Snake pose gives children an opportunity to play games on their tummy, helping to build strength, develop balance skills & improve their ability to focus. We often think of tummy time for babies and little ones – but it’s helpful for everyone!
How to do snake pose
Find a clear place on a non-slip surface where you and your child can do snake pose without bumping into anything. Try to do snake pose along with you child – slowly and carefully so they can copy you. Please respect your body. If you have back or neck problems and always consult a health professional before you try the pose.
Take off your socks and shoes. This will enable you to use your feet effectively as you wriggle.
Lie down on the floor facing each other. Prop yourselves up on your forearms, palms flat against the floor.
Hiss at each other like snakes! This is great for encouraging speech and confidence.
The benefits of snake pose
A more challenging snake pose
Once your child is stable and confident in snake pose, they may then push up onto their hands, straightening their arms, but being careful not to ‘lock’ elbows or shoulders.
Multi-Sensory, Educational & Fun
Look all around, to your right and left, to find objects round the room. Then see what you can spy when you look gently upwards or back down to the floor in front of you. This activity will help your child to refine their head and eye movements. In the nursery or classroom your child will be able to draw on these skills as they start to look up to a white board and back down to their desk.
Now start to wriggle together, reaching forward with one arm and then the other. Once again your child will be working their shoulder muscles but they will also be using their back and tummy muscles more. To sit well your child needs both their tummy and back muscles to be active.
After you have wriggled a little way, stop. Have a think. Are you moving your legs? Often we forget our legs when we wriggle. Encourage your child to move their opposite arm and leg to perfect their ‘snakey wriggle’ – they will then be strengthening their hip muscles and developing co-ordination skills. Why not wriggle and hiss to the Tatty Bumpkin snake song.
A less challenging snake pose
If your child is finding it hard to move both their arms and legs as they wriggle, break the activity down into smaller steps:
- Guide your child to lie on their tummy with their elbows bent so they are propping on their forearms.
- Encourage your child to move their right elbow forwards a little way and then to roll onto their right side.
- As they roll to the right, guide your child to look to their left. Almost automatically they should bend up their left leg.
- Try the same movements, only on the other side. Encourage your child to roll back into snake pose, but this time guide them to move their left elbow forwards. Then roll onto their left side and look to the right. This should encourage their right leg to bend up.
- Guide your child to repeat the rolls, whilst moving their elbow, body, head and opposite leg. Then see if they can link them together to commando crawl.
- Wriggle forwards and backwards then take a rest and just wave your ‘snakey’ tail. Bend up your knees so your feet are up in the air and gently sway both feet from side to side.
Once again this activity is great for tummy, back and hip muscles but it also helps your child to become more aware of the ‘middle’ of their body and how they can take their legs (and arms) across this middle section to the other side. This ability is often known as ‘crossing the midline’ – just think how many times your child will be using this skill to dress themselves in the morning!
Then become a mouse
After you have wriggled as snakes – curl up the other way to be a mouse or maybe a rock for the snake to hide behind! This movement makes sure you have stretched your back and neck the other way to snake pose – helping to release the back and neck muscles you have been working.
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