A few weeks before Christmas, I picked up a pair of jump ropes from Amazon, planning to teach the kids how to jump rope. A few of the older kids knew how to jump with a single jump rope, but we’d never really used a long rope before.
After researching a few different options, I went with these ones:
I selected these particular jump ropes because they are:
- Long enough for two people to spin while a couple jump
- It was a set of two (I have big plans to teach the kids double dutch)
- Covered with soft beads that don’t hurt as much when you get hit with them
- Came with extra beads to replace them with when they fall off
- They weren’t super expensive per rope
Though we don’t have a great space at our home for jump roping, I knew that we’d be filling the pulpit in a church partway across the state for a few weeks in January. While there, we’d be staying in their missionary housing, which sits right next to a big, paved parking lot.
The kids were surprised when I pulled out the jump ropes for the first time. They didn’t know we had any. But they were super excited to do something new together.
My hope for our time at the church was to:
- Teach the kids basic jump roping skills
- Help them develop an enjoyment for a new physical activity
- To have fun as a family
Teaching Jump Roping Basics
Before you can jump over a rope, it’s important to be able to swing it. That way you aren’t trying to learn too many new things at once. So after a quick demonstration by my husband, our oldest daughter, and myself, to show them what jump roping looked like, we got started with the basics.
Learning How to Spin the Rope
We had the kids take turns learning to twirl the rope without anyone jumping. This required them to work together. It was so much fun watching them try. The little boys really enjoyed this part, though they can’t get it high enough for someone to jump through without help.
During this process, we talked a lot about spacing. We had them go closer together to make the rope higher, and spread out to stretch the rope.
We also stretched the rope way out, and had them just jump over the rope a few inches off of the ground. The older kids had a blast trying to see who could clear the rope at a higher point.
Learning How to Jump Over the Rope
Once the kids could swing the rope well and jump over it when it wasn’t being spun, we started having them put both skills together. Instead of having them jump into a moving rope, we started by having them stand in front of the rope before we started spinning. Then, we’d have them jump as it came over their head.
Some of the younger kids struggled with this, so we encouraged them to:
- Listen for the slap of the rope on the ground
- Find a jumping rhythm (we practiced this without the rope)
- Yell, “Jump” for their siblings each time the rope was coming around
- Watch the older kids (and mom and dad) jump a few times
We also practiced jumping high enough to clear the rope, as a couple got their feet tangled up.
As our five-year-old got to five jumps in a row, she was so excited! Then she did it again, and the next time she got even more. Practice is important here. Not every child will pick this up right away, so just have patience, be encouraging, and keep trying.
Learning How to Jump In
Once the older kids were ready, we encouraged them to jump into the spinning rope. We had them practice jumping in and jumping out.
To help them time it, we had them watch the rope and call out when it was time to go a few times before they tried it. We also had them watch us jump in and out.
Then they started to try on their own. Yes, they got hit by the rope a couple of times in learning process. But, that’s one of the reasons we went with a softer bead rope. It stung for a second, but didn’t leave a mark or hurt too much.
They kept trying, and pretty soon, they could jump in and jump back out. A couple of the kids even started running in together to jump.
Continuing to Practice Jump Rope
Once the kids had the basics down, we tried to practice every day while we were at the church. They all enjoyed this time spent together. It was screen free fun, and a good way to get heart rates up for a bit.
To make the practice more enjoyable, I taught the kids a few of the jump rope rhymes and games I remembered from grade school.
- Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
- Cinderella Dressed in Yella
Since I had a hard time remembering any others all the way through (and didn’t want to bring my phone out to Google while I was trying to spin), I decided to pick up a jump rope rhyme book. Though it didn’t arrive before we left the church, I know the kids will enjoy looking through it and learning new rhymes to try once the snow melts.
I went with this one:
When we get moved down to Missionary Acres this summer, our house will be close to the park, where there’s a nice paved area. It’ll be the perfect spot to try all of the new rhymes and games out.
Family Fun: Jump Roping
Everyone really enjoyed pulling out the jump ropes and learning some new skills. I couldn’t do a lot of jumping since I’m pregnant, but I’m really looking forward to doing it more this summer. I really want to teach the kids how to double dutch, so that’s my goal for this summer.
It’s an activity that the whole family was able to enjoy. Owen even had fun just sitting on the pavement and watching. He liked the rhymes especially and moved along with them.
So if you’re looking for a new way to spend some time together, I’d highly recommend getting a couple of jump ropes and seeing what you can do.