The posture for this week in Tatty Bumpkin classes is MONKEY.
In the sessions your child will go on an adventure with Tatty Bumpkin deep into the jungle to help the monkeys build a new nest after the big storm.
Monkey Pose – Older Children
|Swinging through the trees!|
Description of Pose
Note to parents – It is always best to do monkey pose with your child so they can copy you; this is especially true if your child is younger. Recent research demonstrates that doing activities and movements together helps the bonding process between parents/carers and their child.
Find a clear, non-slip area of floor or carpet. Ideally take off your shoes, so you can use your feet to help you balance. Start in a squatting position then leap up into the air, moving your arms up and down like a monkey whilst making ‘Ooooh’ sounds! When you are up in standing; hop from one leg to the other and stretch your arms up to either side - imagining you are a monkey swinging through the jungle trees.
Want to Make it Harder?
Note to parents – If your child is finding it hard to balance on one leg, it is best to offer them some support so they can experience balancing in a ‘straight position’. If your child keeps trying to balance by themselves in a crooked position i.e. with their legs wrapped round each other this might become a habit. As soon as your child starts to ‘get the idea’ of balancing in a good position, stand back, and let them try by themselves. Maybe suggest they use a wall or a chair rather than your hand for support.
|Standing on one leg - with a little help!|
Then try reaching across your body to the other side as if swinging on vines or passing a banana.
|Reaching for a banana!|
Games to Play with Your Child In Monkey Pose
- Do monkey pose to the Tatty Bumpkin Monkey song. Either download this lively song from iTunes or ask your Tatty Bumpkin teacher for details on the Tatty Bumpkin ‘This is the Life’ CD.
- Swinging through the trees! Find a wooden spoon or a smooth twig. Sit on the floor facing your child with your legs stretched out in front, encourage your child to do the same. Carefully place your legs over your child’s so you can get closer to each other. Then, both of you firmly grasp hold of the stick or spoon with the back of your hands uppermost. (Parents perhaps position their hands on the outside of the stick whilst encouraging their child to hold the stick in the middle). Now gently rock back and forth. The rocking movement should be controlled and rhythmical with you both pulling against a slight resistance. This activity stimulates the proprioceptive sense and can be either gently alerting, if you are feeling a bit drowsy, or calming – if you are feeling a bit over excited.
|Swinging through the trees!|
- Monkey on a branch. This is a good game to play if your child is just learning to stand on one leg. Find a low box or step (only a few centimetres tall) and place it on the ground. Encourage your child to put one foot on the box whilst keeping their other foot on the floor. In this position they can try and reach across their body for a ‘banana’ or a stick – like a monkey eating in his tree. This activity will give your child the experience of standing more on one leg – and hence is a good introduction to actually standing on one leg.
Why Monkey pose is ‘Good For Me’ - Older Children
As you child does monkey pose they will have the opportunity to:
1. Strengthen their leg and arm muscles. As you child leaps as a monkey from squatting to standing they will be exercising and strengthening the quadriceps muscles in their legs. When your child swings their arms up above their head and side to side they will be stretching and strengthening their shoulder and arm muscles.
2. Refine their balance skills/postural control. Your child’s balance system (postural control) is largely developed by the time they are seven years old. Up to this age they will be refining their balance skills through improving their ‘balance reactions’ (those small body adjustments we make when we are trying to keep our balance) and their sensory organisation. With a mature balance system, your child will gradually be able to do more complex tasks. Encourage your child to hop in monkey pose from side to side and then see if they can remain on one leg for a little longer. Play the ‘monkey on a branch’ game so your child can ‘get the feeling’ of standing on one leg.
3. Increase their awareness of their right and left hand sides. Monkey pose is great for developing your child’s awareness of their right and left hand sides in a fun lively way.They will be hopping from one leg to another and moving one arm and then the other as they imagine they are swinging and jumping through the trees.
4. Develop their awareness of their ‘midline’. The midline of our body is the imaginary line from our head to our toes which separates our left from our right sides. Most children are able to cross their midline by the time they are 4 years old – taking one arm or leg across their body to the side of their other arm or leg. Crossing the midline is an important skill to learn as we need to do this quickly and smoothly for a most tasks i.e. to dress ourselves or to write words across a page. Encourage your child to reach across their body for a banana or a stick whilst they are doing monkey pose, giving your child something to reach for will make the activity both meaningful and fun for them and hence easier to do.
Monkey Pose –Babies and Toddlers
|Swinging from branch to branch!|
Description of Pose
Note to parents. Remember never to force the movements whilst doing the poses with your baby and to keep looking at them as you do the actions - to make sure they are comfortable. If your feel any resistance or your baby becomes unsettled, do stop. Once they have settled gently try the pose again, perhaps making clicking sounds or using a toy to distract them. If your baby remains unsettled do not persist with the pose and ask advice from your Baby Bumpkin teacher.
This adaptation of monkey pose is great if your baby is about 4 months or younger and has yet to gain good control of their head and upper body. Settle your baby on a mat in front of you. Firstly put your index finger in one of your baby’s palms encouraging them to grasp hold of your finger. This will help your baby feel ‘in control’ of the movement. Then gently move your baby’s arm out to their side and upwards as far as it will comfortably go, remembering not to ‘force’ the movement (very young babies will not be comfortable moving their arms above their head). Smile and make monkey gestures and sounds at your baby – they will love to see your different expressions and hear your voice! Return your baby’s arm to their side and repeat the movement with their other arm. After you have done a few repetitions with both arms, see if your baby can anticipate the movement and do the action more by themselves. To encourage this: wait at the beginning of the movement and, whilst doing the movement, see if your baby starts to ‘take over’. Try saying “1, 2, 3” before you do the movement.
For Older Babies / Younger Toddlers
|Leaping through the trees!|
Description of Pose
This adaptation of monkey pose is great if your baby is about 4 months or older and are able to hold their head up confidently in sitting. Note - if your baby is getting very heavy or you know you have problems with your back then do be careful when doing this pose and if it feels painful do stop. Always tighten your tummy muscles as you do this pose as this will help to protect your back - if you are unsure how to do this ask your Baby Bumpkin teacher.
Find a comfortable place to sit on the floor with your baby. Either actually sit on the floor or sit back on your heels. Hold your baby securely around their middle so that they are facing you then lift them up into the air – like a monkey swinging through the trees! As with the pose above encourage your baby to anticipate the movement by saying, “1, 2, 3!” as you lift them up. This activity is likely to quickly excite your baby so, to prevent over-excitement, do not do it for too long – do 2 – 3 jumps then rest. Keep looking at your baby to make sure they are enjoying themselves.
|Jumping through the jungle!|
Description of Pose
If your toddler is older, and wishing to be more independent, encourage them to toddle through the jungle with you! Take off their shoes and socks so they can feel the floor with their feet and spread out some pillows or cushions on non-slip surface. Put on some lively music, or Tatty Bumpkin Monkey song, then, giving them support if necessary, guide your toddler to step on and off the various pillows and cushions - as if they are monkeys swinging through the trees.
Games to Play with Your Baby/ Toddler in Monkey Pose
Do monkey pose to the Tatty Bumpkin Monkey song. Either download this lively song from iTunes or ask your Baby Bumpkin teacher for details on the Tatty Bumpkin ‘This is the Life’ CD.
- Swinging through the trees! N.B. Remember: never to force the movements whilst doing the poses with your toddler and to keep looking at them as you do the actions - to make sure they are comfortable. If your toddler becomes unsettled, do stop.
|Swinging through the trees!|
From about the age of 6 – 7 months your toddler will have developed a strong grasp and be able to keep hold of an object against resistance. Find a smooth, clean wooden spoon or something similar for them to hold. Note do not let your toddler play with the spoon unattended as they will definitely put it in their mouths and could injure themselves. Position your toddler on your lap, either facing you or in side sitting, and support them round their hips if needs be. Then encourage them to grasp the spoon handle with both hands. Gently move the spoon back and forth a little way so your toddler is encouraged to join in with the movement and to pull back against your resistance. Remember to keep smiling and talking to your toddler as they play this game with you.
Why Monkey Pose is Good for Your Baby or ToddlerAs you do monkey pose with your baby or toddler, you will give them a chance to:
1. Become more aware of their arm movements. As your baby moves their arms up and down in monkey pose with you they will be building up their repertoire of arm movements. Note that your young baby’s shoulder and elbow joints are delicate and your baby will not be able to move them through their full range until they are about 5 months old. A new born baby is usually unable to move their arm actively above 90 degrees and will not be able to fully straighten their elbows by themselves until they are about 5 months. However, if your baby has been sitting in a car seat or baby seat for a while, doing the gentle arm movements of monkey pose will give them a lovely stretch. Remember to encourage your baby to ‘join in’ with the movement as much as possible – if they are doing the movement for themselves, this not only boosts their self-confidence, it also makes the movement far more effective.
2. Develop their reaching and grasping skills. As you do monkey pose with your baby, either putting your index fingers in their palms or playing with the wooden spoon handle, you will helping your baby to develop their hand ‘grasp’.
- Your new born baby would have had a strong ‘grasp reflex’ this is not a voluntary movement. At this age they are unable to ‘let go’ so you would have had to prise the object from their hands. In the first month your baby continues to have this grasp reflex and remains largely unaware of objects placed in their hands.
- At about two months your baby may start to become aware of objects in their hands but they will still not be able to ‘let go’ by themselves. As your baby automatically clutches objects in their hands e.g. their blanket, you may notice them automatically bending their elbows.
- By three months your baby may start to hold things voluntarily (as their grasp reflex fades). At this age their middle finger is often the strongest and they do not actively use their thumbs.
- At four months your baby may approach objects they wish to hold with their hand open. They will start to alter the way they hold things depending on the shape of the object but the most usual ‘holding’ method is often by flexing all their fingers around the object without using their thumb.
- At five months your baby may start to actively use their thumb as they hold onto things- this is the beginning of their ‘palmar grasp’ i.e. your baby wraps their fingers round the object, holding it in their palm against their thumb.
- At six months your baby will no doubt be actively exploring the objects they are holding, either by looking at them, shaking and listening to the sound they make or, of course, by putting them in their mouths! The strength and accuracy of their grasp will often depend on how much support their body has i.e. when they are lying on the floor with full support or sitting on your lap with support round their middle they will be more able to explore and grasp objects. Hence, encourage your baby to play with a toy by giving them more support with your hands round their middle or shoulders. Of course, also give your baby time to work on their balance skills with less support – just don’t ask them to play with a toy and practice their sitting balance at the same time!
- At seven to nine months of age your baby will be developing a really strong grasp and will be able to hold onto things against resistance – so the ‘swinging through the trees game’ starts to become good fun!
- From seven months your baby will also be starting to develop a more refined ‘pincer’ grasp – where they start to hold objects between their thumb and index finger – this is usually well developed by the time they are nine months old. During these ages you will notice your baby becoming more adept at letting things go. At about nine months they may be able to let things go in mid-air – playing games of such as letting things go into a large container will help your baby become more aware of the size and depth of objects.
- From about ten to twelve months your toddler may start to consistently use a favoured hand. They will love pulling and pushing objects, feeling the sensory feedback through their body. Hopefully they will really engage with you in the ‘swinging through the trees’ game, but remember, do not carry on this game for too long as it may lead to over-excitement!
3. Organise their sensations and movements (older babies/younger toddlers). As you lift your baby or young toddler up into the air whilst doing this version of monkey pose you will be stimulating their vestibular sense. Our vestibular sense tells us where our body is in relation to gravity and whether we are moving or still. The receptors for this sense are in our inner ears and are stimulated by head movements. Appropriate stimulation of vestibular sense will help your baby’s brain sort out and combine the huge variety of other sensations they will be experiencing. Although you cannot see this organisation happening you will probably know when your baby wants to be lifted up and down in monkey pose – sensations that make your baby feel happy tend to be ‘organising.’ Remember this activity can quickly excite your baby so do not do the activity for too long as your baby may become overexcited and stressed.
4. Develop their balancing skills in standing (toddlers). Walking on uneven surfaces, stepping on and off cushions is a great way to develop your toddler’s walking balance.
- At around eight months your toddler may begin to walk with two hands held. You may notice they are able to lift their foot up from the floor but find it difficult to ‘organise’ their leg movement coming back down i.e. They may tend to take too big a step or put their foot too far out to the side. Your toddler might walk ‘stiffly’ or ‘up on their toes’ in their effort to step and they might tend to tip their body too far forward over their legs. As your toddler gets older you will notice they get more control over their stepping action.
- At about nine to eleven months, your toddler will enjoy pulling up to different surfaces i.e. a small table or the sofa. Giving your toddler the opportunity to pull up to a variety to surfaces of different heights will help to develop their standing and balance skills. Also around this age your toddler may start to step from one support to another. Again, giving them the opportunity to safely stand and step on a variety of surfaces i.e. cushions, tiles, carpet. This will give them a range of different experiences. This is important for developing their postural control in standing and walking.
- As your toddler’s balance and postural control in standing develops they will need increasingly less support, perhaps holding on with just one hand to your clothing or the side of a plastic laundry basket. If they let go of support with this hand they will often flex their whole body to make themselves more stable i.e. they will flex their elbows, knees, hips and toes. Alternatively your toddler may try to take steps before they can stand without support – often heading off across the room, falling from foot to the other, until they lose their balance.
- Your toddler’s first steps will require all their concentration. It is helpful for one person to give support to your toddler whilst another encourages them by smiling, eye contact and making encouraging sounds. Repetition of this game will help your toddler improve their stepping skills.
Please note that the age at which a toddler walks by themselves is extremely variable , some walk as early as nine months others may not walk until they are fifteen or sixteen months. If you have any concerns do speak with your health visitor. If your toddler is happier crawling and moving on the floor do not ‘rush’ them up into standing and walking, they will still be developing their balance skills and postural control in these other positions.
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 finds herself in the jungle. All is quiet, the animals and birds are sound asleep. Parrot is sleeping in his tree, bear is snoozing in his cave and the monkeys are snuggled up cosily in their nest.
Then CRACK, FLASH, BOOM!! A huge thunderstorm rips across the jungle sky and in this violent storm the monkey’s nest is destroyed.
Will Tatty Bumpkin be able to help them? She might need some good ideas on how to build a new nest …
This story will give your child an opportunity to:
1. Develop their balance skills as they do tree and monkey poses
2. Increase their awareness of their right and left hand sides as they hop and swing from side to side in monkey pose and wriggle and roll in snake pose
3. Use gestures or words to express their thoughts i.e. Feeling
- ‘Sleepy’ with the jungle animals
- ‘Nervous’ in the thunderstorm
- ‘Sad’ with the monkeys when they lose their nest .. then ..
- ‘Determined’ with the monkeys as they decide not to give up and to start building a new nest.
5. Come up with their own ideas and spark their imagination as they help Tatty Bumpkin build a new monkey nest
6. Develop their fine motor skills as they build the nest out of twigs and leaves
Have fun with their friends - snoozing as bears and snakes, dancing and swinging through the trees as monkeys and then working together to build that new monkey nest!
|What kind of monkey nest would you build? A castle? A wigwam?|
Find your local Tatty Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html