About: Improving Motor Skills With Animal Fun

Animal Fun is a movement program to help kids aged 3-6 years to improve their gross and fine motor skills and social skills. It was designed by physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists from Curtin University’s Health Sciences Faculty.

Teachers were telling us that increasingly children were coming to school with poor core strength, unable to sit and listen, had poor gross and fine motor skills and were unable to regulate their emotions and behaviour. They wanted a program that met the Health & PE Curriculum, Early Years Learning Framework, and the National Quality Standards – it had to be easy to implement, not need lots of expensive equipment and be engaging for the children.

Emeritus Professor Jan Piek developed the idea for Animal Fun as she recognised that most children in this age group love animals and enjoy pretend play – so if we were able to match foundation developmental skills to an animal movement the children could engage in pretend play whilst at the same time be practising these skills. 

The team focused on what were the core skills required by a young child to be a competent, confident participant in active play and meet the requirements for the early years of formal schooling and they matched these skills with animal movements.

Animal Fun was developed, and Healthway (Western Australian Government) funded a 3-year randomised controlled trial research project to test if the program was indeed going to be effective. (Link to Research Evidence)

The evidence-based research showed that children who engaged with the Animal Fun Program for just 10 weeks showed significant improvement in both motor skills and social skills, including the fundamental movement skills of one-legged balance, and throwing.

Following the success of the research, which also showed significant improvements in social/emotional development, we were further assisted by the Mental Health Commission of Western Australia with funding to develop what was a small, photocopied handbook into a pack of high quality, colourful resources.

Animal Fun - Complete Pack
Animal Fun is proudly developed and produced in Western Australia and is being used in over 40% of all primary schools in this state. Word is spreading about the efficacy of the program around Australia and globally resulting in translated versions of Italian and German being published by Hogrefe for the European market.

In addition to the physical resources, we are now offering Professional Development training.

  • The e-learning course consists of 16 short lessons and provides a good introduction to the program.
  • Online PD Workshops using Webex, and
  • Face to Face Workshops are scheduled periodically.
    • These are live, interactive workshops open to the public and facilitated by Sue McLaren, Program Director.
    • OR individual workshops can be booked exclusively for your staff (Online or Face to Face) at a time and date suitable for you.