As they grow older, children learn how to move their body in a multitude of ways. Walking, running, skipping and hopping are several gross motor skills that develop over time and practice. You will often see preschoolers engaging in galloping; mostly because it is a locomotor movement that involves multiple steps. The more your preschooler moves, the more joy he will get from exercise and physical activity. Practice galloping using fun activities will get your child used to the rhythm and repetitiveness of the gait, as well as build self-confidence.
Break it Down
Dissect the steps of a gallop by teaching your child the movement slowly. Standing next to each other, choose one foot and step forward. This leg will always be ahead of the other during your gallop. Bring your back leg up to meet the heel of your front leg. Kick your front leg out and start over again. As your child masters the steps of a gallop, start moving faster together. Now, ask him to try it alone. Clap your hands to keep the rhythm or sing the song "Off to the Races" as he gallops along.
Listen and Move
"Listen and Move," sung by children's artists Greg and Steve, mixes different locomotor movements, including a gallop. The commands are spoken on the track, along with music that resembles each movement. The second time around, the vocal commands disappear, and the mover must listen to the music to identify each skill. Use this song to test your child's galloping knowledge, as well as to master a walk, run, tip-toe and slide.
Need a simple activity? Just ask your child to gallop anywhere! Make it a challenge, saying "Can you show everyone how you can gallop to that tree and back?". You can gallop together up the driveway, in the yard, on a walk or in the park. Just make sure there is enough room, as well as a level surface, so no one trips and falls. This activity builds confidence in movement and allows your child to show off his new-found skills.
On your mark, get set, go! Gather your family together to have a horse race from one side of a grassy area to the other. You can also set up an obstacle course by placing objects around your yard. Ask your child to gallop to an object, move around it and gallop back as fast as possible. Other challenges include jumping over a rope, hopping in and out of a plastic hoop, or switching movements in the middle of the race.
- PE Central: Locomotor Movements Cues
- Joy of Movement in Early Childhood; Sandra R. Curtis
- Music and Movement in the Classroom: Teacher Resource Books and Planners; Creative Teacher Press
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images