The pose for this week in Tatty Bumpkin classes is SNAKE.
By Sue Heron – Training Co-ordinator Tatty Bumpkin and Paediatric Physiotherapist
This week Tatty Bumpkin jumps through the Giggle Tree to find herself deep inside the Rainforest. Some of the trees are so tall they are as high as 6 houses! Tatty Bumpkin stretches up really high, on one leg, like a Rainforest tree.
It starts to rain and Tatty Bumpkin closes her eyes as the raindrops fall on her nose, ears, hair and body
But all is not well in the Rainforest, a little snake is very sad. He just cannot learn to wriggle! Tatty Bumpkin, always the thinker and ready to solve problems, suggests they ask the other Rainforest animals for help: the snappy crocodile, the chattering monkeys, the growly bears and even the stomping, trumpeting elephants. Now, who do you think would be able to show the little snake how to wriggle? Tatty Bumpkin needs your ideas …
What Snake Pose Looks Like
Wriggle as a slidy snake and don't forget to hissss!
Description of Pose
Note to parents - To encourage your child to lie down on their tummy, it is always best to do the activity with them! Playing with your child really means a great deal to them and builds the relationship between you both – so stretch out with your child and give them an ‘eye level smile!’ However, be careful of your back and do not push up with straight elbows as this may strain your back.
What to say to your child
Lie on your tummy with your elbows bent & forearms on the floor, wiggle side to side like a slippery snake! Bend your knees so your feet are in the air, just like a snake’s tail, slowly raise your head & chest off the floor and ‘hiss’ loudly (keep your elbows on the floor). Lower your legs to the floor & move your arms & legs once more to carry on wriggling!
Want to make it harder?
When you bend your knees, wave your lower legs from side to side in the air, like a ‘rattlesnake!’ Now, see if you can wriggle, backwards or maybe sideways!
Older children may enjoy the challenge of wriggling as snake round a ‘jungle obstacle course’ picking up objects on the way. Make the course by placing a few chairs or a low table in a safe area and encouraging your child to wriggle underneath them.
Younger children and Toddlers
Description of Pose
As with older children, it is always best to do snake pose with your toddler, they will not only learn to do the pose by copying you but also recent research shows that when parents play and move with their young children this helps the ‘bonding’ process. So lie down on the floor yourself and encourage your toddler to lie down opposite you. Guide them to rest their elbows on the floor in front of them so they can push their head and chest up from the floor. As they push up encourage your toddler to make hissing sounds like a snake. Remember, be careful of your back and take care to keep your elbows on the floor whilst you are doing snake pose, as this will ensure that you do not strain your back.
Encourage your toddler to bend their knees to lift their feet from the floor – to make a ‘snaky tail’. They can then ‘have a go’ at swaying their lower legs (their tail) from side to side just like a rattle snake.
Your toddler might enjoy wriggling as snake on the floor. Use a piece of light material to make a ‘jungle canopy’ for them to wriggle underneath. Make a simple obstacle course using two chairs or a low table and encourage your toddler to wriggle underneath them.
Why it is ‘Good For Me’
Snake pose will give your child the opportunity to:
Strengthen their core muscles. As your child wriggles in snake pose they will be ‘waking up’ and strengthening their shoulder, back, tummy and hip muscles. Core muscle strength provides a great foundation for athletic & writing skills.
Improve their co-ordination and body awareness. In order to move around safely and use objects and tools efficiently, e.g. pens, cutlery, we need to create an accurate image of our body in our minds – this is called a ‘body schema’. We develop our body schema using sensory information from our muscles and sense of touch. As your child is growing they need to constantly update their body schema. Wriggling side to side, slithering forwards, backwards and sideways in snake pose, using both arms and legs, is a good way for your child to update their mental map of their body or their ‘body schema’.
Develop their concentration skills and breath awareness. Your child may find snake pose helpful to either calm themselves down or wake themselves up – it just depends on how quickly they do the activity. To help your child calm themselves: encourage them to be a big, long snake who is wriggling slowly and doing loud, long hisses! As your child rocks side to side on their tummy and takes deeper breaths to do long hisses - they will be gently stimulating their body senses and taking deeper, slower breaths – both of which can help them to calm themselves. If your child needs help in ‘waking up’: encourage them to be little snakes, wriggling rapidly through the jungle whilst doing shorter, quicker hisses, both these actions may help them to become more alert.
For all the above reasons snake pose can become a great ‘movement’ break for your child i.e. when they are struggling to maintain concentration on that new bit of home work – just 1 – 2 minutes is enough!
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 ..
This week Tatty Bumpkin ventures out from Wobble Farm, creeping deep into the Rainforest. She finds herself surrounded by incredibly tall trees, their thick, green leafy branches hang down low and gently sway in the tropical breeze.
The Rainforest canopy is green and dark!
The forest is not called the Rainforest for nothing, and soon Tatty Bumpkin feels raindrops on her nose, ears, hair and body. As the rain falls all-around she thinks about how it will help the trees and plants grow really quickly and ever so tall. Tatty Bumpkin imagines she is a Cocoa tree as this is used to make delicious chocolate! What kind of tree or plant would you like to be?
What plant or tree would you like to grow up to be?!
A delicious Cocoa Tree?
Maybe you might want to be a bouncy rubber tree…
A bouncy rubber tree!
…or even a spikey pineapple plant!
A spiky pineapple!
You have to pick pineapples carefully...
But all is not well; Tatty Bumpkin hears a tearful sobbing above the sound of the rain. She looks down closely at the dark, damp forest floor and spies a little snake peeking out from his hole. As she hates to see anyone unhappy Tatty Bumpkin asks the little snake what the matter is? Oh No! He has never learnt to wriggle .. in fact he is an ‘unwriggly snake!’
I can sway and flap but I just cannot wriggle!
What to do? Tatty Bumpkin has a think – surely one of the rainforest animals can help? How about the crocodiles? They wriggle their tails …
Us crocodiles can snap ... but no we do not wriggle like snakes - we waddle!
“Oh dear no, the crocodiles cannot help!”
How about the monkeys? They wriggle their bodies and fingers as they swing through the trees…
We monkeys dance and swing!
“Oh dear no, the monkeys cannot help!”
I know, the elephants, thinks Tatty Bumpkin, they have very wriggly trunks, surely they can show snake how to wriggle …
We stomp and stomp and wave our trunks - no wriggling!
“Oh dear no, the elephants cannot help!”
Then the little snake remembers his grandpa, who is very wise. Grandpa snake has wriggled for many, many years. What do you think? Do you think grandpa snake might be able to help?
Of course he can, he might be a little stiff these days, but he still can do a wonderfully, snaky, wriggle! Grandpa patiently shows the little snake a host of wriggling moves to the 'Tatty Bumpkin Snake Rainforest Rap!'
Lets wriggle to the 'Tatty Bumpkin Snaky Rainforest Rap!'
Little snake is overjoyed, he can wriggle and it is party time!
Now, where are those Rainforest pineapples and can we make some Rainforest chocolate please?
What would you have at your 'Rainforest Feast'?
In the Tatty Bumpkin classes, this story will give your child an opportunity to:
Strengthen their core muscles and develop their body awareness in snake pose tree pose
Use their imagination to think of different Rainforest trees and plants to be: a bouncy rubber tree or maybe a spiky pineapple plant?
Develop their sense of rhythm as they wriggle to the 'Tatty Bumpkin Snake Rainforest Rap'
Learn about the Rainforest environment using their whole body and all their sense
Have fun with their friends and talk about what they are going to eat at the Rainforest party!