Marching is a natural movement for children and it seems anytime music is playing children want to jump up and march. Marching is a locomotor or traveling skill which helps children move from one place to another.
Marching is an exaggerated walking step. The knees are raised as high as possible on each step, and the arms, with elbows bent, swing in opposition as in walking.
The cues for development of skill in marching:
- Raise knees high
- Bend elbows
- Swing arms in opposition
A cue word or phrase is like a movement secret that helps your child learn or perform a skill better. Cues help children focus on one specific part of a complex skill. There are two rules parents should understand when using cues to help their child develop skill. The first step in skill development is to allow your child to simply explore the skill. Ask your child to march to the music as you march along with her. At first, don’t worry about form or accuracy just experiment with marching. The second guideline, when your child is ready, only present one learning cue at a time. Too much information when learning a new skill may be confusing. Practice emphasizing one cue for several weeks and when your child has learned that cue then move on to another. “Show me that you can raise your knees high when marching.”
No equipment needed for this activity, only a lot of space and maybe some music to help stimulate music. Music with a consistent rhythmic beat is great for marching and having a drum or just two sticks to strike together would be great for making music.
In this activity we want to get your child up and moving. You can do this with your child or invite other children into the back yard to march with you.
What Should Parents do?
- Provide a large open, obstacle free space.
- Explain to your child that he is in a band and that the two of you are going to practice marching. Use two sticks or a drum to strike together.
- Move to the beat of the drum emphasizing raising the knees high in the air each time your child takes a step.
- March at different speeds by beating the drum slowly or quickly.
- As your child understands the difference between slow and fast marching be sure to add the cue related to arm swing. “Bend your elbows and swing your arms high in the air.”
- As skill improves add obstacles to march around and talk about marching in straight, curved, or zig-zag pathways.
Have fun marching with your child!