Traveling skills, sometimes called locomotor skills, are movements of crawling, walking, marching, running, skipping, and galloping that help children move from one place to another.
For many children traveling skills will develop naturally. Most children will still seek parent encouragement to practice and improve their traveling skills (see the PECentral.com site for other resources). And, you can best help by modeling traveling skills for your child.
Go outside and play games like follow the leader.
Ask your preschool child to follow you running, galloping and marching. Crawl over, under and around obstacles. Sometimes move fast and sometimes go slow. Travel in large circles, straight lines, and zig zag pathways.
Another way to help your child learn about traveling is to provide her with a “cue” word or phrase. A cue word is like a movement secret that helps your child learn a skill better (see other tips at PECentral.com).
Ask your child to swing her arms when she walks.
When marching, raise the knees high. When running, bend the elbows, swing the arms and move forward as fast as possible. As you gallop lead with one foot forward. And, the most difficult traveling skill for most young children, skipping, can be made easy for your child by modeling that you simply hop and land on one foot and then hop and land on the other. Skipping is by far the most difficult travel pattern for children to master. It is not unusual to see children galloping before age three but your child may be six, seven, or even eight years old before having a mature skipping pattern.
Practice traveling skills often.
Every time you and your child are outside is an opportunity to practice skills. No special materials or equipment needed! Just grab onto your child’s hand and say, “Let’s have some fun, let’s travel.”
You may also want to have your child watch The Gumbo Gang’s “Follow the Leader” episode for more inspirations!