Does your child run everywhere?? Or skip down the sidewalk as you walk behind? Not only is this great physical activity; it is a crucial part of their development.
Locomotor skills like walking, galloping, jumping, hopping, running and skipping are one of the fundamental movement patterns. These skills are important because they are the “building blocks” for more complex and specialized skills required by children throughout their lives.
These skills will help them to confidently and ably PLAY different games, sports and recreational activities in school, in the community and with friends.
How does a child learn to move?
Development of locomotor skills begins the moment a child is born and progress through adolescence. Often a child begins to practice walking around 12 months; they start running, hopping and jumping at 24 months; and galloping, sliding and skipping at 36 months.
While these do come naturally, teaching and practicing the locomotion skills can significantly improve a child’s physical literacy.
In fact, Istvan Balyi, M.A. of the Pacific Canadian Sports Centre and contributor to Gymnastics BC Kids CanMove program suggests that the development of locomotor skills in children is essential for lifelong fitness and health.
With today’s children having increasing levels of inactivity, it is even more important that children to participate in structured programs, such as gymnastics classes, which develop locomotor skills.
Gymnastic coaches know how to teach locomotion!
The Gymnastics Foundations Active Start program trains coaches to progressively teach the various locomotor skills safely while having FUN! This progression of skills helps lead children from one to the next with better understanding of each.
Games like “Animal Walks” where children move like rabbits, a kangaroo, frogs, bears and crabs (to name a few) are perfect to develop coordination, strength, flexibility and teach weight transfer.
Other skills that are taught during PLAY Gymnastics classes are running, jumping, skipping – forwards, backwards and sideways.
Check out your local PLAY Gymnastics club for more on how your child can learn while PLAYing and having fun.
And the next time your child runs down the sidewalk or asks you to hurry up – remember they are developing skills that will last a lifetime.
Escambia County School District: The ABCs of Locomotor Movement, Pamela Powers
Goddard School for Early Childhood Development: The Importance of Locomotor Skills
Great Schools: Don’t just exercise; Hop! Gallop! Side-slide!
Kids at Play: Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS)
Livestrong: How to teach locomotor skills to children, Carson Boddicker
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