12 Animals Walks to Help Calm Kids and Get Them Moving
BY DYAN ROBSON, AND NEXT COMES L
Nov 7, 2017
Update: If you want to learn to animal walk, CBC Kids and Studio K are going live on Facebook at 3 p.m. ET during the week to help parents and kids cope with physical distancing. And Janaye loves showing her best moves, including animal walks! Join the fun here.
Animal walks are a lot of fun for kids. Not only do the kids get to pretend to be some of their favourite animals, but they burn off lots of energy while doing it! These animal walks are a great activity to do indoors when the weather is cold or rainy, but they are also a lot of fun to do outside in the backyard when it's nice out.
But why do animal walks in the first place?
Well, these silly walks make exercise fun for kids, encouraging them to get creative and engage in some imaginative play, all while burning off excess energy.
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They also have a great ability to calm anxious kids by providing proprioceptive and vestibular sensory input through heavy work. Basically, these animal walks help kids receive calming deep pressure to their joints and limbs, help strengthen their sense of balance, and develop body awareness.
Animal walks also help develop a child's core strength and muscles.
But my favourite part about doing animal walks with my kids is the fact that these activities require no additional materials. You simply just need some open space and your body.
You probably remember doing lots of these animal walks yourself when you were a child, but in case you need some further inspiration, here are 12 animal walks for kids that will have your kids moving and giggling in no time!
The frog hop is a classic animal walk that most kids know how to replicate. Simply squat like a frog and hop! Or turn it into a game of leapfrog if you have more than one child.
I find the seal slide animal walk challenging as an adult, but it's a great challenge for the kids anyway. Simply lay on your tummy, push your hands up until your arms are straight, and move across the floor while dragging your legs.
Who doesn't love penguins? They're so adorable when they walk! Your kids will love pretending to be a penguin too. Simply keep your arms tight against the side of your body then gently waddle side to side as you walk. As a bonus challenge, try and encourage your kids to walk a "penguin egg" on their feet. Place a small ball or stuffed animal on top of their feet and see if your kids can waddle without dropping their egg.
Lay on your tummy and wiggle along the floor like a slithering snake. It requires a lot of energy and strength to slither across the floor.
Another classic animal walk. Simply walk on all fours like a bear, keeping your arms and legs fairly straight.
The crab walk is another childhood classic that involves leaning backwards on all fours and then walking around backwards.
Your kids will love pretending to be a duck with this simple duck waddle! Squat, tuck your hands into your armpits to make "duck wings," and flap your arms as you walk.
Donkey kicks are ideal for kids who are extra energetic. Start by getting on all fours. Then simply kick your legs out and up. For a fun challenge, stack some pillows or cardboard boxes and use your donkey kicks to knock them over.
Move inch by inch with this silly animal walk. Keep your legs straight, bend down, and place your hands on the ground right in front of your feet. Next, walk your hands out in front of you until you get into a pushup-like position. Then walk your feet up to meet your hands all while keeping your arms and legs straight.
This walk is all about swinging your long elephant trunk. Put your arms together in front of your body and swing your homemade trunk from side to side as you walk. Don't forget to stomp your feet like big elephants as you walk too!
Jumping is a great way to burn off lots of energy! To do the kangaroo jump, keep your legs together, bend the knees a bit, and jump around as high as you can. You could also encourage your kids to hold a stuffed animal in front of them as if they have a kangaroo pouch of their own.
One-Legged Flamingo Hops
This animal walk is great for working on balance because it's all about one-legged hops! To do flamingo hops, stand on one leg, hop, and then land one-legged on the opposite leg.
Finally, don't forget to encourage your kids to invent their own animal walks too! Maybe they'll want to be dinosaurs or horses or sea creatures. The possibilities are endless!