Chinese Jump Rope

Teaching Chinese Jump Rope to 1st graders has been so much fun! A lot of them have never even seen a Chinese Rope so they are so excited about it. I love teaching something that is raw to kids. Here is the sequence I take them thru:
*Show rope and how it is held around the ankles of 2 partners. I emphasize that it is important to be a good “holder” by keeping feet still and in the right position.
*First trick: side to side jumping with one foot in and one foot out of the rope chanting 2,4,6,8. Follow this with IN (both feet in rope) OUT (both feet out) ON (both feet on rope)
Let them practice this in groups of 4 for a few minutes. Then I blow my whistle and have them gather for the next trick
*I repeat the first sequence and add TWIST: both feet on outside of rope, bring ankles together then twist around 180. Jump out of twist and land with both feet out. Repeat and land with both feet in. Practice.
*Next I add the DIAMOND: bring one side of rope across and pull into diamond shape with feet. Jump out and land with both feet out & repeat landing with both feet in. Practice.
*Finally the BUNNY: Jump across the rope catching one side and bringing it across then jump out of it. Repeat going the other direction. Practice the entire sequence.

This is as far as I go with first grade. Some of my second graders have been ready to try it at knee length. 3rd and 4th graders come to class with some strong opinions and skills about how this should be done. I ask who has never done chinese jump rope and then pair those kids up with the experts and let them teach each other. They enjoy it a lot as well, but don’t need the teaching part. I used Chinese Ropes with my 5th and 6th graders as part of jump rope stations, letting them choose single rope, double dutch, or Chinese. The Chinese rope was still very popular with the older kids. A big plus with this style of rope is it can be done indoors and in smaller spaces so I point out to the students that it is a good way to exercise in the winter.

Spider & Flies

My 3rd and 4th graders had a blast playing this game today. I liked it because it was easy to do for a few minutes and it really got them moving.
Spider and Flies:
One person is the spider. The rest of the class lines up against one wall. They have to run to the opposite wall without getting tagged by the spider. Anyone who the spider tags sits down where they were tagged and become part of the “web”. The spider can run anywhere, but the webs have to stay in one place, but can also tag anyone within reach. After all children reach the wall, I blow my whistle and those remaining run back trying to avoid spiders and webs. Repeat until all children are caught. I let the last person standing become the next spider.

More Jump Rope

I have also been doing jump rope with my 3rd and 4th graders and wanted at least one day with my 5th/6th classes. These older ages love to compete with a jump rope contest of who can jump the longest. I pass out ropes and give them about 5 minutes to practice and make sure they have a rope they are happy with. Then we start the contest. I tell them to begin and if they miss, they are out even if it is on the first jump. Also, I stress when they get out to sit down right where they are and not walk around so that other jumpers don’t get bumped. They love it and always want to do it more than once (I don’t let them!) After the contest, I give them a few minutes to work on a routine/trick and then end the class by letting them show their tricks. Some work individually and some with partners.

I wasn’t sure how 6th graders would like a jump rope class and I know most of them already know how so I tried this game: I divided the class into four groups of about 7 kids each. Each group had a long rope. Two members were turning and one would call out a name of another group member. That person would run in and start jumping. Then another name would be called out and that person would join the jumpers. One group got 4 kids jumping at once. They had fun and worked well as teams.

Also planned, but not enough time to try yet is a jump rope relay: jump down to cone and back, then pass the rope to the next person.


This game was a favorite this fall with my 3rd and 4th graders.  I also played it with 5th & 6th.  Class is divided up into two teams.  They each form a line on opposite sides of the field.  The offensive team has small token (I used a bottle cap).  Each team member holds their hands together as if holding the token and runs to cross the line of the defensive team.  The defensive team starts tagging members of the offensive team.  When tagged, they must stop and show what is in their hands.  If they don’t have the token they just move on.  If the person with the token is tagged then the defense becomes offense.  If the token makes it across the line, it is a point for that team and they retain possession.  Leadership ability really comes out during this game.  I saw teams work together doing things such as blocking for the person with the token or faking who had it while someone casually crossed the line.  Teams with out a clear leader struggled to be successful in scoring a point.  As the game ended, I pointed out the need for strategy and teamwork and we talked about why or why not a team was successful.


I tried another couple of basketball-based games with 3rd and 4th graders this week.  These focus on dribbling skills.  I divided my class of 35 into 3 groups.  One group had shooting practice while the other two played dribbling games.

Dribblerama:  everyone has a ball.  I used a big circle painted on the black top as boundaries.  They must stay in the circle and dribble their ball.  While dribbling they try and knock another players ball, causing them to lose control.  If you lose control of your ball you are out.  They played until their were 2-3 players left and those were declared winners.  I had the “out” players dribble on the line around the edge to practice while they waited.

Stealer Ball:  1/2 the players have a ball.  They must dribble continuously.  Other players try and steal a ball.  If stolen, then the stealer gets that ball and begins t0 dribble.  The person who lost their ball must then try and steal from a different player.  I used a half court as their boundaries.

Before these games I taught basketball standards of traveling, double dribble, etc.  They could not stop and hold the ball or dribble with both hands.

PROS:  Good dribbling practice with everyone engaged.  More fun than just dribbling up and down and also gave them practice of staying in control in a game-like situation.

CONS:  For dribblerama, you need a lot of balls (luckily my school has a good supply of equipment).  Kids wore out quickly, don’t do for too long (5-7 minutes)