Locomotor skills, and self and general space awareness are fundamental skills every child needs to progress in physical education, and to ultimately lead a healthy lifestyle. In my experience, many PE programs, free, paid, or otherwise, spend an extensive amount of time working on these skills. Oftentimes, it is a matter of literally practicing the skills one at a time, which may be needed at the start, but can become tedious and boring after a while. How long can a child hop on one foot without wanting to just walk? In that vein, I wanted to provide some suggestions on how I teach locomotor skills in the hopes it will give others some insights into how to make it fun, engaging, and different every year.
Start With Visuals
Yes, everyone learns differently. What I find with locomotor skills is that the students need to see what an action looks like to really understand it. You can stand up there and tell a student how to skip or leap, but they need to see it to really get it. Most of the time seeing a peer performing the skill is enough. You will still have to teach some students separately to help them along. That leads me to the second thing I do.
Have Reference Posters
Young children are literal when it comes to how they think. They will not be able to take an abstract description of something and understand it. For example, the notion of galloping like a horse may not resonate with all students, especially if they have never seen a horse. This is where having a reference visual is extremely helpful. I use locomotor cards I designed that are colorful, have characters of different ethnicities, which is important for many reasons, and provide students with easy to see and read information on each locomotor skill. I may post these around the gym, put them in a PowerPoint presentation and project the slide on the wall, or have it on a clipboard to give to them.
Teach Through Game Play
There are so many fun games out there that can be used to teach locomotor skills. The problem is that some teachers may feel as though they need to teach each skill on its own and bang the students over the head with it. I believe in mixing the skills together in a fun game. It could be as simple as Simon Says or Builders and Bulldozers. In Simon Says, you can integrate the skills while they do other fun things. Builders and Bulldozers is fun too. You can have them do different locomotor skills for each round of the game. You can download a list of locomotor games here.
Teaching locomotor skills does not have to be tedious for anyone. It can be done in so many fun and engaging ways. When you use visuals, keep reference material available, and use creative game play, your students will learn the skills and you’ll have fun too.
Locomotor Assessment Tools
Download this Locomotor Skills Assessment sheet to help with your locomotor lesson plan. You can use this however is best for your program. For example, cut out each image and give students verbal instructions on what color to make each cartoon. Or, place the directions on the projector with images.
Print these Locomotor checklists so students can check of which locomotor movement they have completed.
Locomotor Activities for Kids
- Locomotor City Activity for Physical Education
- The Architect – Grades K-5 Warm Up PE Activity
- Hula Hoop Car Road Trip – Movement Activity for Grades K-1st
- Race to the Galaxy – A Cooperative Game for PE & Active Play
- Bucket Stilts Relay & Thornbush Madness – PE Activities for K-2
- Obstacle Course for PE Class – Grades K-6
- Physical Education Lessons Using Pool Noodles
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About the Author:
Charles Silberman is a physical education and health teacher with 14 years of teaching experience. He has become a leader and advocate for incoming physical educators by running workshops on teaching in limited space at staff in-services and conferences, assisting with new teacher orientations, and other initiatives. He has experience writing curriculum from scratch and writing published information specific to physical education in state and nationally recognized publications and websites. Charles has also created a niche as a physical education specialist who fuses technology and primary instructional subjects into physical education lessons.
View all of his Professional Development courses at the S&S Worldwide online school.