|Babies||Walkers to 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
Children love to move in multiple ways, walking, running, skipping, hopping and galloping. It is good for the children’s spatial awareness and general coordination to learn to move in their space in different directions and to learn coordinate their feet and bodies in different ways other than just forward locomotion.
Galloping is an exaggerated slide step composed of a step and a leap. The front leg is lifted and bent, then thrust forward to support the weight of the child. The rear foot quickly closes to replace the supporting leg as the front leg springs forward again. Children begin moving forward by stepping on the front foot and bringing the rear foot forward.” Galloping directly precedes skipping, if you were to plot preschool gross motor development on a timeline. Often, children will learn to gallop and it will evolve over time into a rudimentary skipping motion. Most children learn how to gallop between the ages of two and three, and will learn to skip between the ages of five and six.
- Music for galloping (think cotton eyed Joe, so any line dancing or English square dancing or even Ceilidh music is good)
One to two weeks
How it works
The object is to get the children to perfect forwards galloping using a variety of activities to engage them.
What to do in the class
Explain to the class that now they have learnt to sidestep that they will now learn how to gallop forwards. Explain to the children that they are going to move like galloping horses today.
Break the movement down for the children, demonstrate how one foot is always kept in front and moves forward (the same foot every time) and the back foot always tries to catch it up, but then the front foot tries to get away.
Put some on music on a practice forwards galloping from one end of the space to the other. To add interest you could turn into a game of gallop ‘freeze’ stopping in the music so they all strop and restarting it again. You can also use props to add interest like skipping ropes or ribbons to act as horse’s reigns. You can then have horse races from one end of the space to the other.
Adaptations for babies
This activity is designed for walking children only.
What to do in a nursery setting
Demonstrate and practice the step with the children. Practice by galloping in a circle so that everyone is moving in the same direction. You could also set up some corner work and have some staff in one corner calling the children to gallop to them one at a time so that you can see who is getting the step.