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61 months Milestone

The delight of mastering the hop, slide, skip and gallop

5 mins to read Feb 8, 2022

When your five-year-old learns to hop, slide, skip and gallop rhythmically and smoothly, they not only create repeating patterns with their bodies, they also feel delighted at their achievement. The repetitive patterns wire their brain to learn to do the same with their hands, in preparation for learning to write. Mastery of large body movements always precedes mastery of small hand movements.

Hopping: Your child can practice hopping forward rhythmically on one leg. Encourage them to hop on each leg for 3 metres.

Sideways sliding: Step sideways with one foot leading. The second foot slides to meet the first. Say, “Step – slide – step – slide,” to emphasise the repetitive pattern. Repeat several times on each leg. 

Skipping: Step forward, then hop on that foot with the knee lifted. After landing, step forward with the other leg and hop on that leg. Repeat this motion alternating the legs and hopping on the leading foot each time. Say: “Step – hop – step – hop”.

Galloping: This involves repeatedly stepping forward with the dominant foot and bringing the toes of the other foot to the heel of the leading foot at every step. 

Tip: your child hop, skip, slide and gallop

You can help your child to hop, side-slide, skip or gallop smoothly and confidently by first introducing easier movement patterns. To do this, draw a series of circles (35 cm in diameter) on the floor or outside in the sand. Use the circles as follows:

1. Step into each circle with one foot leading and let the other one follow to create a “step-together-step-together” pattern.

2. Hop into a circle with both feet, then hop into the next circle with both feet. Repeat to create a “hop-hop … hop-hop” pattern.

3. Hop into a circle, jump-turn 180 ° on two feet. Hop into the next circle, jump-turn 180 ° on two feet. Repeat several times.

You can use a hoola hoop as your circles. Once your child has stepped into the hoop, they can lift it over their head, place it down and step into it again. Repeat this several times.