Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Week 1 Spring Term - Tatty Bumpkin’s Kid’s Yoga Activity for this Week is Starfish!

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

Happy New Year to everyone from Tatty Bumpkin! 

Did you know recent research shows that doing even gentle exercise, such as Yoga, can help you lose weight and keep healthy? See some interesting articles on Yoga currently in the news and

So why not bring a little Yoga activity into your day whilst having fun with your child and helping them to improve their physical and learning skills! 

In this weekly blog I:
  • Describe how to do a Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity with your child or toddler 
  • Give you reasons why the 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. 

This week’s Tatty Bumpkin Yoga Activity is Starfish Pose

Ideally, try to do Starfish pose with your young child, or encourage brothers and sisters to join in, as: 
  • Children under 3 years mostly learn new movements by copying the actions.
  • Research is showing that toddlers and young children bond with their parents and ‘key people’ not only through touch and by communicating with them but also by moving with them.
  • Starfish pose will give you a chance to stretch out your upper chest and shoulder muscles! 
Remember if you have issues with your muscles or joints - do check with a health professional first to make sure that this pose is appropriate for you. 

How to do Starfish Yoga Activity

  • Find a space on a carpet or mat where you and your child can safely move and balance without being in danger of falling on anything. 
  • Take off your shoes and socks. Children under 3 years largely keep their balance by looking where they are in relation to objects around them. However, from about 4 years, children start to use their ‘body senses’ to balance. If your child does starfish pose with bare feet they will get accurate, sensory information though the soles of their feet to help them to balance. 
  • Start by standing opposite your child with your feet hip width apart and your arms by your side. Imagine you are on a beach and take a few deep breaths of the sea air. 
  • Now pretend to ‘go for a walk (or run) on the beach’ and walk, or jog, on the spot for a few seconds. 
  • Then imagine you spy a starfish lying on the sand! On a ‘1, 2, 3,’ jump or step your feet apart and stretch your arms out to either side. Encourage your child to copy you. 
  • You are now both five limbed starfish stretched out on the beach!
  • With your child, try to hold the starfish position for at least 10 – 20 seconds - so you both get the benefit of the stretch.
  • After the stretch bring your legs and arms back to the starting position. Walk or run on the spot for a few seconds as before, before imagining you see another starfish on the beach. Then ‘1, 2, 3’.. spring, or step, into starfish pose again. 
  • Repeat the walking and starfish pose sequence a few times so your child gets the idea and you have a gentle, stretchy workout! 

To Progress Starfish Yoga Activity 

Imagine your starfishes want to say ‘hello’ to one another and wave with each of their starfish arms. 
Start by facing each other in starfish pose.
    • Firstly wave your hands one at a time –- these are two of your five starfish arms. 
    • Then gently nod your head to one another – this is your third starfish arm. 
    • Finally, wave your feet at each other by standing on one leg and then the other – these are your fourth and fifth starfish arms!  This is a great way to develop your child’s balance skills and it also gently activates your own core muscles. 

Why Starfish Pose is Good for Both You and Your Child

As you do starfish yoga activity with your child you will both have a chance to: 

1. Gently stretch out your back, arm and leg muscles for a good posture 
  • Starfish pose will give both your child and you a lovely ‘whole body’ stretch so it is a great Yoga activity to do after sitting for a while or after a long car journey. 
  • Our muscles need movement to stretch and grow – so a big starfish stretch will keep your shoulder, hip and back muscles healthy and this in turn will help both you and your child maintain a good general posture. 
  • Remember to encourage your young child to ‘join in’ with the movement as much as possible. If they are able to do the movement by themselves, this will not only boost their self-confidence, but will also help them to remember how to do it. 
2. Develop your body awareness/proprioception for body confidence
  • Starfish pose gives your child to a chance to feel a very different body position – one which they rarely do during their day. 
  • Variations in body position stimulate your child’s (and your own) ‘proprioceptive sense’. Proprioception is a ‘body’ sense which starts to develop at around 12 weeks in the womb. This sense tells us if our muscles are ‘stretched’ or ‘squeezed’ and whether our joints are bent or straight.  So our proprioceptive sense lets us know what position our body is in at any one time and helps us to build up an accurate image of our body shape in our mind. 
  • Creating an accurate picture of their body in their mind, knowing where it starts and finishes, will be deeply reassuring for your growing child and will help them develop their body-confidence. 
3. Gently alert or calm your-selves for learning and to re-focus
  • Stimulation of the proprioceptive sense can be either gently calming or alerting depending on our general nature and whether we are feeling drowsy or excited. 
  • So if your child is battling with their homework and feeling drowsy, probably as a result of sitting for a while, a few starfish poses can help them to become more alert so they can refocus and finish. The great thing about this pose is it does not tend to lead to over excitement.
  • Or, if your child is finding it hard sit and settle down to their homework – doing a few starfish activities can help them to become calmer, whilst still keeping generally alert to do their work.  
4. Progress your balance skills
  • Waving starfish arms is a fun way for your child to practice standing on one leg, with-out feeling too daunted or that they have to try too hard. 
  • If your child finds it hard to stand on one leg – place a small sturdy box, or a small pile of big books, in front of them so they can try lifting up one leg to place it on the box or books. By doing this activity their brain will learn the pattern of the movement quicker. 
5. Progress numeracy skills 
  • Bring some fun maths games into starfish pose by encouraging your child to count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, as they wave their starfish arms. 

The Tatty Bumpkin Adventure this Week

Remember, 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 to the seaside to visit the starfish. On this adventure your child and will have a chance to: 
  • Physically, refine their sense of balance as they move in and out of starfish pose and jump as frogs in Tatty Bumpkin frog pose. 
  • Progress their communication skills as say ‘hello’ to their friends on the beach and ask them questions and jump in time to the Tatty Bumpkin Frog song. 
  • Develop their imagination and thinking skills as they come with own ideas on how to help the starfish choose his shoes!! 
But most of all, your child will have fun with others as they stretch as starfish, jump as frogs, buzz as bees and finally swim with the dolphins! 

A New Start with Tatty Bumpkin in 2015? 

Or, maybe, you are thinking of a new career for 2015, 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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