By Sue Heron – Training Coordinator Tatty Bumpkin and Paediatric Physiotherapist
On January 17th this year the British Heart Foundation's National Centre for Physical Activity and Health published a practice briefing. This gives parents and early years’ practitioners practical ideas on how to increase young children's physical activity levels.
Suggested strategies include:
- Bringing in chances for physical activity across a 'normal' day. The research showed physical activity is best incorporated into the normal day wherever possible. Aiming to reduce time spent sitting down. Ideas include:
- Placing your child’s toys on the floor, just out of reach, or in the next room so they have to move to find them.
- Encouraging your child to do the actions in story book they have recently read
- Encouraging your child to play with their toys in different positions e.g. lying on their tummy or kneeling up.
- Using physical activity to encourage all areas of learning and development. For example:
- Promoting your child’s language skills by using 'positional' words as you move together i.e. ‘over’, ‘down’, ‘up’, or ‘under’ etc
- Refining counting skills e.g. Crocodile activity below – count your snaps as you do them!
- Developing social skills by guiding your child to make space others as they do the activities, or to wait their turn as part of the play.
- Playing with your child. You are vital! If you play activity with your child – you will have a huge impact, not only on their physical skills but across all areas. Fundamental movement skills are the building blocks that enable children to participate in sports, writing and even academic activities.
- Providing specific opportunities for physical activity. Such as tummy time, crawling activities or energetic games.
This time last year, Sam Petter, founder of Tatty Bumpkin, explained on Sky News how inspiring children to be more active can be achieved through playful activities which ignite their imagination and nurture the innate love of movement they are born with - setting the foundations for a lifelong awareness of 'how to keep your body healthy' https://www.facebook.com/tattybumpkin/videos/873853476047035/?theater.
|Watch Sam Petter, founder of Tatty Bumpkin on Sky News|
Increasingly we realise physical activity needs to become ‘a way of life’, for ourselves and our children. Something which is enjoyed - not a chore to do. It shouldn’t be daunting, rather something that can be part of the day.
So this week laugh and have fun with your child rolling and stretching in crocodile pose - maybe doing your own moves to the Tatty Bumpkin crocodile song! https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/this-is-the-life/id376347823.
Tatty Bumpkin's Crocodile Pose
Ideally, try to do Crocodile pose with your child, or encourage brothers and sisters to join in, as:
- Children, and definitely those under 3 years, learn new movements best by copying the actions.
- Research is showing that toddlers and young children bond with their parents and ‘key people’ not only through touch but also by moving with them.
- Crocodile pose will give you a chance to stretch out your back and upper chest muscles.
How to Tatty Bumpkin's Crocodile Yoga Activity
|Snap as a crocodile!|
- Find a space on a carpet or mat where you and your child can safely stretch out and roll as crocodiles and take off your shoes and socks.
- Lie on your tummies facing each other and gently smile, show off your crocodile teeth!
- Stretch your arms out in front of you, keeping your hand palms together - roll over onto one side.
- Once on your side, stop and balance in this position - you will be giving both your tummy and your back muscles a good workout! Move your arms apart a little way, keeping elbows straight, then bring the palms of your hands together to ‘Snap’ like a crocodile! Repeat 3 times.
- Then roll over and do three snaps on the other side!! Repeat the whole game maybe 3 or 4 times.
- Importantly, to keep backs healthy, finish the game by rocking back on your heels and curling your body forwards – stretching your backs the other way – be a crocodile snoozing behind a rock! This is an example of ‘counter posing’ and ensures the body, specifically the spine, is stretched in balanced way. Try it it feels lovely!
'One should follow a bend in one direction with a bend in the opposite direction, so as to always return the body to a state of balance' Swami Kriyananda,
|Hide behind a rock!|
If your child is younger, start crocodile pose by showing them how to lie on their side. Then encourage them to join you lying down, so you are facing each other - see picture below. In this position you can gently guide your young child’s arms into a snapping action. Once they have the idea – they can then do the snaps by themselves – copying you.
|Snap facing each other!|
To Progress Crocodile Yoga Activity
Imagine you are a crocodile in the river, catching a fish!
- Cut out a ‘fish’ shape out of card or spongy paper and thread a piece of string through one end. Make sure your fish is big enough so it is not a choking hazard for your child and never leave your child unattended with the fish prop.
- As your child does crocodile pose on their tummy, dangle the fish in front of their out-stretched hands and encourage them to reach up and snap at it! See your child can catch the fish between their hands. This great activity helps your child improve their eye-hand co-ordination and it is fun as well!
Why Crocodile Pose is Good for Your Child
1. Develops body awareness and core muscles for sporting and classroom skills
Crocodile pose gives your child a great opportunity to up-date and refine their body memory. As your child grows, it’s important they build and keep an accurate memory of their body shape, knowing where their body starts and finishes. This mental map tells your child how their head, body, arms, fingers, legs and toes work together. A refined body memory gives a deep inner body confidence - enabling your child to tackle a wide range of tasks in different situations.
Specifically crocodile pose challenges you child to work their core muscles i.e. those in their shoulders, back, tummy and hips. Strengthening and increasing awareness of these muscle groups will improve your child’s sitting posture and help their hand skills.
2. Increases awareness of the 'body midline' for dressing quickly!
As your child brings their hands together to ‘snap’ as a crocodile, they will be increasing their awareness of the ‘mid-line’ of their body. As zips and buttons tend to be placed in the middle of clothing – crocodile pose can help your child with their dressing skills.
|Thanks to https://www.clel.org/single-post/2015/01/26/Crossing-the-Midlin|
3. Enhances eye –hand coordination - for sporting skills, reading and writing
As you child snaps for the fish prop they will be refining their both their eye-hand co-ordination and their visual tracking skills. Not only are these skills useful for sports they are also key for reading and writing.
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 http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html. 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 and the Curriculum for Excellence 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 her to find the crocodile in the river. On this adventure your child and will have a chance to:
- Physically, develop their balance and co-ordination as they roll as crocodiles, stomp as elephants and tiptoe as giraffes!!
- Develop their imagination and thinking skills as they come up with own ideas on how to cross the river safely.
- Progress their communication skills as they listen to Tatty Bumpkin Crocodile song and tell Tatty Bumpkin how they plan to cross the river.
- But, best of all, your child will have fun with others as they snap and smile as crocodiles or make an elephant train altogether!
|Crocodile pose altogether!|
Love Tatty Bumpkin x
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