For as long as many of us can remember, jumping rope has been a regular form of play. And whether they’re skipping to a rhythm, playing a jump rope game or simply practicing their jumping skills, your students can gain a number of benefits from this playground activity.


Benefits of Jumping Rope


It’s no surprise that jumping rope is a great aerobic exercise for students. It can keep their heart and lungs healthy, help them maintain a healthy weight and strengthen their bones and muscles. But the benefits don’t stop there. Jumping rope is also proven to improve coordination and act as a calming technique.


Even more, it also supports cognitive development. According to the Jump Rope Institute, jumping rope helps with the development of the left and right hemispheres of your brain, which further enhances spatial awareness, improves reading skills, increases memory and makes you more mentally alert.


5 Jump Rope Activities to Get Students Moving


Jumping rope is the perfect activity to get students moving and sweating, and it only requires one thing: a jump rope. Below we’ve rounded up our favorite jump rope games to incorporate this physical activity into your afterschool program.


1. School


Despite its name, this activity doesn’t require you to sit at your desk. To play school with a jump rope, two players turn the jump rope, one on each handle, and the rest of the players take a turn to jump through the grades. For kindergarten, a player simply runs under the rope without jumping. Then the player circles around and jumps once for first grade, runs around and jumps twice for second grade and so on. The player continues until he reaches 12th grade. If a player trips or stumbles, stopping the jump rope, he must start over at kindergarten.


2. Action Jumping


This game requires at least three players - two turners and one jumper. The turners call out actions (like “pat your head” or “jump on one leg”) for the jumper to complete while jumping. They keep shouting out actions until the jumper makes a mistake. Once a mistake happens, the person who called out the action gets to be the next jumper.


3. Jump Rope Relay


Crank up the competition with a relay game. To play, divide your group into two teams.  Line each team up at the starting line, and give the first person in line from each team a jump rope. When the relay race starts, the first players in line must jump rope toward the finish line, and then turn around and return to the starting line.  Have the first players pass the jump rope to the next player, and continue until one team completes the race.  The first to finish is the winner!


4. Jump Rope Math


Combine fitness and math learning in this fun activity. To play, give a math equation to solve, like 3 + 5. The jumper(s) must repeat the equation, and jump the answer (in this case, they would jump 8 times). Use more complex equations to practice math and jumping skills.


5. Jump the Mountain


This game is perfect for younger students who need to practice their jumping skills. Using a double dutch jump rope, two students grab each end of the rope and hold it slightly above the ground (be sure the rope is held loosely to prevent students from tripping). Students line up to jump over the rope one at a time. After all students have made the jump over, the rope is raised slightly and again everyone jumps over the rope. Continue raising the rope so that it's higher and more challenging to jump over each time around.


Learn how students can use their jumping skills to raise money for the American Heart Association through the Kids Heart Challenge.