Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 – 2014 Term 2 Week 3: Tatty Bumpkin's Pose for the Week is Butterfly!

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

The posture for the week in Tatty Bumpkin classes is butterfly.

This week Tatty Bumpkin sets off on an adventure into the mountains. She finds one mountain full of very busy people and animals and another mountain full of very gloomy people and animals.

Tatty Bumpkin has a think – what to do? How can she help?

Then she remembers her friends the ‘Magical Mountain Butterflies’. Maybe they would be able to calm and cheer up these busy and gloomy mountain folk?

Come and find whether Tatty Bumpkin’s idea works out at your local Tatty Bumpkin class – do remember to pack your hat, climbing shoes and sun cream!


Butterfly Pose

What colour are your butterfly wings?

Description of Butterfly Pose - Older children

Note to parents - It is always best to do butterfly pose with your child so they can copy you; this is especially true if your child is younger.

Two butterflies flutter by!


How to do it (What to tell your child)

Sit on the floor, or on a little cushion, and bring the soles of your feet together. Hold onto your feet with both hands and gently move your knees up and down as if your legs are butterfly wings. Imagine what colour your wings might be.
Note to parents: It is helpful for your child to become aware of a ‘good’ sitting posture whilst they are doing butterfly pose (See section on ‘Why Butterfly pose is Good for Me’). To realise this ‘good sitting position’ your child needs to sit up as straight as they can by pushing up through their ‘sit bones’. To help your child find out where their sit bones are guide them to sit on their hands whilst in butterfly pose and then to slowly rock forwards and backwards over their hands. They will feel a ‘boney’ bit in each of their buttocks – this is their ‘sit bone’ (the bone at the base of their pelvis). It maybe that your child finds it quite hard to sit up in this way they will have to gently arch their lower back and sit up tall!

Want to make it harder? 

Sit on the floor with your knees out to the side and your feet together as above. This time hold onto your big toes with your index fingers, balance on your bottom, and lift your legs up one at a time. Try to straighten your knee as much as you can!

It can be hard work being a butterfly!

Then try to lift both your legs up together! Slowly try to straighten your knees to make really big butterfly wings! To rest, lean forward over your feet like a sleeping butterfly.

Being a King or Queen Butterfly!

Butterfly pose – Younger children and Toddlers


Being butterflies together

 Description of pose

Find a comfortable place to sit with your young toddler. If it is comfortable to do so,  sit with the soles of your feet together, letting your knees fall out to either side like fluttering butterfly wings. If this position is not comfortable either try siting on a small cushion or sit cross legged. Now sit your toddler in front of you, if you are sitting in butterfly pose yourself it is nice to let them sit inside the circle of your legs. Gently encourage your toddler to bring the soles of their feet together so that their knees also fall out to the side in butterfly pose.
N.B.Some mums may find sitting in the butterfly position very uncomfortable especially if they have had ‘pubis symphysis’ pain during and after pregnancy. If this is the case do not strain your pelvis and sit either in side sitting or back on your heels.

Other Games to Play in Butterfly Pose


Blow those butterflies up high!

Blowing Butterflies - Cut out some paper butterflies (origami paper is best as this is stronger). Then spread out a piece of blue fabric or maybe a flower drawn on a large piece of paper in front of you and your child. Encourage your child blow the paper butterflies up into the sky (the blue fabric) or onto the flower.  Giving your child something to aim at when they blow their butterfly will help them to focus and to persist.
If your child is finding it hard to ‘get the hang of’ blowing, you can make this easier by placing the butterfly on the back of your hand and encouraging your child try and blow the butterfly from this position. Once they have the idea, your child can try to put the butterfly from the back of their own hand. 

Do butterfly pose and the blowing game to Tatty Bumpkin Butterfly song – you can either download Tatty Bumpkin Butterfly song from iTunes or ask your Tatty Bumpkin teacher about the Tatty Bumpkin CD – Butterfly song has a lovely, relaxing beat which you can follow as you do butterfly pose with your child.

Why Butterfly Pose is ‘Good For Me’

As your child does butterfly pose they will be:
  • Improving their sitting posture for better hand skills. Butterfly pose will help to improve your child’s sitting balance, sitting posture and arm movements. As your child does butterfly pose encourage them to ‘push up’ from the surface they are sitting on, through their ‘sit bones’ (these are called the ‘ischial tuberosities') which are at the base of their pelvis. It is interesting to note that generally babies develop this ability to push up through their ‘sit bones’ and lengthen their spines at around 6 months and this action is extremely important for allowing freer movement of the arms whilst in the sitting position (see below). Over time we fall into bad habits and start to slump whilst sitting down - putting extra strain on our lower backs.
Most classroom chairs do nothing to encourage a good sitting posture as  they tend to be ‘bucket’ shaped which tend to cause children to sit in a ‘slumped’ position. In a slumped position your child may tend to scoot their bottom forwards on their chair, rocking their pelvis backwards and hence curling their lower back rather than arching it. This incorrect pelvic position leads to a poor sitting posture which consequently might affect their fine motor skills (i.e. writing skills) or cause back stiffness. By doing Butterfly pose your child will become more aware of their sitting posture, which will help them throughout their lives. 

  • Improving their eye/hand coordination. As your child plays with the paper butterflies they will be continuing to develop their ability to follow an object with their eyes as it moves through the air – ‘tracking skills’ -  and time their hand movements to reach out for it. Paper butterflies are ideal as they float through the air slower, giving your child time to react.
  • Gently stretching their hip and thigh muscles. Butterfly pose will give your child the chance to stretch the muscles on the front and inside of their thigh – an ideal pose to do, along with other games, after sitting for a while!
  • Practicing their breathing skills. Blowing the paper butterflies is a great way to encourage your child to become more aware of their breath. Taking deeper breaths will help your child to calm themselves.

‘Why Butterfly Pose is Good for Your Toddler'

As your toddler sits with you in Butterfly pose they will be:
  • Developing the control of their upper body and arms movements in the sitting position.Being able to sit in a variety of positions is vital for efficient development of arm and hand movements i.e. 
  1. Crucially from about 7 months your toddler will be starting to push down through their ‘sit bones’ against the floor or seat (The sit bones are the boney projections at the base of your pelvis - to feel your own ‘sit bones’ sit on your hands  and slowly rock forwards, you will gradually feel the two boney areas). When your toddler starts to actively push down through their sit bones their arms will be able to do freer movements 
  2. From about eight months you may notice your baby or toddler is tending to sit by themselves in a kind of 'butterfly pose' - bringing one of their legs closer to their body. This sitting position requires more control and balance but allows your toddler to both reach for toys and move between sitting and crawling with greater ease (see picture courtesy of As your toddler reaches forward in butterfly pose, maybe to catch a paper butterfly, they will be learning how to move their chest and body over their hips and legs. Encourage your toddler’s ‘reaching skills’ by placing the paper butterfly to either side of them so they have to reach diagonally and/or twist round to pick it up.
Sitting with one leg held closer to their body

  • Gently stretching their hip and thigh muscles. Butterfly pose will give your toddler the chance to stretch the muscles on the front and inside of their thigh – an ideal pose to do, along with other games, after sitting in the buggy for a while!
  • Becoming more aware of their feet. As you guide your toddler to bring their feet together in butterfly pose you will be bringing their attention to their feet. Even in the sitting position, your toddler will be using their feet to keep themselves steady - next time you are playing with your toddler in sitting look closely at how they change the position of their feet to balance themselves. It is a great idea to give your toddler time to sit with just bare feet so they have a chance to actively move and strengthen their foot and ankle muscles. In butterfly pose you may see your toddler curling their foot inwards and up strengthening these muscles around their ankle (see picture courtesy of
Using foot muscles to keep balance whilst sitting
  • Improving their eye/hand coordination. As your toddler plays with the paper butterflies they will be improving their ability to follow an object with their eyes as it moves through the air (tracking skills) and time their hand movements to reach out for it. Paper butterflies are ideal as they float through the air slower, giving your toddler time to react. N.B do not make your ‘butterflies’ out of tissue paper as the dye can come off if your toddler puts them in their mouth!
  • Improving their hand (fine motor) skills. Picking up paper butterflies in and out of butterfly pose will give your toddler the chance to perfect their finger movements. Progress the game by putting a pot or bowl in the middle of the room then encourage your toddler to pick up a butterfly, walk over to the bowl, and then drop it into the pot!

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  ..

In this week’s adventure Tatty Bumpkin sets off into the mountains. She is amazed by the stillness and quietness of the huge mountains and is filled with wonder at their beautiful snowy tops.

But all is not well. On one mountain she discovers all the people and animals are rushing around like crazy, never taking the time to stop! They are flying aeroplanes, driving trains – just busy, busy, busy! Whilst on another mountain all the people and animals are very sad. They are crying and making mournful faces…

What can Tatty Bumpkin do to calm the ‘busy mountain’ folk and cheer up the ‘gloomy mountain’ folk?

Then Tatty Bumpkin remembers her fiends the ‘Magical Mountain Butterflies’ – surely they can help? So off she goes - striding down the mountain paths and scrambling over the rocks and boulders.

Will Tatty Bumpkin find the magical butterflies and will they be able to help? Come and find out at your local Tatty Bumpkin class!

Climbing over the mountians

This story will give your child an opportunity to:

  • Become more aware of a good sitting posture as they do butterfly pose
  • Use gestures or words to express their feelings – imagining they are feeling:
  • ‘Rushed’ and ‘tired’ with the busy mountain people and animals
  • ‘Sad‘ with the unhappy mountain folk 
  • ‘Happy’ and ‘Calm’ with the magical Mountain Butterflies 
  • Develop their sense of rhythm as they stretch and flutter to Tatty Bumpkin Butterfly song
  • Express their own ideas as they think of:
      1. Things to pack in their rucksacks on this mountain adventure
      2. The different shaped mountains or different coloured butterflies they would like to be 
  • Calm themselves and become more aware of their breathing as they blow the paper butterflies
  • Have fun with their friends: standing as still as mountains, flying as aeroplanes, climbing over the rocks and boulders and then playing with the magical butterflies. 
Flying as aeroplanes on the busy mountain!

Find your local Tatty Bumpkin class at

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