Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tatty Bumpkin’s Easter Yoga Stretch

Here at Tatty Bumpkin we have put together 3 simple ‘Eastery’ Yoga inspired poses for you to do with your child. The poses will stretch and strengthen muscles, develop co-ordination and, if you do them in the order below, they will hopefully leave you both feeling ‘just right’ – not too excited – not too drowsy – in fact just right!


  • Remember if you, or your child, start to feel uncomfortable - listen to your bodies and stop! 
  • Find a clear space  -on a carpet or mat or maybe go outside. Make sure you both have room so you don't bump into each other.
  • Take off your socks and shoes to prevent slips and to help your child receive accurate sensory information through their feet. 

Tatty Bumpkin’s Easter Pose 1. Sun Pose to Warm up and Stretch

Stretch for the sun!
  • Start sun pose standing opposite your child - with your feet hip width apart. 
  • Slowly stretch your arms out to either side, palms facing upwards. Encourage your child ‘to reach as far as they can go’ or to see if they can ‘touch the walls on each side’ - they may be surprised how long their arms are!  Hold this position for a few seconds to make the stretch extra effective. 
  • Now take your arms above your head in a wide arc keeping your elbows straight - encourage your child to copy you. Try to do this movement slowly so your child has a chance to really work their upper body i.e. their shoulder, tummy and back muscles. 
  • Gently bring your hands together above your head so your palms are touching. Then look up at your hands and feel how tall you are! Caution - Don't extend your neck too far back. 
  • To finish, slowly bring your arms back down to your sides and look straight ahead.  
  • If you child is older, encourage them to take a big breath IN as they bring their arms UP and to breathe all the way OUT as they LOWER their arms.
  • If your child is younger they may find it easier to do sun pose either sitting on the floor or back on their heels. This is a more stable position allowing them to concentrate on  stretching their arms out wide and above their head.
Reach for the sun!

Why Sun Pose is Good for Me

As your child does sun pose they will be: 
  • Stretching upper body muscles for good posture. Even young children can spend quite a bit of time sitting - playing with toys and devices. They may sit in a slumped position and hunch their shoulders as they concentrate. When your child does sun pose they will be stretching and activating their upper body muscles i.e. their chest, back, tummy, shoulder and arm muscles.

  • Refining head movements for whiteboard skills. As your child moves their head in sun pose they will be refining this selective movement i.e. keeping their body still whilst they move their head. In the class room, your child will be using this movement as they look up to the white board and back down to their desk. 
  • Becoming more aware of their breathing. As your child takes big breaths in sun pose they will become more aware of their breathing and how it feels to take deeper breaths. When they breathe in and raise their arms above their head your child will be giving their chest muscles an even bigger stretch!  

Tatty Bumpkin’s Easter Pose 2. Rabbit Pose to Organize and Alert

Easter bunny hops
  • Start squatting down on your heels - alongside each other.
  • Keeping your feet STILL, reach forwards with your hands and place them on the floor in front of you. 
  • Show your child how they can lean forwards - to take weight onto their hands - then hop their feet up towards their hands. Repeat the movement to 'lollop' like a rabbit!
  • Children under 4 years may find rabbit pose hard to do. If your child is younger encourage them to bend and straighten their knees in standing - this is a great 'foundation movement' for jumping. 
Bounce as a bunny!

Games to Play around Rabbit Pose
Place a thin scarf, or streamer, on the mat in front of your child (a green streamer could be 'spring grass', a blue streamer could be a river!). Guide your child to look at their streamer, place their hands over it and then hop their feet over. This extra visual prompt 
gives your child something to look at and jump over. (Remember to supervise your child closely with the scarf or streamer and never leave them alone with it). 

Why Rabbit Pose is Good For Me

When your child does rabbit pose, they will be:
  • Activating shoulder muscles for writing. Rabbit pose is an excellent prewriting activity.  If your child’s shoulder muscles are active and strong, they will use these muscles to support the weight of their arm, freeing their delicate hand muscles for writing. If shoulder muscles are inactive or weak children may try to support their whole arm with their hand muscles, this can lead to a tight pencil grip and hand ache. 

  • Improving co-ordination skills. Rabbit pose is hard to do - but  the movement sequence is an excellent way for your child to become more aware of their body. 
  • Developing concentration and visual skills for learning. Your child will have to focus on, and look at, the streamer as they hop over it. Your child will build on these skills as they concentrate to read. 

Tatty Bumpkin’s Easter Pose 3. Butterfly Pose to Calm and Compose

What colour are your wings? 

Finally, sit together on your mat or carpet (If you, or your child, finds butterfly pose uncomfortable – try siting on a low cushion).

Butterfly Pose for Parents
  • 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 you 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). 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.
  • Now slowly bend your knees, and slide your feet up towards you. Only take your feet up as far as is comfortable.
  • Bring the soles of your feet together – so they are touching each other and your knees are falling out to the side - don’t force the movement. If you cannot bring the soles of your feet together, don’t worry, concentrate on keeping your back straight.
  • Hold your feet tightly with both hands - you can place your hands underneath your feet for added support.
  • 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 don’t force the movement. 
Butterfly pose with your child
  • Now, encourage your child to copy you. If they are tending to slump backwards - guide them to rock forwards onto their 'sit' bones - as above. 
  • Together, gently flap your knees up and down - like the wings of a butterfly. Start slowly then increase the movement.  
  • Alternatively, if you are sitting in butterfly pose yourself, 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 fall out to the side in butterfly pose.
  • Whilst you are in Butterfly pose you can both imagine what colour your wings might be?! 

Games to Play Around Butterfly Pose

Blowing Butterflies 
Caution - Supervise your child carefully with the butterfly props. Do not make ‘butterflies’ out of tissue paper as the dye can come off if your child does manage to put them in their mouth. 
  • Cut out some paper butterflies – origami paper is good as it's stiffer than normal paper.
  • Blow the butterfly prop yourself, to show your child what to do, this also gives you a chance to take deeper, more calming breaths.
  • Encourage your young child to blow their paper butterfly high into the air. If they are younger, your child may find it easier to blow their butterfly off the back of your hand. 
  • Make the game more meaningful by placing a bowl in front to be a ‘butterfly nest’. Your child then has to blow their butterfly into the nest!
  • Younger children find it hard to blow – often this skill is not truly learnt until about 3 years. If your child is younger encourage them to pick up their butterfly and put it in the nest. As they do this they'll be developing their 'pincer' hand grip. 
  • Don't let your child do too many deep breaths in a row as this can make them dizzy!
Once more - developing concentration and visual skills for learning 

Do Butterfly pose 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 https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bendy-giggly-clever-strong/id376349531

Why Butterfly Pose is Good for Me

As your child does Butterfly pose they will be:
  • Developing and refining their sitting position for back health and writingBeing 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 (remember our sit bones are the boney projections at the base of our pelvis). As they started to do this your child would have been able to take their hands off the floor. With improved sitting balance your child would have found arm and hand movements easier. However, if you child is at school, they may have started to sit in a more slumped position - largely as a result of poorly designed chairs. Butterfly pose will remind them to push up through their ‘sit bones’ and extend their lower backs. 
  • Gently stretching hip and thigh muscles. Butterfly pose gives your child the chance to stretch the muscles on the front and inside of their thigh. It's the ideal pose to do after sitting in a buggy or car seat for a while! 
  • Improving eye hand coordination and fine motor (hand) skills for reading and writing skills. As your child plays with their butterfly prop they will be improving their 'tracking skills' (the ability to follow an object with their eyes). Your child uses their tracking skills as they read or write. Picking up butterfly props will give your younger child the chance to perfect their finger 'pincer' grip. 
  • Becoming aware of their feet to improve balance. It's a good idea to give your child time to sit with bare feet as even whilst sitting, your child will be using their feet to keep steady. As you guide your child to bring their feet together in butterfly pose you may see them curling their foot inwards and upwards, these movements  strengthen their foot and ankle muscles. Next time you are sitting with your child on their floor - look closely at their feet to see how they move! 
  • Calming themselves. Butterfly pose and butterfly breaths will help your child to calm themselves after the alerting rabbit pose. Leaving them, and you, feeling just right!

Happy Easter!

Love Tatty Bumpkin 

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