How to teach a child to jump

Running, climbing, skipping, hopping… all important gross motor skills but have you ever wondered how you can help your child to master them? My daughter is currently mad about jumping! But she is at the stage where she can only lift one foot off the ground… meanwhile everything has become a possible jumping aid… the sofa… her bed… my bed… me! So here is what I have been doing to help her in her mission to learn to jump!

5 activities to help a toddler to learn how to jump!

  1. Puddle Jumping!

Yes, a certain pink pig TV character has got a lot to answer for, as most young children just can not resist a puddle! It’s wise to invest in some waterproof trousers or dungarees that go over their clothes and then they can jump as much as they want without ruining their clothes in the process. Just plan ahead so that you are prepared for the splashing!

2. Jumping over a line!

A drier option is to mark out a line on the floor using masking tape, chalk or a skipping rope. Encourage your little one to jump over the line. Turn it into a game; how many can they do without stopping? Who can jump the highest?

3. 5 Little monkeys jumping on the bed!

This song is a perfect jumping activity…. and if you don’t mind a little rule break then actually let them do it (safely) on your bed; the unstable surface will help them with their balance and muscle development… remind them they can only do it with you so they don’t end up having a bed jumping related accident!

4. Hoops!

Put out hula hoops and see if they can jump hoop-to-hoop. If you don’t have hoops, just chalk out some circles on the floor.

5. Jump scotch!

Hop scotch but jumping instead! And while they are jumping you can add some number recognition practise at the same time.

Talk to them about where to place their feet and encourage them to bend their knees and press down through their feet to create a bigger jump. Don’t forget that the best way for young children to learn a new skill is to copy someone else doing it; so get jumping grown-ups!

Why does gross motor development matter?

Until your child is able to run, jump, climb, balance, sit on a chair unaided, climb a stairs safely and independently… they won’t have enough control over their bodies to focus their strength on developing their fine motor skills, or in other words, they won’t be able to hold a pencil and learn how to write… so go get those wellies on and find some puddles! Have fun!

What are the learning opportunities?

Toddlers and young children will be learning to jump. There is an observation check point around their second birthday; can the toddler … jump with both feet off the ground at the same time?

Development Matters, 2021, Area of Learning: Physical Development

The guidance is to encourage active travel; which means for a toddler to be encouraged to walk when you are on your way somewhere, rather than always using the pushchair; if safe to do so and if the child is able. Also scooters and bikes are to be encouraged.

Follow this link to learn more about gross motor skills and Physical Development

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