Children can get plenty of exercise by jumping rope. Not only does jumping rope work out the heart and muscles of the body, it can also help improve your child’s performance in school, according to the American Heart Association, since it increases blood flow to the brain and can help lower your child’s stress levels.
Teach your children rhymes to recite while they skip rope. Jump rope rhymes work for a child who is jumping alone or for a group of children playing double dutch. Using a rhyme helps children understand rhythm and can help them improve their jump rope skills. There are a number of classic jump rope rhymes. The “Healthy Hopping” program at the University of Illinois lists “Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Pie / I got the name of the cutest guy/And his name begins with / A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J . . . ” as an example. Children start skipping rope while chanting the rhyme. Once they get to the alphabet part, they jump the rope once for each letter. The alphabet continues until the jumper trips. Many rhymes are designed to see how many times a child can skip over the rope without tripping. Encourage your child to develop her own rhymes as well.
You’ll need at least four children to do a jump rope relay race, making it a good party or recess activity. Divide the children into a least two teams and have one jump rope per team. Mark a starting and ending point for the race. When you yell “start,” have one member of each team skip rope from the start to the end point and then back again. Once each person gets back to start, he should hand the rope off to the next team member, who should skip to the end and back.
Hop the Rope
Smaller children may struggle to swing a jump rope over their heads and then skip over it. You can introduce young children to the fun and skill of jump rope by stretching a rope across the floor. Tell the child to leap over it, then leap over it again. As the child becomes adept at hopping over the rope, make it more challenging by lifting and holding the rope a few inches off the ground. Have him hop over the raised rope. Once he becomes skilled at hopping the lifted rope, teach him a jump rope rhyme or have him count or recite the alphabet as he hops.
As your child becomes more skilled at jumping rope, you can teach her different hops and jumps. For instance, she can try doing a jumping jack while skipping rope. Have her jump and open her legs while hopping over the rope, then jump and close her legs while hopping over the rope again. She can also try skipping on one foot or hopping and tapping one heel to the floor as she jumps. More advanced children can try crossing their ankles as they jump, then uncrossing the ankles as they jump again.