Today I want to share a few ideas about teaching jump rope skills to your early childhood students. I currently teach at a school with three-year-old students and people always ask, what can you teach a three year old about jumping rope? The most important thing is to teach them pre-rope jumping skills. I use segmented ropes and start with basics. The students can create shapes, patterns, work on letter recognition, but we just work on those skills first to introduce them to the segmented rope.
Learning to Jump Over the Rope:
Next we move on to the prelude, the rope jumping, learning to move over rope that is placed on the ground. Generally the rope is placed in the circle or straight line and the students engage with the rope based on teacher cues. I would have my students place the rope in a straight line. They would then stand behind, in front, beside and then straddled the rope. After that they would walk on the rope forward and then backward and then they would hop slowly down the line and then fast back. And then if we could get to the final point, they would criss cross their feet while jumping.
How to Hold the Rope:
Then we move on to holding the rope for jumping. It brings me such joy to see the faces the day that we have our first attempt at holding the rope and it can be quite entertaining. If you haven’t tried that or had the pleasure of teaching early childhood students, it’s an adventure to say the least. Here are some sample cues I use to help them learn this necessary skill, “circled the rope”, “eyeballs to your belly button” and “drop your hands”. This skill sometimes takes many days for the students to master, but once they get it, the look on their face is priceless.
Turning the Rope:
Turning the rope is a difficult skill for young children, and we practiced regularly. At this age we start with just the basic turn. I use the following cues, “drop hands”, “big smile”, which means keep the jump rope open and “turn and catch with your feet.” This might be all that my younger students are developmentally ready for, but it provides them the foundations that they need when I teach jump rope skills the following year. Thank you for listening and have a great day.