Loco-Motion!

All, Parks at Home, Games

Everybody’s doing a brand-new dance, now
(Come on baby, do the loco-motion)
I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance now

– “The Loco-Motion,” Little Eva (1962)

Animals, just like us humans, use various modes of locomotion to get around. Locomotion is needed to find food, shelter, a mate and to escape predators. Animal movement can be either self-propelled (walking) or passive (ballooning) and can take place in one of five areas: in the air, in water, on the ground, below ground or in the tree tops. 

Bald eagle flying
A bald eagle soars over Winton Woods.

In the air, an animal can fly, glide, soar or balloon. Ballooning is used by spiderlings as a way to get to a new location. They release a strand of silk into the air and get carried by the wind.

In the water, an animal can swim, paddle, move along the surface, sail and even move along the bottom floor. Some jellyfish cannot control their movements, so they rely on water currents to “sail” them around.

Animals use a variety of motions to get around on the ground. These including walking, running, crawling, jumping, hopping, sliding, cartwheeling and even a peristalsis type of movement (involuntary movements of the longitudinal and circular muscles that occur in progressive wavelike contractions)! There are probably tons of examples of these types just looking around your neighborhood.

You may not see worms, but they’re still wriggling around in dirt.

Subterranean animals such as worms use a type of peristalsis to get through the dirt, while moles will burrow and use a swimming motion to build and get around their tunnels.

Animals that live in tree tops will get around by swinging, suspending themselves with prehensile tails or paws or by walking/running along branches.

Sit outside in your yard or near a grassy/tree area. Observe the animals (large or small) and how they move around.

Your Challenge (Should You Choose to Accept it):

Create an obstacle course in your yard or living room (be sure to check with your parents or guardians first before setting one up!). Pretend to be an animal looking for food. What type of locomotion will you use? Will you use more than one? 

Ask your parents or guardians to videotape you completing your obstacle course and email it to us. Be sure to let us know which animal you are. We will post a few of the videos in a future blog. Watch the videos above for a couple of ideas to get your creative juices flowing!


Amy Roell
Director of Education & Events

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