Move and Play Paediatric Therapy

Move and Play Paediatric Therapy

One simple skipping rope; ten fun ideas!

You don’t need lots of fancy toys or play equipment to help your child to develop their gross motor skills.  In this blog we will share 10 fun activities you can do with your child with a skipping rope to help them with their gross motor development.

  1. Skipping – Let’s start with the most obvious activity.  Your child can start by practicing skipping on the spot, either by themselves or in a group of 3 (two people swinging the rope, one person in the middle jumping).  The progressions of skipping skills is then up to you!  You can do cross over skips, running on the spot skips, running forwards or backwards skips, double jumps, and skipping to rhymes.
  2. Walking along the rope like a balance beam – If you lie a skipping rope out straight, this can be a good alternative to using a balance beam for balance activities. The narrow width of the rope means your child has to be careful with their foot placement.  Alternatively, if the rope is too narrow for your child, they can practice walking in between two ropes, and as they get better your can bring the two ropes closer together.
  3. Jumping over a rope that is tied between two points – If you tie either end of a rope up between two points (this might be a stake in the ground, two trees, or the down pipe and the swing set), you can create your very own obstacle for your child to practice jumping over. Start with the rope down low, and move it up as your child gets stronger and can jump higher.
  4. Crawling (or limbo-ing!) under a rope tied between two points – Using the same strategy as above, but just tying the rope up a little higher will give you an obstacle that your child can crawl, belly slide, roll or limbo under!
  5. Agility activities – Using the rope as a marker, your child can practice agility activities – try jumping side to side over the rope, jumping forwards and backwards, doing high knees with one foot either side of the rope, or arrange the rope into a square shape and practice fast feet stepping in and out on each side of the square.
  6. Swinging the rope in their hand – Swinging a rope is great for your child’s shoulder girdle strength, grip strength and core strength. Your child can hold both ends of the rope in one hand and swing it beside their body or above their head like a helicopter.  They could also tie one end to a point, and then swing the other end around and around, imagining they are the motor of the helicopter.
  7. Motor planning activities with a friend – With a friend, each child holds one end of the rope. Aim to keep the rope level.  Encourage the children to walk following a particular path, or do a simple obstacle course, all while holding the rope straight and level.  You can add rings onto the rope to help child understand concept of keeping the rope level (ie: don’t let the ring slide to either end of the rope).
  8. Use the rope to practice tying a knot or a bow – Shoelaces and ribbons can be fiddly in little fingers, so why not use a larger rope to practice tying a knot or a bow. You can wrap the rope around a tree, or you can wrap it around both your child’s legs while they practice tying a bow in their lap.
  9. Get pulled around for a ride – Get your child to sit in a box or on a scooter board, while holding one end of a rope. You or a friend them holds the other end and pulls the rope/child/box/scooter board around using the rope.  This is a great game for those rainy indoor days because the box or scooter board will slide easily on tiles.
  10. Use the rope to make letter shapes on the ground – Use the rope to practice forming letters on the ground.

As you can see, a simple rope can provide a whole lot of fun!  Pick one or two and try them with your child?


You may also like to read:

Fundamental Motor Skills for Kids

Benefits of being a fit and active parent