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Skipping is one of those activites that are fun and very healthy, although many adults and children find it hard to grasp. It burns lots of calories, gives a good body work out and builds up stamina. It's also a great skill for children to learn and develop.
For toddlers these are some activities to get started and become familiar with the rope.
- Jump the rope - Lay the rope on the floor and simply jump over it from side to side.
- Limbo - rest the rope over two chairs and get the toddlers to walk, bend, crawl and shuffle under it.
- Snakes - hold the rope on the floor and shake one end so it wiggles like a snake. Try and get the little ones to jump over it.
- Rope hurdles - raise the rope off the floor a little and jump over it like a hurdle.
- Rope shapes - Make the shapes of letters with the rope on the floor.
Start to teach them to skip properly. This will take time and lots of patience as they need to co-ordinate arm movements, leg movements, jumping and rhythm. Children who can balance and hop will be ready to learn to skip. Those who can't do this may be discouraged if they can't manage it.
- Start by standing feet slightly apart. Have the rope hanging behind them with it dangling by their heels.
- Show them how to swing the rope over and then jump over it.
- Keep patiently swinging the rope over trying to get the jump in the right place.
Eventually they will get the hang of it. Keep practice sessions short so the little ones don't get frustrated.
It's worth spending time teaching your little ones to skip because:
- They will love it when they can do it!
- They will learn a new skill which they will be very proud of.
- They will eventually skip with friends so it becomes a team work excercise.
- It improves physical fitness and is great exercise.
- It is good for co-ordination.
- And, its great fun!