In our skill of the week this week, were talking toe points and ankle isolations! We’re always sharing our great core control, upper body strengthening and locomotion activities with you, but over the last couple of weeks (during Fairies & Pixies theme) our Jnr Gym Kids have been finding their feet!
Our littlest gymnasts have focused (yes you heard it!) on the tiniest skill, moving just one part of their body at a time. We call this isolation and we’ve been playing purposefully with it in lots of fun ways!
Our feet are so important for our postural control. Hopping, skipping, leaping and turning, climbing, kicking and balancing all need strong feet muscles to be able to control the movement. But feet are one of the last areas of development.
Children develop control from head to toe in a ‘cephalocaudal pattern’. This means the greatest development takes place at the top of the body, i.e. the head. Physical development moves gradually downwards – neck, shoulders, trunk etc – all the way done to the toes. Children’s feet are full of soft cartilage and bones don’t finish forming into late teens.
Control of the fine muscles in the feet takes some great bare feet sensory feedback practice. Having fun pushing, climbing, squeezing and pointing builds these muscles and gets the message from the brain and back.
At Jnr Gym Kids we’ve been tapping our toes with fairy wands and catching floaty scarves on our feet to give some tactile feedback way down near our toes. But my favourite has been the ‘fairy plop’ . Resting a fairy bean bag on our flexed foot while balancing on the other we steady; wait (aka focus); then tip the foot down to a point, plopping the bean bag into our catcher. This is a great activity incorporating balance and tactile feedback as well as isolating the ankle joint movement.
Our Jnr Gym Kids are certainly mastering movement and becoming body aware (all wrapped up in fun, purposely playful ways!)
See you in the gym,