How to do monkey pose
If you feel able to do monkey pose with your child, do give it a try. Research shows that toddlers and young children bond with their parents and ‘key people’ not only through touch and by communicating with them but also by moving with them. However, if you have issues with either your back or hips, please check with a health professional first to make sure that this pose is appropriate for you.
If you are in good health, start monkey pose by finding a space on a carpet or mat. You need an area where you can both safely move and experiment with balancing without being in danger of falling on anything. Take off your shoes and socks. Children under 3 years will use their vision to keep their balance. However from about 4 years old, children increasingly start to use their body senses to balance. Doing monkey pose with bare feet will ensure their brain receives accurate sensory input though the soles of their feet.
Encourage your child to leap from squatting to standing, moving their arms up and down like a monkey – make ‘ooooh’ sounds!
Try reaching up with one hand and then the other to imagine you are hanging from the branches. This activity will give your child a great stretch and help their co-ordination skills as they become aware of their right and left hand sides.
Then reach across your bodies with one hand and then the other as if swinging on vines or passing a banana. To do this activity your child will have to cross the ‘mid line’ of their body, which is necessary for writing.
A more challenging monkey pose
Try balancing on one leg while you imagine being a monkey perched on a high tree branch.
The benefits of monkey pose
Monkey pose gives you a chance to:
- Build strength
Leaping from squatting to standing and moving arms up & down in monkey pose will strengthen leg and arm muscles.
- Develop balance skills
The movements of monkey pose help to improve balance skills. To progress these further, guide your child to have a go at standing on one leg.
- Refines ‘crossing the mid line’ skills
By passing an imaginary banana or ‘swinging from vine to vine’ our children will have to cross the mid line of their bodies.
Crossing the mid-line is an important coordination skill for writing. As Devany LeDrew explains, these types of movements will: “cause their brains to communicate across their Corpus Callosum*. This thick cable of nerves allows their two brain hemispheres to communicate. The practice is vital for higher level skills like reading and writing. By moving in new ways, we build and strengthen new pathways in the brain.”
*The Corpus Callosum is the part of the mind that allows communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. It is responsible for transmitting neural messages between both the right and left hemispheres. [brain made simple]
This week Tatty Bumpkin is off on an adventure in the jungle to visit the monkeys. She will listen and move to the beat of the monkey song & use her imagination to explore how to build the monkeys a new nest.
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