Find your local Tatty or Baby Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html and have a go at horse pose with your baby, toddler or child at home – see below for ideas and games.
The Adventure This Week ..
This week Tatty/Baby Bumpkin find themselves back home on Wobble Farm. Horse takes them back to the farmyard as it is time to make the 'Pony’s Picture'.
Everyone helps – the birds bring in the paper, cat paints the grass and dog uses both his magic tails to paint a bright, blue sky….
The spider family love painting little bright flowers on the green grass and the butterflies flap their delicate wings to dry the picture once everyone has finished.
So why not come and help Tatty or Baby Bumpkin make a lovely picture at your local Tatty or Baby Bumpkin class…
|A Pony's Picture of Wobble Farm!|
In the ‘Pony’s Picture Story’ Your Child will Have the Opportunity to-
1. Activate and strengthen their shoulder muscles whilst doing horse, cat and dog poses.
2. Develop their balance skills as they do horse and bird poses.
3. Use gestures or words to express their thoughts i.e.
- Feeling ‘excited’ with Tatty Bumpkin as she rides horse back to Wobble Farm.
- Feeling ‘upset’ with Tatty Bumpkin when frog spills yellow paint all over her and then ‘forgiving’ frog!
- Feeling ‘sorry’ with frog when he spills the paint and then ‘happy’ when Tatty Bumpkin forgives him.
- Feeling proud with everyone when the picture is finished.
- What shape the trees will be?
- What colour the flowers will be?
6. Have fun with their friends whilst they make the giant pony picture!
Horse Pose for Children
|Trot as a horse first then older children can kick up their heels!|
|If your child is younger - give them some support.|
Description of Pose
If your child is about 4 years old or younger they will be relying on vision a great deal to learn new movements. Therefore it is best to do Horse pose with them so they can see what to do. Also research is increasingly showing that children bond with their parents through movement as well as touch. If you have back or wrist problems take the pose slowly and carefully and if you start to feel any pain or start to feel giddy - do stop.
- With your child, clear a safe area on a non-slip floor or use a non-slip mat. Start by taking your shoes and socks off!
- From the standing position, bend your knees and place your hands on the floor in front of you, making sure your palms are firmly on the floor and your fingers are spread out wide to give yourself a stable base. Encourage your child to copy you.
- Then, keeping your elbows straight, put more of your weight through your hands and do little, trotting steps with your feet on the spot – just like a horse trotting! Once again encourage your child to copy you.
- As you do horse pose together – make ‘horse’ sounds – neighing and blowing out through your nose!
Why Horse Pose is Good for your Child
Horse pose gives your child the chance to:
- Activate and strengthen their shoulder, arm and wrist muscles. Strengthening the shoulder muscles is very useful for writing as to write comfortably these muscles need to be active. If your child’s shoulder muscles are inactive or weak this can result in them overusing their more delicate hand muscles when writing and getting hand ache.
- Improve their co-ordination and awareness of their right and left hand sides. As your child turns themselves ‘upside down’ and ‘trots’ with their feet in horse pose they will be improving their whole body awareness.
- Develop their balance skills.
- Refine their sensory processing ability and ‘raise their levels of alertness’. Horse pose will stimulate your child’s ‘vestibular’ sense i.e. the sense of where their head is in space. Stimulation of this sense will help your child to raise their ‘levels of alertness’. Therefore horse pose is an ideal ‘movement break’ for your child if they need to raise their concentration levels after sitting for a while. However, because Horse pose is likely to alert your child do not do this pose for too long as this may lead over-excitement.
Other Games to Play in Horse Pose with your Child
Make a Pony’s Picture
Why not make your own Pony’s Picture or collage.
- Spread out a large green piece of fabric for your grass.
- Then put a strip of blue fabric above it – for the sky.
- Gather various twigs, for the tree trunks, and place these on your fabrics.
- Either gather flowers and leaves, or make your own paper ones, to sprinkle all around.
- Place a large, yellow sun in the sky – using either fabric or yellow paper
- Finally, you can add paper butterflies and/or make a blue pond in the grass for the ducks.
Horse Pose for Toddlers and Older Babies
|Horsey, horsey .. don't you stop!|
Description of Pose
N.B. Remember, keep looking at and communicating with your baby or toddler as you do this pose. Some babies and toddlers’ will love to move more, others will prefer to do the pose at a slower pace. Start slowly to reassure your baby and toddler and to make sure you are doing the ‘bridging’ action correctly then, as you both gain in confidence, try doing the pose at a faster pace.
If you have back or neck problems either do this pose slowly and gently – and if it causes you pain, stop – or do the adaptation of horse pose for younger babies (see below).
This adaptation of Horse pose is ideal if your baby is about 5-6mths or older and is confident sitting up with a little bit of support.
- In Horse pose you need to lift your hips off the floor, like a bridge, so your baby or toddler can experience the movement. You can make this ‘bridging action’ into a great tummy and bottom exercise for yourself. It is worth taking the time to practise the movement without your baby i.e.
- Lie down on your back on a mat or carpet area.
- Draw your knees up so they are pointing up to the ceiling. Keep your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.
- With your hips still on the floor, ‘draw in’ your lower tummy muscles to ‘get ready’.
- Then squeeze your buttocks together and lift your bottom off the floor. Be careful not lift your bottom up too high.
- Hold the position for a few seconds, breathing normally. To protect your back do not twist from side to side.
- Then lower your bottom back to the floor.
- Repeat the action a few times so you are sure you are using your tummy and bottom muscles well.
- Lie down with your baby or toddler on a mat or floor space.
- Lift your baby/toddler onto your tummy, so they are sitting with their legs down either side of your body. Support them round their middle so their arms are free, they can use their arms to balance. If your baby is younger they may need to be supported more round their rib cage area. If your baby/toddler is older they are likely to only need support round their hips.
- Gain good eye contact with your baby/toddler - but do not lift your head off the floor as this may lead to neck strain. Instead adjust your baby’s position so they can see you whilst your head is supported on the floor.
- Now do the ‘bridging’ action yourself, lifting your hips up and down, so your baby/toddler feels and reacts to your body movements.
- Keep looking at your baby/toddler to make sure they are enjoying the game– they may want you to go slower or perhaps a little faster!
- As you do Horse pose with your baby or toddler sing a nursery song to help you both relax and get into a natural rhythm i.e.
Just let your feet go ‘clipperty clop’
Your tail goes ‘swish’,
And the wheels go round,
‘Giddy up’ We’re homeward bound!”
Why Horse Pose is Good for Both You and Your Toddler or Baby
As you do Horse pose with your baby or toddler, you will give them a chance to:
- Progress their sitting balance. It takes a baby many months to become completely stable in the sitting position. During this time they refine unconscious ‘reflex’ like muscle movements and ‘responses’ which help them to keep their balance i.e. Bringing their body back to the ‘upright’ sitting position if they are tilted forwards, sideways or backwards a little way. When you do Horse pose with your baby you will be giving them the chance to develop these balance skills. As your baby moves from side to side, and back and forth give them a second to see if they can bring their body back to the upright position with less support from you. Always give your baby the support they need – but they will enjoy the challenge of trying to regain their balance more by themselves!
- Refine the processing of their body senses (their vestibular and proprioceptive senses). Horse pose provides your baby with a gentle challenge to their body senses and gives them the opportunity to organise these sensations so they can do the balance movements described above.
- Express their own needs. All babies are different and their moods will change from day to day and throughout the day. Horse pose is a great activity to help you ‘tune in’ to your baby or toddler. Some babies and toddlers may naturally enjoy doing the pose at a fast pace and some will prefer to move more slowly. You may notice that your baby enjoys doing the pose at different rates depending on the time of day or their current mood. For example, if your baby is drowsy, following a sleep, start by doing horse pose at a steady pace before seeing if they wish to go a little faster. These faster movements are likely to ‘alert’ your baby so they feel ready to play after their nap – but always be aware that some babies will need time and practice to get used to the movement.
- And remember Horse pose is a great tummy and bottom exercise for you!
Other Games to Play in Horse Pose with your Baby or Toddler
Grooming the horse!
Find a soft baby’s nail or hair brush or even a soft artist’s brush and gently brush down your baby’s arms and legs. If they are settled or enjoying the sensation – brush over the soles of their feet and the palms of their hands.
Encourage your baby onto their tummy and stroke down their backs with your hands. Remember do not leave your baby or toddler unsupervised with the brush! The brushing action is not only fun but it will help your baby become more aware of different parts of their body and how they relate to one another.
Holding the Reins!
This game is an adaptation of Horse pose explained above and is a great way for your toddler to activate and strengthen their shoulder and tummy muscles.
- Settle with your baby on the floor as in Horse pose only this time hold onto your baby’s or toddler’s hands.
- Gently encourage your baby or toddler to rock backwards and forwards whilst they are holding your hands as if they are riding on a horse and holding the reins. Do not do the ‘bridging’ movement. Encourage your baby or toddler to push against your with their hands - as they do this they will be working their shoulder, arm and tummy muscles.
- Once again start off slowly and then see if your toddler enjoys rocking forwards a little further and faster.
Horse Pose for Babies
|Horsey, horsey ..|
Description of Pose
N.B. Remember, when you are doing the poses with your baby, never force the movements and keep looking at your baby to make sure they are comfortable. If you feel any resistance, or your baby becomes unsettled, do stop. Once your baby has 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 maybe come back to it later.
This adaptation of Horse pose is ideal if your baby is about 5-6mths or younger and has yet to gain good control of their head and body in sitting.
- Sit with your baby on a mat or floor space – settling them on their backs in front of you.
- Gain good eye contact with your baby and give their feet a little tickle!
- Gently hold your baby’s lower legs just below their knee round their calves.
- Slowly bend your baby’s right knee up towards their chest. Keep their knee in line with their hip bone on that side i.e. do not let their knee fall inwards too much. Remember not to force the movement.
- If your baby is comfortable, hold their right knee up near their tummy for a second then let your baby stretch their leg out towards you as far as they wish to go. Keeping hold of your baby’s calf as you do the movement.
- Now repeat the knee bend with your baby’s left leg. Bend their left knee up to their chest, hold it there for a second and then let it stretch out.
- If your baby is happy continue to bend their alternate knees up to their chest, letting them stretch out after each bend.
- Whilst you march your baby’s legs up and down sing a nursery song to help you and your baby relax and get into a natural rhythm together i.e.
Just let your feet go ‘clipperty clop’
Your tail goes ‘swish’,
And the wheels go round,
‘Giddy up’ We’re homeward bound!"
- Keep looking at your baby, seeing how they respond to the movements. Some babies may prefer you to move their legs in a faster rhythm others may prefer going at a slower pace!
- As your baby becomes used to the movement – try not to guide them so much so they are doing more of the kicking action by themselves.
Why Horse Pose is Good for Both You and Your Baby
As you do Horse pose with your baby, you will give your baby a chance to:
- Stretch and gently activate their hip and leg muscles. When your baby is born they will tend to hold their arms and legs close to their body in a pattern similar to that in the womb. In the first few months of their life your baby will be actively moving and stretching out all four of their limbs as they discover the space around them. It is important for the development of skills such as rolling, sitting and ultimately learning to walk that your baby has this early opportunity to move and stretch out their arm and leg muscles whilst lying on the floor. Remember if your baby is under 5 mths they will not have full movement at their hips and knees so never force the kicking actions of Horse pose. However, just doing the movements that your baby is comfortable with, will provide them with a good, gentle stretch. As your baby starts to do more of the actions by themselves, they will be stretching and strengthening their leg muscles even more effectively.
- Promote their digestion. The leg movements of Horse pose gently stimulate your baby’s digestion. Hence this pose can be especially useful if your baby suffers from constipation.
- Express their own needs. All babies are different and their moods will change from day to day and throughout the day. Horse pose is a great activity to help you ‘tune in’ to your baby’s mood i.e. you may notice your baby enjoys kicking their legs out in Horse pose more quickly or even being rolled gently from side to side as they do the pose. Other babies may prefer to do the actions of Horse pose at a slower pace - at least to start with until they get used to the movement. If your baby is drowsy, following a sleep, start by doing Horse pose at steady pace with them before seeing if they wish to go a little faster. The quicker movements are likely to ‘alert’ your baby so they feel ready to play after their nap – but always be aware that some babies will need time and practice to get used to the movement.
Make it Multi-Sensory, Educational & Fun
In Tatty and Baby 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 and Baby 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.
Find your local Tatty Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html