Stages of Development
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Galloping helps develop leg strength, coordination and dynamic balance and endurance.  Galloping starts before the skill of skipping and initially may look choppy like uneven running. Children as young as two years can demonstrate a beginning level of galloping, however most children learn how to gallop between the ages of two and three and will learn to skip between the ages of five and six.

Teaching tips

Demonstrate or show children pictures of people galloping. Let children have a go and come up with their own version of galloping initially.  Use KIDDO’s teaching vocabulary:

  • Step-together-step
  • Toe to heel
  • Same foot is always at the front
Developing Galloping through play

Toddlers may attempt to gallop. Initial gallopers show a gallop that is choppy and lopsided. 

  • Use animal-based games such as Animal Walks or videos to assist with their visualisation of the skill.
  • Join in with your child as they try to understand the movement
  • Encourage them to gallop in a manner that feels comfortable to them, getting too technical is not necessary at this stage

As they begin to develop this skill, children will have a favourite leg and can only lead with this one. Over time the gallop becomes smoother and flatter.

Try playing some of KIDDO’s fun and age-appropriate activities to encourage children to develop and explore the skill of galloping in a low pressure environment:

  1. Animal walks – call out different animals and children move around the area like that animal, make horse noises to encourage play!
  2. Musical balances – gallop to the music and when the music stops make an animal balance pose
  3. Follow the leader – follow the leader as you gallop, jump and balance around your environment

To continue developing the gallop in a natural manner, encourage your child to use galloping as the locomotor skill in games you might typically play, such as basic tag games. The fully developed gallop has the following characteristics:

  • Lead leg stays in front
  • Hips face the front
  • Trail leg lands beside or slightly behind lead leg
  • When fully developed it is a smooth, fluid and rhythmical action

To challenge your child, gallop at different speeds and in different directions, or try galloping with the non-preferred leg leading. You can also introduce side stepping/galloping.

Common errors
  • Crossing the back foot in front of the lead foot
  • Not keeping weight on front of foot
  • Looking down at the ground
  • Movement choppy not rhythmical
  • Too much vertical movement

More galloping activities

Wicked Witch (Run, Jump, Hop, Skip)
Balancing, Jumping, Dodging, Galloping, Hopping, Running, Skipping
imaginative game
Balancing, Jumping, Galloping, Hopping, Skipping
Balancing, Jumping, Galloping, Hopping, Running, Skipping, Striking