Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Core Muscles and Puppet Play

I didn’t realise how children’s core muscles could affect so much of their learning. My sister is a deputy head for an infant school and we were chatting about the children this half term. She was explaining how some children can’t roll anymore (not tumble turn, I mean by making your body long and rolling sideways) as their core muscles are weak. Weak muscles, especially the core ones, affect how they write, how they make things and how they use their bodies in sport and play.

Could it be the increase of using technology, or the way parents protect their children from harm during outside play? Could it be a fear of risk for both children and adults? Do we develop core muscles through unrestricted play, or through organised sport for the under tens? I’m assuming it is doing both that keeps bodies strong. I know from experience that the recklessness of some child centered play is good for the body. We quickly change direction, reach for things away from us, climb things where our legs have to reach further up or down. Jump, stretch, lean out and balance in a haphazard way. I can imagine that would do great things for core muscles.

I am putting a book together for parents and carers to use when they want to use puppets. I have included details on how to bring puppets alive and what to do with them as a communication tool. I have a chapter on activities we can be involved in with puppets and I’m now adding a section on physical games to help our children’s bodies to be strong. I’ll also add some training games on how to hang up your coat or use a toilet as these are other self-reliant activities that are important to master. As always, I believe we can do so much through our puppets and play. Working a puppet properly demands strong arms, relaxed shoulders and a stomach that can help hold the puppet weight and make the manipulation look good. A good place to start is with fun activities where we play with these skills. I'm taking this advice too as our new monster puppets are quite big and heavy - thank goodness for yoga!