There are so many uses for skipping ropes, aside from jumping. A skipping rope is one of those pieces of equipment that checks all the boxes: it’s inexpensive, multipurpose, can be used by toddlers AND octogenarians, it’s transportable, and it can be used indoors or out.
Check out the following games and you won’t be at the end of your rope trying to come up with ideas.
1. Slithery snake
My kids LOVED this game and would request that we play it over and over. It’s perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and anyone wanting some hopping fun.
Have one person hold the skipping rope on the ground and wiggle it slowly or quickly depending on the age of the children. Have your child(ren) jump over the rope without getting touched by the “snake.”
2. Dance ribbon
While kids can use any skipping rope as a “dance ribbon,” it’s extra fun to use a bright or multi-coloured rope. Fold the rope in two and have your child hold both handles of the rope or let them use the full length of the rope. There are no limits to your child’s imagination and the number of movements they can make with the rope.
Ensure they have lots of room (especially indoors where knick-knacks and other children could be the accidental targets of your child’s swinging fun)!
If your child is a bit stumped for ideas, show them how they could twirl the rope above their head or across their body in a swinging motion from side to side. They can dance, leap, and shimmy with not a care in the world!
3. Tug of war
Tug of war used to be an Olympic sport (honestly!) but now comes with no medals—unless you really want to give some out. The game teaches kids about team-building, compromising, and problem-solving.
Divide the kids into two teams with an equal number of kids on each. Wrap a piece of duct tape or tie a ribbon around the middle of the rope and draw a line on the ground. Teams each take an end of the rope and on the word “go,” pull the rope as hard as they can. The first team to pull the centre of the rope past the line on the ground is the winner. Make sure your rope is sturdy enough for tugging, and shake up the teams so that everyone can pull with everyone else.
4. Balance beam
Have your child lay their skipping rope on the ground in a straight or curvy line. Can your child balance while walking backwards or forwards on the rope? Can they hop on one foot along it?
5. Shape maker
One of the greatest things about a rope is that it can be twisted and bent and zigzagged and curved in so many ways! How many shapes can your kid make with a rope?
A rope can be shaped into a racetrack for cars and trucks to zoom along. It can be used to practice forming letters. Make a square, an oval, or a figure 8 and have your child jump in and out of it.
Choose one person to be the “helicopter” and have the others stand in a circle around them.
The helicopter takes one end of a rope and spins it slowly around the circle on the ground. Kids have to jump over the rope each time it spins by them. If they touch the rope, they can either take be out, or have to do an action such as five jumping jacks or three frog jumps.
7. High (or not too high) jump
Have two people hold a rope very low to the ground, one at either end. Can your child(ren) jump over the rope without touching it? Raise the rope a little each time your child manages to make it over successfully.
Make sure that the rope is held loosely so if your child does touch the rope they won’t trip or fall.
From “how high can they fly?” to “how low can you go?” Have two people hold a rope and have your child stand behind it. With fun music playing, have the kids bend backwards and pass under the rope without touching it. Once they’ve managed to pass under, lower the rope and have the kids try again.
With a rope and a plan (or 8), your kids are bound to have fun indoors or out.