Skipping is a skill that can be very common amongst kids. But, it can be a skill that is hard to teach. The child needs to have coordination and strength and balance to name a few things. A lot of times when we ask a child to skip they will go straight into galloping (we talk about galloping in this post)! So, to get them to learn skipping, we often work to break it down because this can help with learning a complex skill. We break it down and then put it back together and slowly decrease the cues as well as increase the speed. We proceed to the next step when they begin to master the step we are currently on. If they end on step 3 in a session, we may need to start at step 1 the next session but we should be able to move quicker through steps 1 and 2 to get back to step 3.
Here is how we break it down:
- We lay out a row of spots on the ground. We have the child stand on a spot and we provide the following cueing, visual and verbal cues, one or two hand assist if needed. The verbal cues we use are “step-lift-hop” or “step-hop” on the spots while simultaneously demonstrating for them (if you are giving them physical assist at the hands you may need to have someone else do the activity simultaneously with them).
- Next we decrease to visual and verbal cues, no assist, and no simultaneous demonstration, but we keep the spots on the ground.
- Then we go to visual cues only using the spots on the ground.
- Next we take away the spots and go back to verbal cues only (step-lift-hop or step-hop).
- Finally we use no cues in open space. Once they are doing this is when you can begin to increase the speed even more. If they have difficulty with increased speed you may need to bring it back some until they are showing mastery.
Once they have achieved the above skills, you can begin to work on trying to get more incorporation of arms which can be a little more advanced/harder. Here are some ways to break this part down:
- Have the child standing opposite arm and leg lifts. This looks like bringing the left foot/knee up in the air and right arm forward and then changing to right foot/knee up in the air and left arm forward. You are providing a simultaneous demonstration. You may want to provide verbal cues at the same time. Pick the cues that work best for you and this child.
- Next have them do the same thing without providing a simultaneous demonstration. You may need to provide verbal cues during this stage as well.
- After this you are going to progress to opposite arm and leg lifts like above but add in a hop. You will be providing simultaneous demonstration and may need verbal cues.
- Next is alternating the opposite arm and leg lifts with a hop like above but without demonstration. You are also working on having them go faster.
- Then, once they have the pattern down while doing it in place you will begin to alternate the in place practice with moving practice.
- Finally, you have them practice it moving through an open space only.
We would love to hear ways that you have been able to work on and teach skipping to kids!