Locomotor skills allow children to move through different environments, moving their bodies from one place to another. The primary locomotor skills are walking, marching, running, jumping, crawling, hopping, climbing, galloping, sliding, skipping, and leaping.

In a nutshell, locomotor skills are the ways we move! Therefore, children must get plenty of practice with their locomotion skills because they’re the building blocks of coordination. That’s why activities like playtime (indoor or outdoor) are so essential.

Locomotor skills are also the foundation for most sporting or leisure activities. Therefore, getting the hang of these skills early on is essential for being active later in life, given that our affinity for sport affects our enjoyment.

Most children master locomotor skills without instruction from adults, but it’s essential to be aware of them and includes as many of them as possible in your PE lessons.

What are locomotor skills?


Crawling is a slow creeping mode of locomotion consisting of forward motion while the children’s weight is supported by their hands (or forearms) and knees. It’s the primary means of movement in infants and is usually the first locomotor skill children will learn.Top of Form


As we all know, walking is moving around regularly by lifting and settling feet. Both feet are never in the same position simultaneously, whether on the ground or off the ground. Look for smooth steps, with the arms gently swinging in opposition to your class or child’s feet. Many children get lots of walking practice through walking to school.


A march is when you walk at a faster pace than usual and with purpose. So, for example, when a child is marching, they will swing their arms by their sides in a controlled way, and they’ll bring their knees upwards in a more organized and uniform manner than running.


Running is moving at a quick pace by lifting and settling feet. Like walking, both feet are never on the ground simultaneously. However, both are off the ground together when mid-stride. Running is a locomotor skill that is part of most sports. As well as standard athletic races, children will practice their running in netball, basketball, rounders, and cricket.

Horizontal jumping

It is when we stand with our feet shoulder-width apart, bend both legs at the knee, and leap forward.

Vertical jumping

Slightly trickier than the horizontal jump, the vertical jump involves standing with feet shoulder-width apart and using both legs to spring up into the air. But, again, children should expect to land from more or less where they’ve taken off – from two feet to two feet.


Children must leap off the ground with their bodies in the air to hop. It can be done with one or both legs. Hops are often much smaller than jumps, and the landing should be reasonably quiet.


Like a horse, a gallop is when we move quickly by stepping with one foot and closing the distance with the other. Both feet will be on the ground momentarily before making the step.


To skip, children must keep their heads up and their eyes forward. They must step forward with one foot and then hop on that leg. What’s essential here is that children must propel themselves on as they jump. Once they’ve mastered this, they must repeat this movement with their other leg. Whenever one foot’s in the air, your class or child should hop forward onto their other foot. It could be said that the middle ‘step’ of the triple jump is very similar to a skip because of the speed at which the athlete is moving.


Sliding is a sideways movement where a lead foot takes a step to the side, followed by the other foot stepping next to it closely (without crossing the lead foot). Both feet are kept low to the ground, with the lead foot always on the side of the direction of travel. Sliding is one of the most common skills in games like tennis, badminton, basketball, and football. It is when players make side-to-side moves to dodge their opponents or to change movement direction. Good dynamic balance and body control are crucial when sliding. Sliding is also used in many dances!


The leap is a locomotor movement characterized by a take-off on one foot, a long flight phase, and a landing on the opposite foot. It is very similar to a gallop and a skip. Leaps are a modern movement in dance choreography.

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