Movement of the Month: When Do Kids Learn How To Gallop?
Most children begin to explore galloping between the ages of 2-3. However, like all fundamental movement skills, learning to gallop is age related, not age dependent. As children develop the required leg strength, motor planning, and coordination, they progress through a series of milestones before they are ready to bolt.
Did you know?
-Galloping is typically the first motion in which one leg does something different than the other leg.
-Galloping serves as the foundation for skipping and a sideways shuffle, also known as a slide.
-This step and leap motion is an important fundamental skill for activities such as basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, volleyball, dance, gymnastics, football, lacrosse, and more!
What are some signs or milestones that my child is ready to gallop?
Remember, every child develops at their own unique pace!
-Jumping with a galloping motion (one foot and then the other)
-Running with a few galloping motions in between strides
-Galloping with a preferred leg in front with short steps, holding arms stiffly with arrhythmic movements
-Galloping with a preferred leg in front with long steps, swinging arms freely with smooth and rhythmic movements
What are some activities to help my child learn how to gallop?
Children love to mimic other children and adults. So simply by saying the word, "gallop" while you are demonstrating the movement, children begin to learn what the word and skill mean! From horse gallops to Red Light Green Light, here are 3 fun ways for your little ones to explore this new skill:
1. Run Away Pony: Imaginative play is a great way to engage a child's mind while exploring movement. Create a pretend stable somewhere in your home (under a table or a specific room) and then encourage your child to gallop like a horse, speeding up and slowing down on various commands. When it's time, the horse can return to the stable to rest.
2. Red Light Green Light: Instead of running or walking, have your child gallop when you give the proper cues. Take turns so your child has the chance to be the leader! Toddlers love making up their own silly rules for different colors. For example, they might fall down if you say "blue light" or spin in a circle if you say "purple light".
3. Obstacle course! Set up various markers for your children to gallop around. Galloping in all different directions is a great way for children to practice and learn. Adding pillows to jump into at the end is always a fun way to finish an obstacle course.
Note: This information is meant for educational purposes only. Always reach out to your pediatrician, physical or occupational therapist with specific questions and concerns about your child’s development.