Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Term 2 Week 3 - Tatty Bumpkin’s Kid’s Yoga Activity for the Week is Butterfly!

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

In this blog I:
  • Describe how to do the activity with your child or toddler 
  • Give reasons why this week’s Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity is beneficial for your child or toddler 
  • Give you some ideas on progressions for the activity and games you can play around the activity. 

Butterfly Pose – Tatty Bumpkin’s Yoga Activity for the Week

What colour are your butterfly wings? 

Try to do Butterfly pose with your child as: 
  1. Children under 3 years, largely learn new movements by copying the actions.
  2. Research is showing 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. Butterfly pose will give you a great opportunity to stretch out your hip and back muscles and gently strengthen your tummy muscles. 
However, if you have either back or hip issues or pain - do check with a health professional first to make sure that this pose is appropriate for you. Alternatively adapt Butterfly pose and sit cross legged on a cushion if this is comfortable. 
  • Sit with your child on a non-slip mat or area of carpet and take off your shoes. You may find it comfortable to sit on a flat cushion. 

  • Start by putting your hands under your bottom and feel for the two boney areas in each buttock. These are your ‘sit bones’ - part of your pelvis. 
    • Ideally you should be pushing up from your sit bones as your do the Butterfly pose. Because we get used to sitting in comfy chairs we often tend to roll back and actually sit on the area behind these boney points. Your young child does not need to do this exercise as they are likely to be sitting with a better posture!
  • Take your hands away and, sitting as much as you can on your sit bones, gently straighten your back whilst keeping your legs stretched out in front of you.
  • Bend your knees, and slowly slide your feet up towards you. Only take your feet up as far as is comfortable.
  • Try to bring the soles of your feet together – so they are touching each other and your knees are falling out to the side. Once again, if you are stiff, don’t force the movement. If you cannot bring the soles of your feet together- don’t worry – concentrate more on keeping your back straight.
  • Hold your feet tightly with both hands - you can place your hands underneath your feet for added support.
  • Then take a deep breath in, and, as you breathe out, let your thighs and knees fall a little further out to each side and downwards towards the floor. Again do not force the movement. 
  • Now, encourage your toddler or young child to copy you – obviously they will not be able to focus on the breathing pattern – but are likely to do it naturally. 
  • If you feel comfortable, start flapping both your knees up and down like the wings of a butterfly, start slowly and keep breathing normally throughout. Once again, encourage your child to copy you. 
  • Alternatively, if you are sitting in butterfly pose yourself, it is nice to let your child sit inside the circle of your legs. Gently encourage them to bring the soles of their feet together so that their knees also fall out to the side in butterfly pose.
  • Whilst you are in Butterfly pose with your young child or toddler you can imagine what colour your wings might be?! 

Games to Play Around Butterfly Pose

Blowing Butterflies 
Cut out some paper butterflies – origami paper is often the best to use as it is stiffer than normal paper.  

  1. Do not make your ‘butterflies’ out of tissue paper as the dye can come off if your toddler puts them in their mouth! 
  2. Remember to supervise your toddler or young child carefully whilst playing this game so they do not put the paper butterflies into their mouths. Never leave them alone with the butterfly props. 
  • Encourage your young child or toddler to have a go at blowing the paper butterflies high into the air. If your child is younger they will probably find it easier to blow your butterflies off the back of your hand. 
  • Make the game more meaningful for your child by putting a bowl or tray in front of them to be the ‘butterfly nest’. Your child then has to blow their butterfly into the nest!
  • Very young children find it hard to blow – often this skill is not truly learnt until about 3 years old.  If your child is struggling to blow, encourage them to pick up their butterflies from the floor and putting them in the butterfly nest. 
  • Remember to blow the butterflies yourself, to show your child what to do and also to give you a chance to take deeper, more calming breaths.
  • Do not let your child do too many deep breaths in a row as this can make them dizzy.

Do Butterfly pose and Blowing game to Tatty Bumpkin Butterfly song 
The Tatty Bumpkin Butterfly song has a lovely, relaxing beat which you can follow as you do the pose with your toddler or young child. Download the song from iTunes

Why Butterfly Pose is Good for Your Toddler or Child 

As your toddler or child sits with you in Butterfly pose they will be:

1. Developing and refining their sitting position leading to improved control of their arm and finger movements – ideal for writing 
  • Being able to sit well is crucial not only for lifelong back health but also for accurate arm and hand movements.
  • From about 7 months your child would have started to push down through their ‘sit bones’ against the floor or seat (Remember our sit bones are the boney projections at the base of our pelvis). When they started to do this they would have been able to take their hands off the floor. As your child gets older the better their sitting posture the easier they will find arm and hand movements. 
  • If you child is older, and at school, Butterfly pose will improve their sitting balance and posture by reminding them to push up through their ‘sit bones’ and extend their lower backs after sitting in a slumped position on their school chair. As your child 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.

2. Gently stretching their hip and thigh muscles
Butterfly pose will give your young 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 in the buggy for a while! 

3. Improving their eye hand coordination for reading and writing skills
As your young child 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 child time to react. 

4. Becoming more aware of their feet fore improved balance
  • As you guide your child to bring their feet together in butterfly pose you will be bringing their attention to their feet. 
  • Even in the sitting position, your child will use their feet to keep themselves steady.
  • Next time you are sitting with your child on their floor - look closely at how they change the position of their feet to balance themselves. 
  • It is a great idea to give your child 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 child curling their foot inwards and up strengthening these muscles around their ankle  see picture (courtesy of 

Young toddler curling their feet to balance in sitting

5. Improving their hand (fine motor) skills 
Picking up paper butterflies in and out of butterfly pose will give your child the chance to perfect their finger movements. 

The Tatty Bumpkin Adventure this Week

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 Or, ask your child’s nursery if they are doing Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity sessions as part of their day. 
  • 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. 
  • All the Tatty Bumpkin stores are aligned to the Early Years Foundation Stage this means the sessions not only enhance your child’s physical skills they also develop their communication, social and thinking skills.
If your child is going to a Tatty Bumpkin class this week they will go on an adventure with Tatty Bumpkin into the mountains to find the ‘Magic Butterflies!' 
Your child and will have a chance to: 
  • Physically, activate and strengthen their hip, back and tummy muscles for a good sitting posture as they do Butterfly pose.  
  • Progress their communication skills as they talk to the people and creatures living in the mountains and listen and move to the Tatty Bumpkin Butterfly song. 
  • Develop their imagination and thinking skills as they come up with ideas on what to pack for their mountain trip and how to help the mountain folk. 
  • Most of all have a happy time and fun with others as they fly as butterflies, slither as mountain snakes and make a mountain range! 

Tatty Bumpkin as a Career 

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
Find out how you could be trained to deliver Baby and Tatty Bumpkin classes in your area at 

Love Tatty Bumpkin x

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