As the winter months draw near (we live in Canada where it gets COLD), I thought I would share about our home Stumbly-tastics!
First of all, the name Stumbly-tastics is a reference to Bluey. Bluey is an Australian children’s cartoon about a family of blue heelers. Now, if you have spent much time observing child programing, you’ll notice the parenting styles are often absentee or very laissez-faire. One day we stumbled upon Bluey. And now it is basically the only show I really “approve” of the children watching. Anyway, the parents are very involved in their children’s life and play, and use some Montessori techniques such as the waiting hand. One episode has a reference to Stumbly-tastics. And that is why we call our home gymnastics play, Stumbly-tastics.
The Benefits of Stumbly-tastics
The first great thing about Stumbly-tastics is that it can be done from birth through adulthood. Although, I admit, I am not as flexible as my kids and do not demonstrate all the activities myself. The important thing is that all children can participate, from a newborn and up!
Getting kids moving is important in all stages of development. So the second benefit is that Stumbly-tastics gets children moving and supports their continued gross motor development. In Maria Montessori’s children’s houses, the kids would have a period for “gymnastics” which also meant graceful movement. If home gymnastics sounds intimidating to you, consider the effort it might take for your child to learn to control their movement by walking slowly on a straight line or in a circle. And then to do those same activities while carrying a glass of water. While these activities are less “stumbly,” they certainly count towards growth in graceful movement!
A third benefit to Stumbly-tastics is that it is active inside play. I know I won’t be sending my kids outside to play in 40 below weather. And there are several other conditions that can make getting outside difficult. (Having a small baby, being pregnant and having morning sickness, a pandemic that closes down local parks…). So on days that getting outside to play isn’t going to happen, being able to get those kids active indoors is super helpful!
On a day where we do Stumbly-tastics, I set up 4-5 stations around one floor of the house. I have used the basement with the lounge and kids bedroom. More often, the stations are upstairs in the kitchen and living room. The “hallway” spaces are also used.
We have invested in a couple pieces of equipment for gymnastics. Home equipment is not necessary, but can add to the fun. We have a small foam gymnastics mat, a cheese mat, and a floor balance beam. (All from Amazon). If I were to get one of these, I would start with the balance beam, as balance is such an integral skill for young children. My then 15 month old loved walking on it when we first got it, using the wall to help balance. As she grows in confidence she starts taking her hand away for a couple steps at a time. And stands still with her hand up in the “ta da” pose.
My mother in law has a mini-trampoline she uses for indoor exercise. She graciously allowed us to borrow it (at the moment indefinitely) for Stumbly-tastics. This piece of equipment is fun to have, but not actually super helpful. My three year old is not heavy enough to really get any bounce, so it is just a jumping surface. In fact, we do most of the jumping gymnastics stations just jumping on the ground. So if we didn’t have the mini-trampoline already, I certainly wouldn’t buy one.
What We Do In Stumbly-tastics
The Stumbly-tastics stations are printed on 8.5 by 11 sheets of paper, with a photo example of the activity and the name of the activity. I also have compiled a list of instructions from various websites teaching more complex skills like forward rolls (to be started at age 7 months) and cart wheels. There is also two pages I compiled on what gymnastics activities can be done with newborns. These are mainly holding them upside down, various stretches, and baby massage to encourage freedom of movement after time in the womb. Also helping the baby retain their strong grip by grasping your finger and pulling them slightly up off a soft surface. As they age, they can practice griping a toy instead
Here is a list of Stumbly-tastics activities and stations
- Frog jump
- Scissor jump
- Tuck jump
- Split jump
- Straddle jump (or going into this position on the floor before such a jump position may be achieved)
- Copying/Holding the 5 Ballet positions
- Strong grip practice/hanging
- Bear walk
- Crab walk
- Donkey kick
- Table position (holding still in crab walk form)
- Make a bridge with your body (and inverse bridge)
- Ta-da position
- Push ups
- Candle stick position
- Flamingo position
- Arabesque position
- Arch position
- Slide position
- Front scale and back scale (on balance beam for added difficulty)
- Log rolls
- Egg roll
- Teddy roll
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