Sunday, January 24, 2016

Stretch, Roll and Laugh Together in Tatty Bumpkin's Crocodile Pose!

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

Last week The British Heart Foundation published 'The Best Start in Life' Manifesto based on evidence which points to how exercise not only reduces obesity but also increases brain development and social and emotional well-being.

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'

Surely activity needs to be more a way of life which is enjoyed and revelled in - rather than a chore to do? 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!

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.  Remember though, if you have issues with your muscles or joints, do check with a health professional to make sure that this pose is appropriate for you. If you know your back is vulnerable be very careful and only do the ‘snapping’ actions on your side! 

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. 
  • Take off your shoes and socks. So you can feel your feet … 
  • Lie on your tummies – facing each other and do a gentle smile to show off your crocodile teeth! 
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you, keeping your palms together and roll over onto one side.
  • Take your hands and arms apart a little way – then bring your palms together to ‘Snap’!  
  • After you have a done several snaps on one side, roll over and do a few more snaps o your other side!! 
  • If your child is younger – start the activity by lying on your side facing your child and encourage them to lie on their side as well - so they are facing you. 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, snap, snap!!

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

As you do crocodile yoga activity with your child they will have a chance to: 

1. Develop their body balance and co-ordination for sporting and classroom skills  
As your child rolls on their side in crocodile pose they will: 
  • Become more aware of the right and left hand sides of their body. This will help them to progress their general coordination skills. Your child will use these basic skills when they do sports such as football or dance or when sit down to draw or write. 
  • Increase the activity in their shoulder, back, tummy and hip muscles - their ‘core muscles’. Strengthening and increasing awareness of these muscle groups will improve your child’s sitting posture and help their hand skills. 
2. Develop their awareness of the 'midline' of their body - for dressing quickly! 
As your child brings their palms together to ‘snap’ as a crocodile, they will be increasing their awareness of their ‘middle’. As zips and buttons tend to be placed in the middle of clothing – crocodile Yoga activity can help your child with their dressing skills. 

3. Develop their eye –hand coordination - for sporting skills and 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 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!! 
Waving your elephant trunks!
  • 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, and follow the movements, to the 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! 
Enjoying doing crocodile pose with your friends!

Love Tatty Bumpkin x

A New Start with Tatty Bumpkin in 2016? 

Or, maybe, you are thinking of a new career for 2016, 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

Enjoying life with Tatty Bumpkin! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tatty Bumpkin Yoga Breath Activity to Calm, Feed and Organise Young Minds!

 By Sue Heron Paediatric Physiotherapist and Tatty Bumpkin Programme Co-ordinator 

This week's blog is inspired by several recent events.. 
Firstly a friend has enrolled on a Mindfulness course – she has promised herself that she would just slow down and enjoy the moment for at least a short time during her day!

Secondly a Tatty Bumpkin Franchisee shared with me the joyfulness expressed by a class of three year old children who were doing Tatty Bumpkin in their nursery. She told me how they  just revelled in the sensory nature of one of her props - the spidery fabric canopy! They loved touching and stroking it, they loved the sensation if they wrapped themselves up in it and they just loved looking at it as they crawled underneath! 

Thirdly I have been researching new aspects of 'sensory processing' for our training and classes.

And fourthly blowing feathers is the Tatty Bumpkin activity for this week! 

So here we go.. 

Tatty Bumpkin 'Blowing Feathers' Yoga Breath Activity 

Firstly be safe - supervise young children at all times whilst they are playing with feathers. Feathers can go up noses, into eyes and, of course, end up being chewed or swallowed - always check for sharp ends! If your child is younger try making a 'feather sensory bottle'  - see or felt feathers see

Felt Feathers See 
Thank you to the staff and children at 'Nursery on the Green', Enfield, London for sharing their great Tatty Bumpkin class photos! 

Description of Activity 

Look at - and feel your feather
  • Gather your feathers, felt or real. Use just a few, say 2 or 3, lots of feathers maybe great fun to start with - but your child is likely to loose focus and become over-exited fairly quickly! Sit down together on a mat or on a clear space of carpet and take off your socks and shoes.  
  • Now encourage your child to slow down and truly explore the feathers with ALL their senses:
  • Visual sense - Take time to look closely at the feather – what colour is it? It may have many colours. What shape is it? 
  • Sense of touch - Show your child how they can stroke the feather over different parts of their body: down their arms, over their nose, forehead and cheeks - ask them how it feels? The feather will feel slightly different on your nose or cheeks compared to your arms. How does it feel between your toes?!
  • Body movement senses (proprioception and the vestibular sense) - Now bring in movement to your feather exploration to activate your body senses. 
    • Reach out or kneel up and throw the feather in the air, see if you can catch it! Can you dance like a feather?
    • Thread the feather between your toes and see if you can wave it in the air using just your feet! Before you do this activity with your child check they have a clear space behind them then, if they do fall backwards, they won't bump their head. Show your child how they can support themselves safely through their hands as they do this game i.e. guide them to place their hands on the floor, behind or beside them, before they lift their feet up – hopefully your child will automatically start to take weight through their hands!  
  • Oral sense - Bring out a small container and place it between you both - maybe put a toy bird inside – this is the nest! Encourage your child to blow their feather into the nest. Blowing the feather will help your child to stimulate their ‘oral sense’ without putting the feather in their mouth, giving them a goal e.g. to blow the feather in the nest, will help their attention skills. Your child is more likely to immerse themselves in the game if they see there is a meaning to it and a challenge! Show your child how they can balance the feather on the back of their hand to blow it - this is often easier. If your child is younger balance the feather on the back of your hand and encourage them to blow it off. 
Blowing the feather stimulates both the oral and visual senses
whilst developing 'concentration skills'
  • Hearing sense - Does the feather make a sound as it moves? Does your breath make a sound? You can also do all of these activities to Tatty Bumpkin’s Feather song. This song has been specially written and composed to go with the activity - meaning the rhythm, words and melody encourage your child to engage with the game rather than be distracted by the music

The Benefits – calming, feeding and organising your child’s mind!

1. Calming and mindfulness 
Children are naturally mindful, at a young age they are completely absorbed by the world - exploring it using all their senses. This means a child is completely caught in the moment and not distracted by the ‘what ifs’ or ‘if onlys’. Look how your child becomes absorbed in the feather – maybe fully immersed in trying to get it between their toes or to blow it! Your child needs the space and time to cultivate this precious natural born mindfulness other-wise it may be quickly lost in the ‘hub bub’ of life. 
As you and your child take deeper breaths to blow the feather, your heart rates will automatically slow and your blood pressures will lower slightly – helping you both to calm down and relax.  

2. Sensory Processing skills
Sensory processing is the way we take in, analyse and respond to sensory signals from our bodies the environment. Although these processing skills develop naturally as we mature and explore our world, evidence strongly suggests that early life experiences can also have a big effect on their development. Indeed sensory experiences can re-wire the brain! In a newly published e-book 'Sensory Processing 101' the authors (Teachers, OT and PT therapists based in the US) suggest “Thoughtful guided exposure to playful sensory experiences is the best way to promote healthy development of the sensory systems’. At Tatty Bumpkin we agree wholeheartedly! 
Blowing feathers is a great way to specifically develop your child’s oral sensory processing i.e. the way they receive, analyse and respond to information from their mouth and jaw. Children with good oral processing skills are able to:
  • Eat a variety of foods – not being overwhelmed (too much) by different textures or tastes. Not only does this mean your child has a healthy, varied diet it can also ensure that they have plenty of chewing and biting experiences just through eating and so do not seek these out in other ways – too much! 
  • Cope with experiences such as tooth brushing or visits to the dentist  
So give yourself and your child a break - enjoy a few moments of exploration together with the sensory feather activity – it may well be the best thing you did all day!

Love Tatty Bumpkin

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. 

A New Start with Tatty Bumpkin for 2016?  

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:

A Tatty Bumpkin teacher helps to expand  a child's world through their body and their mind

Monday, January 4, 2016

Don't be daunted by New Year activity goals. To increase your child's activity levels - 'Every Little Helps!

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

This Year - Don’t be Daunted by Activity Goals

Happy 2016 from Tatty Bumpkin!  

A new year and maybe, amongst those new year resolutions, we have decided that ourselves and our families will be more active. Trouble is we may be tempted to sometimes put off that long walk or find it hard to keep up with that punishing schedule we have set ourselves and our children. 

The good news is - it does not need to be like that! New evidence collected by the British Heart Foundation suggests that one of the best ways to increase your child’s physical activity is to naturally bring the activity into their day in short, regular breaks, 10-15 mins is enough. 

The idea is, these movement breaks, along with longer periods of active play, all add up to reach the daily 3 hours of physical activity recommended for 2-4 year olds. See ‘Physical Activity in the Early Years’. BHF National Centre October 2015 

The ‘3 hours a day’ activity recommendation can sound daunting, but shorter activity breaks over a 11-12 hour day seem more achievable. The activity can be a mixture of intensity i.e. from light movement and stretching through to running and jumping games. 

The B.H.F report also emphasises that children are more active if their parents are active as well - So remember those 10 minute movement breaks off the sofa, or away from the screen, will all add up for both you and for your child!

Every week Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity sessions in nurseries, parent and child private venues and children’s centres provide children with at least 30 minutes of adult guided active play based on fun Yoga poses. The Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity for this week is Starfish.

Tatty Bumpkin’s 10 minute Starfish Yoga Activity for Home 

Try  to do starfish pose with your child - they will love to do it with you and your own body will probably love that 10 minute stretch as well! Remember to respect your body though, if you have any doubts whether you should do the pose speak to a health professional first.


  • Find a clear place on a mat or carpet where you and your child can do starfish pose without bumping into anything or slipping.  Remember to take off your socks and shoes as this will help you both to use your feet to balance. 
  • Start in standing and move your feet so they are fairly wide apart, encourage your child to copy you. Give your child time to find their balance in this position. 
  • Then guide your child to stretch their arms out wide - making their body into a star shape. 
Starfish on the beach!
  • Some children may find it helpful to do starfish pose by stretching against something. If this is the case give your child a small towel e.g. a folded tea towel or small hand towel and guide them to hold the ends with each hand. Then show them how they can keep hold of the ends of the towel whilst they stretch their arms above their head. 
  • To be a starfish in the waves guide your child to rock gently side to side whilst keeping their towel stretched over their head. It’s a bit like waving a scarf at a football match! 

Progressions for Starfish Pose 

'Starfish on the beach' - Guide your child to start in standing with their feet together and their arms by their sides. Then 1, 2, 3, they spy a starfish on the beach! Encourage your child to jump into the starfish pose and back again 

1, 2, 3 see a starfish on the beach!
Starfish saying ‘hello!' - In standing, or lying, guide your child to wave each of their five starfish arms in turn i.e. Encourage your child to wave one leg in the air, then the other, then to wave each arm and finally their head – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! 

5 Reasons Why Starfish Pose is ‘Good for your Child’ 

1. Provides that 10 minute movement break!

2. Stretches tight muscles 
Starfish pose gives your child (and you) an excellent opportunity to stretch a number of muscles which can become tight - especially after sitting for a while. These muscles include:
  • The 'pectoral' muscles which run over the front of the chest
  • The 'biceps' and 'triceps' muscles in the arms 
  • The back muscles 
  • The muscles round the hips
  • The leg muscles i.e. the 'quadriceps', which run down the front of the thigh, and 'gracilis' muscles, which run down the inside of the thigh. 
3. Improves body awareness 
As your child grows their body obviously changes shape, indeed your child may be quite surprised to see how far they can reach with their arms in starfish pose!  Activities and games which remind your child where their body begins and ends will not only increase their understanding of body but also their overall body confidence.

4. Strengthens core muscles
As your child rocks side to side in starfish pose, especially if they are pulling against a towel, they will be activating their core muscles i.e. their shoulder, spine, tummy and hip muscles. These muscles are not only important for sporting skills they are also needed for desk top skills and handwriting. 

5. Refines balance skills  
As your child waves their starfish arms – lifting up one leg and then the other they will be working on their balance skills. Remember you can bring some maths into the pose by encouraging your child to count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, as they wave each limb!

Ideas to Bring Starfish Pose into your Child’s Day 

Below are some play ideas to help you bring starfish pose into your child’s day:

Wake up sleepy starfish! Encourage your child to stretch in starfish pose a few times to wake themselves up in the morning.

‘Good morning’ starfish. Encourage your child to wave their starfish arms in turn to say ‘hello to the day’ and their family. 

‘Leafy’ starfish. When out for a walk see your child can find a leaf that looks a bit like starfish. Then encourage them to do starfish pose holding their leaf or leaves! 

‘Goodnight’ starfish.  When it gets dark encourage your child to look up at the stars, or to find a star in a picture book, and then say ‘goodnight’ to it in their starfish pose!  

Say 'good night' to the stars! 

Love Tatty Bumpkin x

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. 

A New Start in 2016 with Tatty Bumpkin?  

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: