HomeHealth & BehaviorHealth & Nutrition

Get Moving

How You Can Help at Home: Skipping is more than child's play. It's crucial for development. Here's how parents can help.

By Amy Kaiser, Consulting Educator

Locomotor skills - the basic ways to move - are the building blocks of coordination. Help your child practice these important locomotor skills: walking, galloping, jumping, hopping, side-sliding, leaping and skipping. He will progress in his coordination ability by starting with walking (the easiest) and advancing to skipping (the most difficult). Most are intense exercises, so allow rest time between skills. Children should build on these skills with practice and duration.

Learning Tips

A few tips to help children learn each locomotor skill:

  • Walking: Use smooth, straight steps with arms swinging gently in opposition of feet.
  • Galloping:One foot is the leader and the other foot follows behind.
  • Jumping: With feet close together, push off with both feet, land on toes. This is a good time to try jumping rope.
  • Hopping: With one foot on the ground, push with toes. Landing should be fairly quiet.
  • Side-sliding: Move sideways with one foot leading (a sideways gallop).
  • Leaping: Go over an object leading with one foot and land on two feet.
  • Skipping: March with knees high; each time the knee is in the air, hop on the other foot - step/hop, step/hop, step/hop.

Take time to practice locomotor skills often during the week. The energy expended will increase your child's endurance and help develop coordination.

Amy Kaiser is a physical education teacher specialist for the Duluth Public Schools in Minnesota. A stay-at-home mom for several years, she re-entered the education field and has been working as an elementary physical education specialist for the past 12 years. Ms. Kaiser serves on district and state curriculum committees and was recently honored as the 2005 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year in Minnesota.