The way we walk in the world says a lot about who we are. Whether your walk is springy, shuffling, or swaggering, it is a statement. Some walk gently on tiptoe, others pound the pavement with splayed feet… but when working with children, teaching them to walk correctly and with confidence will help them move forward.
To work with walking in a class setting, begin by having everyone walk normally, in any direction they choose. Have students begin to notice their own walking styles. Do they move slowly or quickly? Heel first or toe first? What happens with their arms as they walk?
Next, try playing with some exaggerated walks. Walk slowly and carefully, placing the heel first, then rolling through the foot to complete each step. Kids can walk like different animals, such as ducks, horses, or frogs. Try taking huge steps with the arms swinging, and then contrast that and take tiny tiptoe steps. Walk very quickly, then very slowly.
Finally, encourage students to come up with their own variations, each person taking a turn at leading. Walk like an Egyptian, walk backwards, or try a kicking walk. Who knows what other funny interpretations might arise.
Walking is one of the first skills we develop, and one of the best forms of exercise. It’s also a whole lot of fun to explore the many different ways it can be done.