It is no secret that for children to benefit or learn from an activity, they must perceive it as fun and enjoyable. In fact, are we, as adults, really any different?! So, when it comes to encouraging children to be active and to exercise daily, we must approach it in a fun and inspiring way. As the evenings close in around us, it can be increasingly difficult to get children outside and so burning off that excess energy takes a little more effort. Animal walks are something you can challenge your child to do in the smallest of spaces! (And I challenge you to do them too!)
Here are a few of the benefits that animal walks have to offer:
- Develop balancing and co-ordination skills
- Develop core strength
- Improve muscle strength
- Develop gross motor skills
- Encourage the use of imagination and creative play
- Help regulate sensory needs
Animal walks can be made even more enjoyable by adding in animal sounds, moving in different directions like real animals do and by racing each other up and down the hall! Here are a few simple animal walks to get you started at home:
- Bear Walk: start in a standing position, then bend over and put both their hands on the floor. Then, they walk forward with the same leg and arm; in other words, move the right arm and leg forward, and then then left leg and arm, and then repeat.
- Donkey Kicks: Starting in a standing position, have children lean over and put both hands and both feet on the floor. Make sure the area around them is clear. Then, have them jump with their legs and kick out behind them, leaving their hands down.
- Kangaroo Jumps: start in a standing position with both feet together. Then, have them squat down, and then jump as high as they can using only their feet – no hands.
- Snake Slither: ie on their bellies and put their hands at their sides. Wiggling their hips and shoulders side to side, they try to move forward across the floor, without using their hands.