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Traditional Children's Games: Jump Rope Games

Guatemalan children jumping rope - Photo by Thomas Peters

Guatemalan children jumping rope - Photo by Thomas Peters

Photo: Thomas Peters          
Children in Guatemala jumping rope

Photo: Thomas Peters          
Children in Guatemala jumping rope

child playing jump rope Photo: Thomas Peters


Jump rope games have always been popular in countries around the world. In the past, children usuallly played with a long traditional rope. In the above photos, children from Guatamala are enjoying playing a jump rope game.

Today many children use a plastic jump rope rather than a traditional rope.

Another version of a jump rope game is played with rubber bands connected together to make a long, special jump rope. This version is played in many countries, including China.

In this section, students from China, Colombia, and Indonesia describe how they used to play jump rope in their countries.

rubber band jump rope
Photo: Sandy Peters
Rubber bands looped together to make a jump rope.

jumping rope
Photo: Sandy Peters
International students show how to play this special jump rope game.

Rubber Band Rope Jumping

Chen Qiu Rong from China

Rubber band jumping was popular in my primary school which was only for girls. This game can help you to practice your jumping skills, develop coordination, and also meet lots of friends.

Rubber-band jumping is a low cost game. You only need some rubber bands. We looped rubber bands together tightly until we had a larger one (You can select the length you like). When we got three persons together, we could start our game.

Here's how we played this special jump rope game

  • Two persons stood opposite each other and extended the rubber band.

  • One player jumped and stood on one side of the rubber band, carrying the two sides together.

  • Then she jumped again and made the two sides separate.

  • Then she jumped again into the middle of the rubber-band and after that she jumped outside it.

  • If we finished these steps without any mistakes, we started the next level.

As the game continued, the level of jumping got higher and higher. There were four jumping levels: ankle high, knee high, waist high, and under the shoulder. More and more girls tried to jump and we competed as teams. The game was fun, and I think it taught us competition and cooperation.


Jimena Baquero from Colombia

When I was a little girl, I used to play a very fun game. It was a girls' game; boys never played with us. We played at school during the break or in my neighborhood in the afternoons. We spent hours playing it, and we never got tired of it because we had such a good time.

International students jump rope as they did in childhood.
Photo: Sandy Peters
Jump rope games are fun. When you play them, you can develop your skills and enjoy being with your friends.

To play the game, you will need three or more people. Two players, one in each corner, hold an elastic band and the rest play. If one of the players loses, she has to change places with one of the girls who is holding the elastic band.

A player starts by jumping the elastic at ankle height. Then it is raised to the middle of the leg, then to the knees, the hips, the waist, the chest, the shoulders, the neck, and head. In the last level called heaven, the elastic band is held up with raised arms.

To play this jump rope game, players follow these steps:

  • Jump into the middle of the elastic band. Open and close your legs three times.

  • Jump to one side of the elastic band and step on it. Jump to the other side and do the same.

  • Jump out of the elastic band.

  • Jump from the outside to the inside and try to take the elastic band with you. You have to cross the elastic from the right to the left.

  • Jump to open and close your legs three times.

  • Make a big hop, and try to keep the elastic band between your legs.

  • Jump out and go to the next level.

You have to play like that until you get to the fifth level, then you can do the same thing but this time you are not going to use your legs, rather you will use your head. In the last level (Heaven), you play with your arms.

Sometimes two or three people played at the same time. Whoever fell or stepped on the elastic band at the wrong time lost her turn.

I had forgotten how much fun it is to play this game, and I realize times are changing. We were so creative and innocent; we had fun in a simple way. You can't compare our old games in those times with today's games.

Lompat Tali, A Traditional Rope Jumping Game

Hasanuddin Rachman from Indonesia

Jump rope fun
Photo: Sandy Peters
Just when the rope touches and passes the floor, the player jumps up, either with one leg or two legs simultaneously.

Rope Jumping is a children's game of physical perseverance. It requires a piece of rope about 7 feet long. Any kind of rope of light material can be used to play this game. A very simple piece of rope can be made from groups of rubber bands notched together one after another.

Nowadays, people still play this game, but they use a commercially manufactured plastic rope with a handle on each end. You can buy this kind of rope in most sports stores. The game can be played individually or in groups.

Individual Game
The player holds the two ends of the rope with two hands on each side of the body, each at the height of the shoulders. Then, he or she moves the rope around clockwise and rhythmically. Just when the rope touches and passes the floor, the player jumps up, either with one leg or two legs simultaneously.

It requires good timing of the player between the act of jumping and the movement of the rope. The pace of the rope movement can be controlled, depending on the skill and stamina of the player. This movement is repeated over and over until the player trips over the rope, or when he or she gets tired.

Group Game
Two players hold each end of the rope, and move the rope in circular motion, either clockwise or counter-clockwise. The third player jumps over the rope as it passes over the ground. When the third player trips over the rope, he or she stops and holds the rope while the other player takes turn. The game can continue as long as 30 minutes to one hour.

More traditional children's games:

Visit the Photo Gallery and view international students demonstrating traditional games they played as children

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