12 Fun Jump Rope Games for Kids

by Matt Hopkins

1. Jump Rope Math

Best Group Size: 1 to 6 kids

Ropes Needed: This can be done either with a regular jump rope for one or two kids, or use a longer double dutch jump rope to involve more children.

Instructions:

  • VARIATION #1 - Give a math equation to solve, like 2 + 5. The jumper repeats the math equation and then jumps the answer (in this case, they would jump 7 times). Use more complicated equations to practice math and jumping skills.
  • VARIATION #2 - This variation involves three or more kids using a long double dutch rope. On each end of the rope is a "turner," and in the middle is the "jumper." The two turners each yell out a number. The jumper combines the numbers (either multiplies, adds or subtracts depending on the rules you decide to use) and jumps the answer.
    Turn this game into a competition with multiple kids by making it an "elimination" game. For example, if you have six kids, two are turners and four are jumpers. The jumpers form a line and take turns jumping. If someone jumps the wrong number, or makes a mistake while jumping, they are eliminated. The last jumper remaining is the winner.

2. Relay Race 

Best Group Size: 6 or more

Ropes Needed: One single beaded or licorice rope per team

Instructions: Setup on a basketball court. Each team needs a jump rope. The first "player" on each team races down the court and back while jumping. Then the next player take the jump rope and does the same thing until all of the players on the team have gone. Whichever team finishes first wins!


3. "Cat and Mouse" 

Best Group Size: 4 per group, with as many groups as you need (say for a PE class)

Ropes Needed: One long double dutch jump rope per group

Instructions: Children get into groups of four with one long rope for each group. Two children turn the long double dutch rope and two play the game. This is a "chasing" game that is the jump rope version of tag. One player is the "cat", and the other is the "mouse." 

  • Pick a number of jumps each player must complete. A good number to start with is three.
  • The "turners" start spinning the jump rope.
  • The mouse enters the spinning jump rope from one side, completes the three jumps, and exits on the other side.
  • As soon as the mouse leaves the jump rope the "cat" enters the jump rope and does the three jumps.
  • While the "cat" is jumping the "mouse" runs around one of the turners to the side where both jumpers originally entered the spinning rope.
  • As soon as the "cat" completes the 3 jumps the "mouse" can re-enter the jump rope, and the cat runs around the turners trying to "catch" the mouse before he/she re-enters the jump rope.
  • The goal of the game is for the "cat" to catch the "mouse" by tagging the mouse. The cat can also "catch" the mouse if the mouse makes a mistake while jumping. The cat has to tag the mouse outside of the jump rope. This usually occurs while the "mouse" is waiting to enter the jump rope.

Note: When the game is in full flow, the cat and mouse should be running in a figure 8 around the turners.


4. Jump Rope Water Splash

Best Group Size: 5 or more

Ropes Needed: One long double dutch jump rope

Instructions: Each child is given a plastic cup full of water. One at a time the children jump into the spinning jump rope, trying not to spill any of their water. 

  • The first time they each jump three times and then jump out. 
  • See who has the most water left in their cup. 
  • If everyone has lots of water left in their cup, go another round but jumping five times. 

Whoever has the most water at the end of the round wins. This is a great game to play outside on a hot day!


5. Catch Me

Best Group Size: 3 per group, as many groups as you need

Ropes Needed: One long double dutch jump rope per group

Instructions: Start with groups of three with one long double dutch rope for each group. Two children turn the rope as one child jumps inside. The idea of the game is to have the jumper jump anywhere he or she wishes, and the turners must follow to keep the jumper inside the rope. If the jumper can continue to jump, the turners are doing a great job of keeping their eyes on the jumper, and making sure the rope goes around them. 

This game develops concentration, endurance and turning skills for the turners and endurance and agility for the jumper. They love challenging one another!


6. Action Jumping

Best Group Size: At least 3 players

Ropes Needed: One long double dutch jump rope

Instructions: Two people turn a long rope and one person jumps in. The turners call out actions (like "touch your nose" or "jump on one leg") for the jumper to complete while jumping. They keep shouting out actions until the jumper makes a mistake. Then the person who called out the action gets to be the next jumper.


7. Follow Me

Best Group Size: 8 or more

Ropes Needed: One long double dutch jump rope

Instructions: You need one long rope and a group of children. Set up with two turners, one at each end of the rope. Jumpers form one line to enter the rope near one of the turners.

  • The first jumper enters the rope, jumps once and exits on the diagonal going around the turner to form a new line next to the turner on the opposite side.
  • As the first jumper is exiting the rope, the next jumper in line must enter and jump the rope once in a follow the leader fashion, taking his or her place behind the first jumper in the new line that is forming. This continues until all the jumpers are in the new line. 
  • As the last jumper is exiting the rope, the “leader” must enter the rope and repeat the process making a figure eight.
  • This is an elimination game. The idea of the game is to follow the leader without missing. If a jumper misses or clips the rope while jumping or entering the rope, they are eliminated. See who can last the longest!
  • As the line gets shorter and shorter, the jumping gets faster and faster. The last three jumping are the winners. 

Key point: Remember, one person jumps in and one person jumps out with every turn of the rope. This is a really quick, fun game, with kids entering and exiting the rope at all times.


8. Partner Jumping

Group Size:

Ropes Needed: One or two single beaded or licorice ropes

There are many variations of "partner jumping" games. Here are a few of my favorites: 

  1. One jumps and the other jumps in without a rope and they jump together.
  2. Standing side by side with your partner. One person has the jump rope, starts jumping, and then passes one of the handles to their partner while continuing to jump rope. Together they turn the jump rope while only one jumps.
  3. Two person wheel: Two children standing side by side, each with a jump rope. The children exchange the inside handles of their jump ropes. Together and at the same time they turn the ropes and jump at same time.

Games for Young (Pre-School Aged) Kids

1. Snake in the grass

This game is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Two people hold the ends of the rope, making sure it’s flat on the ground. Shake the rope so it looks like a snake, while the kids jump over it. If your foot touches the rope, it’s your turn to shake it!


2. Jump the Mountain

Use a long  double dutch jump rope, with a person on each end holding it slightly above the ground. Children line up in front of the rope and jump over one at a time. After all have made the jump over, the rope is raised slightly and again everyone jumps over the rope. Steadily raise the rope so that it's higher and more challenging to jump over.

Important: It's very important that the rope is held loosely so that if a child does hit the rope they don't trip.


3. Helicopter!

4. Jump the River

This game is similar to "jump the mountain", but instead of trying to jump high, the goal is to jump further and further distances. Start with two long double dutch jump ropes, with a holder at each end keeping the ropes at ground level and about 6" apart (the "river"). Children line up in front of the rope and jump over one at a time. Slowly widen the distance between the ropes to make the jump more challenging. 

Note: To help children who cannot jump as far, make one end of the "river" skinnier by holding the rope handles on that side closer together. Have more advanced jumpers jump on the wide end.

About the Author

matt-hopkins.jpgMatt Hopkins is a former competitive speed jumper and jump rope coach. Matt has won numerous national championships in speed jumping, and his athletes have won several national speed and freestyle titles and have broken world and national speed records. He also taught middle and elementary school PE in Leavenworth WA for 23 years.

Recent Posts