A skipping rope is one of the simplest, cheapest and most versatile pieces of play equipment you could ever buy.
Take a couple of skipping ropes to your local park, beach, or any quiet outdoor space and give your children an hour of entertainment and physical activity with these fun games.
Teaching Jump Rope
To begin with younger children can learn to jump over a rope that gently sways back and forth, rather than one that is completing full revolutions.
If you are home alone with a child, a clever trick for setting up a jump rope activity is to tie one end of the skipping rope to a door handle. This will be about the same height as your hand, so you can stand a few feet away and gently sway the rope back and forth.
When you progress to completely turning the rope over their head, you'll need to match the speed carefully to their ability. Too fast and your child will get stressed, or trip over, but if you spin the rope too slowly it gets slack in mid air and becomes very tricky to jump.
This is a game to play while two people turn the rope, and one person stands between them jumping over it. The idea is too keep skipping over the rope while following instructions. You can do this using a 'Simon Says' style game, or by completing the actions from a nursery rhyme. For example, the everyone could sing 'Heads, shoulders, knees and toes' or 'Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear' and carry out the actions while skipping. Alternatively one of the people turning the rope could be 'Simon' and give simple instructions to the jumper. This fosters listening skills, and challenges the ability to concentrate on more than one activity at any one time.
Number Bonds To Ten
Actually you can use this for number bonds to any quantity, but ten is the target used in Key Stage 1 maths. Lie the rope in a straight line on the floor. Gather up ten natural objects, such as conkers, acorns or pebbles. Hand them to your children so they can experiment with laying them either side of the line, and writing down the corresponding sum on a piece of paper. Then test their knowledge by placing some objects on one side of the line and asking them how many need to go on the other to bring the total to 10.
This is easier with a bean bag than a ball as it won't roll away. This game is perfect if you have four people or more: two to turn the rope, one to jump it, and the remainder as throwers / catchers. The thrower / catcher needs to time their throw to the beanbag will reach the person jumping the rope. The person jumping the rope has lots to concentrate on: timing their jumps, catching the bean bag, and co-coordinating a throw through the rotating rope.
Lots of children find learning easier when it is associated with a physical activity. Instead of simply learning times tables by chanting them, have your child call out the multiples as they jump, for example '3, 6, 9'.
For more fun outdoor games, and educational activities, check out the Wicken Toys blog.