When I was a kid, I spent many a spring/summer/fall day happily jumping rope by myself for hours. Could it have been that I had three older brothers who didn’t want to play with me? There’s a strong possibility. But there was also the fact that I LOVED jumping rope. It was almost meditative.
Skipping ropes are not only very inexpensive pieces to add to your toy collection, but they can also be found in a rainbow of colours, some have beads for more clacking fun, and there are even with glow-in-the-dark options. Not to mention that a skipping rope is also an easy item to pack up and to use in so many places.
Teach your child to master the basic jump with a skipping rope and before long, they’ll be having hours of bouncy fun. Here’s how.
First, choose the rope that’s right for your child.
The general length of a skipping rope sold for a child is seven feet. But since kids aren’t all the same height, the best way to make sure the rope is the right length for your child is to have them stand in the middle of the rope. The ends of the rope should reach about armpit level. Tie knots on each side of the rope if it’s too long, making sure that the knots aren’t too close to the handle.
Then, teach your child the basic jump.
Some kids learn to jump rope more easily if they learn the jump motion without even holding a rope. Have your child hold a pretend rope in their hands in front of their body. Their hands should be at their hips and their elbows close to their bodies (the ready position). Get them to swing the pretend rope over their heads and have them jump as the imaginary rope hits the ground.
If starting with an actual rope, have your kids start with their hands in the same ready position as above. Show them how to place the rope behind their bodies close to their heels.
Before they master the full jump, have them turn the rope over their head and let it simply hit the floor. Have them practice this motion several times before moving on.
Next, get them to turn the rope over their head and step over it as it hits the floor. Finally, when they’ve mastered the swinging and stepping over motion, have your child try to jump over the rope as it hits the floor.
If they can jump over it one time, this is a win!
Kids might get frustrated, so starting back at step one with a pretend rope could be a good plan. It might also help for them to see you, or another child, jumping rope. Seeing the motion, (and the fun!), of skipping often helps a child to pick up the skill more easily.
If your child struggles, you can help by swinging the rope, even if your child is quite young. Once a child gets one jump under their belt, their confidence level will soar! It might be a bit before they’re able to jump over it twice, but before long, they’ll be master jumpers!
Skipping in place takes a lot of practice but once your kid is comfortable and confident, they can jump in so many more ways.
Finally, learn these six cool skipping tricks!
1. One-footed jumps
Can your child jump on one foot while turning the rope?
2. Cross jumps
See if your kid can land with their feet crossed and then uncrossed. It’s tricky!
3. Side-swing jumps
Can your child twirl the rope from side to side across their body and then jump? (Don’t let the intro to the video scare you off!)
4. Skier jumps
See if your child can land with both feet to one side and then both to the other on the next jump.
5. High-knee jumps
As your child brings the rope around, have them land on one foot with the knee of the other leg up towards their chest. Switch legs on each jump.
6. Double bounce
Instead of jumping over the rope once when it hits the ground, see if your child can bounce twice.
Skipping ropes are fun, inexpensive, and, if your child is anything like I was, an item that will bring you hours of fun.