What are locomotor skills?
Locomotor skills are fundamental movement skills that enable a child to move from one place to another. Through play, fun and coaching, a child learns gross motor skills such as walking, running, jumping, hopping, leaping, side-sliding, galloping and skipping.
Why are locomotor skills important for preschool children?
• Locomotor skills form the building blocks of mobility and co-ordination. Start gradually with walking (the easiest) and steadily advance to skipping (the most difficult).
• Preschool children with good locomotor skills will develop higher levels of physical activity than those with poorly formed locomotor skills.
• Locomotor skills lay the foundation for learning more complex and specialised movement skills during adolescence and adulthood. These include learning complex sports and physical recreational activities.
Development of locomotor skills by age
Preschool children usually develop locomotor skills in a predictable sequential pattern. Compare your child’s locomotor skills’ development against this checklist (Note: this is a suggested checklist culled from research. Children develop at different speeds, some needing more time than others):
By Age One
Is your child able to crawl, push himself or herself to sit, stand for a short while, and walk (though unsteadily) with some support?
By Age Two
Is your child able to walk independently, run, hop and jump?
By Age Three
Is your preschooler able to perform these locomotor skills?
• Walk up and down the flight of stairs using railings
• Climb ladders
• Run easily, even on toes
• Jump off steps and sofas
By Age Four
Is your preschooler able to do all the above and perform these additional locomotor skills?
• Gallop on one preferred leg
• Hop forward
• Throw ball overhead and catch a ball
• Kick a ball
• Balance on one foot for up to five seconds
By Age Five
Is your child able to perform to do all of the above and these additional locomotor skills?
• Run through an obstacle course avoiding objects
• Skip forward
• Jump a distance of over two feet
• Balance steadily on one foot for at least 10 seconds
• Ride a bicycle
• Climb stairs independently
• Gallop on either leg
• Side sliding
If you would like your child to learn such skills in a safe, non-competitive environment, why not enrol your child in a structured physical movement programme that teaches these fundamental skills in a sequential manner and in a supportive environment?
For more information, you can also email Ready Steady Go Kids to ask about a trial lesson for your child.