Stages of Development

Galloping is used in many types of dance and helps develop leg strength, coordination and dynamic balance and endurance. Galloping normally develops just before skipping.  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 cues

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
Teaching strategies

  • Galloping is a rhythmical action, so provide a rhythm by clapping or saying 'step-together-step'
  • Don't worry about speed of movement
  • Let children explore the skill and come up with their own galloping action
  • Play fun activities that involve the skill of galloping such as Animal Walks and Musical Balances
  • Initially children may display a gallop that looks like a mix between a gallop and a run. It is choppy and lop-sided and they may move their body upwards during the gallop. They have a favourite leg and can only lead with this one. Children as young as two can display the skill of galloping.

  • Gallop at different speeds and in different directions
  • Try galloping with the non-preferred leg leading
  • Play activities such as Builders and Bulldozers and Connect It and use galloping as the locomotor skill

  • Introduce side galloping, straight ahead and in different directions using different feet as the lead foot
  • Introduce dances which involve galloping
  • Play tag games such as Toilet Tag and Rock, Bridge, Tree tag, with children only allowed to gallop instead of run 
Skill criteria
  • Rhythmical and relaxed
  • Feet face the front (direction you are moving)
  • Knees slightly bent, weight on front of foot
  • Can lead with either leg
  • Trunk, head and eyes face the front
  • Arms move to assist action
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

children running backwards
Running, Jumping, Hopping, Skipping, Galloping
Children bear walking
Balancing, Running, Jumping, Galloping
animal walks
Balancing, Running, Dodging, Hopping, Skipping, Galloping