Stages of Development
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Running is one of the first Fundamental Movement Skills developed and mastered by children. It is also one of the most important skills as it used in so many different types of activities and sports throughout childhood and adulthood. Children are ready to be introduced to the skill of running in Kindergarten/Pre-school and mastering the skill by the end of Year 3. It is essential that children are taught the correct technique for running and provided with plenty of opportunities to practice. This is a skill that will be used across a child's lifetime.

Teaching tips

Use KIDDO’s teaching vocabulary to help children explore the skill of running. Focus on pumping arms and powerful legs. Start by sitting on a wall and just practicing pumping arms, then try running on the spot with pumping arms and high knees. Provide lots of opportunities and open space to run around in.

  • Hip to lip – arms are bent and travel from a child’s hip to their lip
  • Hands closed lightly – like holding a small bird
  • Eyes up and looking forward
  • High knees
  • Land on the front (ball) of the foot
  • Run along an imaginary line
Developing Running through play

Toddlers will attempt to run to keep up with those around them. They will start running with short wide strides and arms often held up to assist with balance. Foster stress-free running opportunities by providing active play, such as;

  • Try rolling hoops along the ground and running after them to catch them before they fall over
  • Run as fast as a cheetah or a jaguar, then explore other animal movements in Animal Walks
  • Blow bubbles to run after
  • Try running on different surfaces and up and down hills in Hula Hoop Car Trip as you explore different areas in your environment 

Begin to introduce children to the technique required for fast running by using KIDDO's teaching cues. Try playing some of KIDDO’s fun and age-appropriate activities to encourage children to develop and explore the skill of running.

  1. Blast off – a great game to break down the skill of running before letting children have fun with it. Children run on the spot, gradually getting faster, until blast off when they take off!
  2. Here, there, everywhere – run here (to me), over there (to the tree), now run everywhere
  3. What’s the time Mr Wolf – run back to the start line before the wolf catches you!

Incorporate some intentional running activities, to allow children a chance to explore how they can move more efficiently;

  • Set-up a running track with a finish line, teach children ‘ready, set, go’
  • Count how long it takes to run to the playground and back
  • Set up obstacles to run around, in and out of and through

By this time most children will have almost fully developed this skill. Challenge your child's technique further by;

  • Having children run along an invisible line or an existing line marking to focus on narrowing their stance
  • Challenging children to run greater distances at a park (75m and 100m) and change speed and direction - use games like Netflix to practice this
  • Practice starting and stopping
  • Try running games that employ some strategy - such as Connect 4
Common errors
  • Landing flat footed or on heels
  • Limited knee lift
  • Looking down at the ground
  • Arms going across the body
  • Landing on a wide lateral path
  • Excessive body lean

More running activities

Balancing, Jumping, Dodging, Galloping, Hopping, Running, Skipping
Blast Off
boy running