’ ready for learning. The vestibular sense plays an important role in balancing our ‘state of alertness or activity’ i.e. faster rocking movements, which quickly stimulate our vestibular system, tend to raise our alertness levels and increase our overall muscle tone and activity, whilst gentle rocking movements, slowly stimulate our vestibular system and lower our levels of arousal helping our muscles to relax and our body to calm down. Hence if you wish to calm your toddler, try doing gentle rocking in rowing/boat pose, alternatively if your toddler is wide awake, and wanting to play, they will probably enjoy more vigorous rowing actions as they experience the movement of their body against gravity. However, do not do these more vigorous rocking movements for too long as they may become too much for your toddler and then their overall effect will become disorganising. As your toddler’s vestibular system matures over the first few years of their life they will be increasingly able to keep themselves in a calm but alert state, which is the ideal state for investigating and learning about new things.
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
So … The Adventure This Week ..
In this week’s adventure Tatty Bumpkin takes on the challenge of building a boat so that she and Rabbit can explore the open seas.
As the two friends bob up and down on the ocean they meet their friend the octopus. They give him a friendly wave before heading on their way.
Soon Tatty Bumpkin and Rabbit come across a desert island – all seems still and quiet as they set off to explore. Then right in the middle of the island they come across a group of huge statues standing still and tall.....
This story will give your child an opportunity to:1. Develop their social skill as they do boat pose with their friends
2. Come up with their own ideas to help Tatty Bumpkin build her boat
3. Use gestures or words to express their feelings. Feeling:
- ‘Excited’ as they set sail on the open seas
- ‘Happy’ when they meet their friend the octopus
- Perhaps a little ‘worried’ as they set off to explore the island
- ‘Surprised’ and ‘curious’ as they meet the statues.
5. Calm themselves and become more aware of their breathing as they stand ‘still as statues’
6. Develop their fine motor skills as they explore the statues and help Tatty Bumpkin build her boat
7. Have fun with their friends: rowing across the ocean, dancing with the octopus and meeting and exploring the statues.
|Strange statues ....|
Find your local Tatty Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html