A Yoga Inspired Space Routine

The Resources You’ll Need

-       A copy of the YogaBugs Guide to Popular Yoga Postures, found on the Fun Zone at www.yogabugs.com.

-       ‘Sponge In Space’ (SpongeBob SquarePants) by Dan Crisp, ‘On The Moon’ by Anna Milbourne, ‘Q Pootle 5’ by Nick Butterworth or one of your favourite intergalactic adventures

-       Musical accompaniment for the following songs:

  • Five Little Men In A Flying Saucer *
  • Climb Aboard The Spaceship*
  • Nine Planets *
  • A soothing piece of music suitable for relaxation

Warm Up

Start by warming up your voices and bodies by singing and dancing along to ‘Five Little Men In A Flying Saucer.’ Then warm up your bodies with these postures:

Concertina Breath For Special Mission Energy

Concertina Breath is an energizing breathing exercise that warms you up, gets oxygen to the brain and helps you feel more active. It’s a bit like playing a squeezebox. With the fingers interlaced under the chin, raise your elbows up and take your head back whilst you breathe through your nose. Breathe out through your mouth and lower the elbows down, resting the chin back on your interlaced fingers.

Sun Salutations for YogaBugs

Hello Sun: Stand up tall and stretch your arms overhead. Shout “Hello Sun!”

Hello Earth: Bend down to touch the floor into Ragdoll. Shout “Hello Earth!”

Lunge: Step one foot backwards into a lunge, the way runners do when they’re starting a race. Shout “beep, beep!”

Dog Pose: Take both legs back so that your hands and feet are on the floor and your buttocks are in the air (the shape of an upside-down triangle).

Lunge: From dog pose, bring one foot forwards between your hands. Shout “beep, beep!”

Ragdoll: Bring both feet together. You will now be folded forward with your arms and shoulders completely relaxed. Come back to standing.

Repeat this sequence of moves three to four times.

Candle: Lay on your back and raise your legs in the air to form an L-shape. Count down to blast off, 10, 9, 8,7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF

Cycling: Spaceships are quite small inside, so we need to move around to exercise our muscles. Start off by lying on your back. Cycle your legs – slowly at first and then faster. Slow down again to a stop.

Rocking Horse: Roll up and down on your mat. As you do, try to touch the floor behind you with your feet. Do this 5-6 times. Come up to a sitting position with your feet together in butterfly pose.

Cobra Pose: Lie on your stomach, feet together, palms on the floor. Raise your head and shoulders and look up. This will enable you to look out of the spaceship and see what’s on the moon!

Moon Walking: Climb out of your spaceship and walk around the moon. Lift your knees up high and take big strides.

Story Time

Get ready for your space adventure by singing ‘Climb Aboard The Spaceship.’ Then read ‘Sponge In Space’ (SpongeBob SquarePants) by Dan Crisp, ‘On The Moon’ by Anna Milbourne, ‘Q Pootle 5’ by Nick Butterworth or one of your favourite intergalactic adventures. As you read through the story, introduce the yoga postures from the YogaBugs Guide To Popular Yoga Postures.

End with the song ‘Nine Planets.’

Winding Down

Sleepy Star: Sitting upright, bring your legs into a diamond shape. Extend your arms out to the side. Sway gently over to one side and then to the other, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as you do so.

Relaxation Pose: Lie flat on your back, arms at sides, feet slightly apart. Alternatively you could lay your child on your tummy and take the opportunity to massage his/ her back whilst the music is playing. (You could put your legs up against the wall whilst you’re doing this).  Close your eyes and rest. Listen to a soothing piece of music for a couple of minutes.

* If you don’t have CD of these songs or haven’t got them downloaded to ITunes, you’ll find them on You Tube.

Five Little Men In A Flying Saucer

5 little men in a flying saucer
Looked around the world one day
They looked left and right
But they didnt like the sight
So one man flew a way

4 little men in a flying saucer……and so on till you have 0

Climb Aboard The Spaceship (Sung To Incy Wincy Spider)

Climb Aboard the spaceship,

We’re going to the moon,

Hurry and get ready,

We’re going to blast off soon,

Put on your helmet and buckle up real tight,

Here comes the countdown,

10, 9. 8. 7. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…….

Blast off!

Nine Planets (Sung to Ten Little Indians)

1 little, 2 little, 3 little planets,

4 little, 5 little, 6 little planets,

7 little, 8 little, 9 little planets,

Orbiting round the sun.

Mercury, Venus and the Earth,

Mars, Jupiter and Saturn,

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto,

Orbiting round the sun.

YogaBugs Responds To Telegraph Article – Childhood Being Eroded By Modern Life

Did you see the feature in Saturday’s Telegraph reporting on a letter from a powerful lobby of more than 200 experts? In it, they warn that childhood is being eroded by a relentless diet of advertising, addictive computer games, test-driven education and poor childcare. Coinciding with the publication of a book, Too Much, Too Soon?, featuring 23 essays on early learning and the erosion of childhood, the experts urge the Government to address a culture of “too much, too soon.”

One essay by Sally Goddard Blythe, Director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in Chester, concluded that up to half of children were not ready for school at the age of five because of their “sedentary lifestyles”. They found it difficult to grip pencils properly, sit still, stand up straight and even catch a ball after failing to develop key physical and communication skills at a young age.

The authors of the letter, a group of academics, teachers, authors and charity leaders, argue that children’s wellbeing and mental health is being undermined by the pressures of modern life. These comments come five years after many of the same experts sent a similar letter to the Telegraph, criticising politicians and the public for failing to allow children to develop properly at a young age. This led to a debate on the state of childhood in Britain and coincided with the publication of Labour’s Children’s Plan - a policy document covering all aspects of young people’s lives.

The group is concerned that the “erosion of childhood in Britain has continued apace since 2006.” Meanwhile a UN report, published last week, accused British parents of trapping children in a cycle of “compulsive consumerism” by showering them with toys and designer labels instead of spending quality time with them. The group also criticises the education system, saying that five year-olds should be given a play-based curriculum in the first full year of school instead of formal lessons. The comments will be seen as a criticism of Coalition plans to subject all children to a reading test at the end of their first year in school.

You’ll have seen from our earlier blog posts that we have explained the critical links between the development of motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination and the development of literacy skills. In our classes at nurseries and primary schools, we see for ourselves only too clearly how the life of the modern child has become stressful, competitive and challenging. That’s why we’re absolutely committed and passionate about changing children’s lives so that they have the time to indulge in their imaginations and explore their creativity. Space to be creative is so important in this modern world where children have such little time to play. 

One of the very best things we can do for our children’s early literacy development is to simply let them play. Not only is play an important part of childhood, but we are actually helping them to build skills that are key to learning to read and write. Hand-eye coordination is a necessary skill for written language and the best way to help children develop this is to let them play with toys and activities that involve looking at, using, and discriminating a number of elements.

Furthermore in order to reach age appropriate targets in the development of left and right brain activity, children need to practice mid-line activities such as crawling, marching and balancing. For some children, developing these skills is particularly challenging so making this fun is key. Activities that combine story-telling and magical adventures with physical activities such as yoga are a great way of developing imaginations whilst practising essential developmental motor skills.

We’ve written to The Telegraph adding our support to this letter. Meanwhile thank you to this group of experts for highlighting these issues so powerfully.

Yoga and the Development of Gross Motor Skills In Pre-School Children

Yoga for children is very different to adult yoga as it has to be a lot more high-energy to keep them interested. That’s why our YogaBugs classes involve stories, group work, songs and games whilst simultaneously learning yoga poses, breathing and relaxation techniques.

The main aims for pre-school children are to develop motor skills and confidence. In this blog post, we’re going to focus on how yoga helps children to develop gross motor skills. Motor skills have two separate parts: gross and fine. Fine motor skills include matching shapes and colours, zipping, cutting straight lines and dressing or bathing. Gross motor skills include walking, lifting, throwing, kicking, sitting upright, jumping and reaching. Gross motor skills are important for major body functions, while fine motor skills take time to develop and won’t occur overnight. Children improve motor skills by practicing over and over.

You can encourage your child to develop their gross motor skills by allowing him/ her to ride bikes, kick and throw large balls and to gallop like a horse. Each child grows and develops at different rates so it’s important to be patient with him/ her, praising accomplishments and efforts. Improve gross motor skills with exercises by playing ‘Simon Says.’ Imitation activities such as creeping like a snake, waddling like a duck and hopping like a rabbit are effective for exercising the gross motor skills.

A great yoga posture to practice with your child is tree pose. This helps to develop balance and flexibility as you have to make small adjustments in order to stay upright. Simply start by standing upright and shift your weight into one foot. Lift the other foot and hold it against your ankle (with your knee pointing out to the side). First bring your hands together at your heart. When you’re feeling steady, lift your arms steadily up to the sky to form branches. Once you’ve got your balance, try closing your eyes and see how long you can stay balanced for. Repeat on the second side.