Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sept 2014 - Tatty Bumpkin's Yoga Activity for the Week is Tree!

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

In this blog I outline how to do a Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity with your child, so you can do the activity with them at home. At the end of the blog I highlight some of the reasons why this activity is beneficial for your child or toddler. 

Please remember though, for you and your child to gain the full benefit of all the Tatty Bumpkin Yoga and multi-sensory activities, find out about your local Tatty Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html.

Or, why not ask your child’s nursery or Children's Centre if they are doing Tatty Bumpkin sessions. Our qualified Tatty Bumpkin Teachers are fully trained in aspects of child development and Yoga and are kept fully up-to-date by our professional team of paediatric physiotherapists, Yoga teachers and musicians.

Or, maybe, you are thinking of a new career, which gives you: 
  • The opportunity to work with kids
  • A great sense of job satisfaction and
  • Flexible working to fit around your own family?
In which case - find out how you could be trained to deliver Baby and Tatty Bumpkin classes in your area at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/business/index.html.

The Tatty Bumpkin Yoga Activity for this Week is TREE

On her adventure this week Tatty Bumpkin finds herself under the Giggle Tree..... 

Looking up, Tatty Bumpkin notices the leaves on the trees are changing colour - they are turning from green to a beautiful golden/yellow/red colour. Have you noticed the trees around your home - are some of their leaves changing colour?

Then Tatty Bumpkin spies some apples on the tree and she ‘has a go’ at balancing them in her outstretched hands, on her head, she even tries to pick some apples up with her feet! 

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 Of Tree Yoga Activity 

There are a number of very good reasons to do Tree pose with your toddler or child:
  1. Firstly, children under 3 years, largely learn new movements by copying others – especially their parents and ‘key people’. 
  2. Secondly, current research shows that young children bond with their parents and ‘key people’ not only through touch and by communicating with them, but also by moving with them. 
  3. Thirdly, as you do Tree pose, you will give your own body a chance to move and stretch!
  • Stand still with your feet apart and stretch your arms out to either side – these are your branches! Encourage your child or toddler to copy you.
  • Imagine the wind is starting to blow, take a few deep breaths in 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! Once again encourage your child to copy you. N.B. If you have any back problems do be careful with twisting actions.

Want to make it harder?

  • Now see if you and your young child can ‘have a go’ at doing tree pose whilst balancing on one leg. 
  • If either of you are a bit wobbly - just leave your toes on the ground and rest your heel against your other ankle.  
  • Gently blow on your child’s body so they can imagine they are a ‘tree in the wind’.
  • Collect a couple of apples and see if you can both hold them out to either side to be apple trees! Even ‘have a go’ at balancing the apples on your head.
What an amazing apple tree!

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 to Play Around Tree Yoga Activity 

Trees Waving in the Wind!

  • Scatter a few cushions 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 ‘tree waving in the wind’. 
  • If your child is younger - you may need to support them whilst they do this game. If this is the case, try kneeling down next to them and supporting them round their hips. Your child is then able to use their arms to balance themselves.

Autumn Leaves and Apples 

  • Gather a selection of autumn leaves and a few apples. Try to find different shaped leaves which are interesting colours. Wash the leaves and apples and let them dry. 
  • Support your child to look at the leaves closely, and tell you the colours they see. 
  • Then encourage your child to use their fingers, or their whole body, to be a leaf of a similar shape I.e. they might wish to stretch up tall to be a narrow leaf or to spread their fingers out wide to be a spikey leaf! 

Will you be a spikey shaped leaf?
  • Rustling Leaves - Your child can experiment and play with the leaves by putting one or two leaves between their toes, whilst they are sitting down. Then encourage your child to put their hands down on the floor behind their body so they can lean backwards on their hands and wave their leaves in the air using their feet! Watch your child closely so they do not fall backwards. This activity promotes balance skills and strengthens tummy muscles - in a fun way! Older children can try to balance apples in their hands whilst they are waving the leaves with their feet!

Wave your leaf with your feet and hold onto your apples!

  •  'Collecting leaves’  - Sit on the floor with your child and put a basket in the middle. See how many leaves you can put in it.  As your child plays this game they will be progressing both their  'fine motor' skills (as they feel the leaves and pick them up using their hands and fingers) and their balance skills (as they move in and out of the squatting position). 
  • 'Blowing leaves' Put a leaf on the back of your hand and see if your child can blow it off into the basket! As your child does this game they will be taking deeper, slower breaths and this will help them to calm themselves.
  • 'Picking up apples' - But not as we know it! Guide your child to sit on the floor and roll their apple under their feet, this will help them to activate their foot muscles, which is important for balance. Then encourage your child to have a go at picking up the apples, and putting them in the basket, using just the soles of their feet. This game is great for strengthening both foot and tummy muscles. If you are uncomfortable using apples for this game - beanbags or smaller sized soft balls are a good alternative.
Careful now!
  • 'Wormy Apple' game! Carefully core one apple and give your child a ‘fuzzy stick’ – this is their worm. Guide your child to 'post' their worm through the cored apple. If your child is younger you will need to hold the apple for them. Older children can try posting their worm through the apple, using one hand, and then pulling it out the other side using their other hand – this is a great activity for eye hand co-ordination and general fine motor skills.

Yum, yum!

Why Tree Yoga Activity 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 2014 Early Years Foundation Stage framework. Importantly supporting children to learn how to learn not just focusing on what they learn.

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

Love Tatty Bumpkin

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