How Animals Move



Conversation Starter: Ask a few children to walk a few steps on all the fours (on their hands as well as legs). Ask a few to move around only by jumping. Ask them if it was difficult. Can they move all day like that? (No). Because we, human beings, are shaped in such a way that we need to use only our two legs to move (walk or run).

Ask them what all human beings CANNOT do? (lead them to answers like: we cannot jump like monkeys from tree to tree, fly, swim underwater for long like fish, run fast like a cheetah, etc). 

Animal movements are based on the shapes and the sizes of their bodies. (legs, wings, fins, etc) or where they live, and sometimes what they eat.

Timeline: 40 minutes


  •       To make the children understand that each type of animal has a distinct movement
  •       To make them undertake some physical activities which are fun!   

Expected Outcome

The children will be able to 

  •       Associate different types of movements with different animals
  •       Enact different types of animal movements 

New Words To Be Learned















Class Organisation 

  •     Divide the class into 6 groups.
  •     Assign each child the role of an animal (rabbit, frog, duck, dog, bird, fish, etc)
  •     Teach them the distinct actions required for each animal (hop, jump, waddle, run, fly, swim, etc)
  •     Take the children out into the school playground or any empty classroom or open space

Caution Point

This is going to be a relatively vigorous activity for children. Exclude those who have injuries, or are suffering from cold, body ache, wheezing, etc.

You Need

Movement name cards or cards with animal pictures and a bag (for the extension ideas)


Talk to children about the different ways in which animals move:


  • Rabbits, kangaroos and frogs hop and jump because they have larger and stronger back legs. Their strong back legs give their body a push and they spring up or jump up with a bouncy movement which is called a hop. They land back on the ground on their smaller front legs.
  • Ducks waddle because they have large bodies (so that they can float well) and small feet. (Analogy Tip: Ask the children if they have seen very fat characters in cartoons or films walking (like Hardy in Laurel and Hardy). Do they walk straight? No. Since they are too heavy, they sway sideways when walking). Their feet are also shaped like paddles more for swimming and not so much for walking. So when they walk, they move from side to side. This is called waddling.
  • Birds use their wings in repeated quick forward and backward movements to fly in the air. When they need to slow down or float or glide in air, they reduce the back and forth movements. In fact when a bird needs to start flying, it needs to push itself off the ground using its legs to first hop or jump into the air, and then only can it start flying.
  • Fish swim in water using their fins which they move back and forth in short movements. This is very similar to the birds flying movements but only this is in water while birds fly in air. The other difference is that fins are much smaller than a fish while wings can be larger than the bird itself.

Sing the following poem. Then instruct the children that all of them must recite the first and the last lines.

Lines 2 to 7 must be recited by the group concerned.

While reciting the lines of the assigned animal roles, the group concerned must step forward and enact the appropriate movement.

            I can be any animal

            I can hop like a rabbit

            I can jump like a frog

            I can waddle like a duck

            I can run like a dog

            I can fly like a bird

            I can swim like a fish

            I can be any animal that I wish

  • Then disband the groups and call out random movements along with the names of the animals associated. The entire class should act in unison. Do this exercise for at least 5 minutes.
  • You can discuss with them how they feel after they have exercised so much. Ask them which one of the activities they liked the most and why. Did the exercise excite them? Did it give them more energy or did it tire them out?

If you have time, and if the interest level is pretty high, then move on to more activities on movements - (slither or slide like a snake, glide like an eagle, gallop like a horse, crawl like a caterpillar, leap like a monkey, swoop like a kingfisher, stand on one leg like a crane, etc). Take care to see that they don’t fall or hurt themselves while enacting.