Get a hop on your child’s development with some galloping activities. Galloping is a large motor skill that fits somewhere between a child’s first steps and skipping. Although the movement may appear to be easy, it does take some practice for your little one to master.
Not only can you practice your child’s galloping skills with an obstacle course, it’s also a great way to burn off some energy before naptime. Draw some lines with sidewalk chalk, set up some cones and throw down a few baseball bases to make an obstacle course. Have her weave her way through the cones, hop from one base to the next and gallop along the lines. If you don’t have time to make an extensive obstacle course, simply draw wavy, zig-zag or random lines with sidewalk chalk, and have her gallop along the lines. When she reaches the end, have her turn around and gallop back. One of the best things about these obstacle courses is that they can be different every single time you set them up, so she'll never get bored.
Create a twist on the game “What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?” by using galloping steps instead of regular steps. Stand with your back turned and your child across your lawn. Gather siblings or neighbor kids for more fun. The kids yell, “What’s the time Mr. Wolf?” and you turn around and call out a number. The number you call is the number of gallops they have to do towards you. If you yell, “Dinner time,” the kids turn around and gallop towards the start line. At the same time, you gallop towards them, acting like a hungry wolf; if you tag a child before he reaches the finish line, that child is the wolf. If you don’t want to play an eat 'em up game, challenge your little one to a galloping race. Consider a different type of race for a change of pace; both of you start galloping in one direction on the lawn, and you then yell out “Switch” and the two of you turn around and gallop the opposite direction. Then he gets to yell “Switch” next. Take turns with this for a while.
You may already feel like you live in a zoo, so you might as well play some games with your little animal. Obtain a set of store-bought animal cards -- or simply cut pictures of animals out of magazines and glue them on note cards, and ensure there are duplicate horse cards in the mix. Shuffle the cards, pull one out and hold it up. Have your child imitate the animal she sees. When the horse card comes up, have her gallop around the room like a horse. Instead of a card game, throw on some music and play a game of "freeze horse," which offers a spin on the classic freeze dance. Have your child gallop around the room while the music is playing and then freeze in place when you randomly shut the music off for a few seconds, returning to a gallop when the music resumes.
Dramatic Play Activities
What better way to practice galloping than to pretend to be a cowboy (or cowgirl) riding a horse? Let him dress up in his best cowpoke outfit. Grab a child-sized broom and let him gallop around on his horsie. If you want to kick things up a notch, throw on some upbeat music and see if he can rustle up some stray cows or sheep before dinner is ready. In other words, give him a looped rope and have him try to lasso some chairs or stuffed animals.