This is a continuation from the previous blog about intermediate jumpers (The Bunny Hop - Intermediate).
A child who is an advanced jumper has mastered the art of lifting up off of the ground. You’ll notice that he can jump without thinking. It is great to continue to provide new skills to continue to challenge and grow their ability. Below is a list of skills to practice next:
*Jumping feet apart and together (jumping jack style)
*Twisting jump (end up facing the opposite direction)
If you layout the same 5 ropes mentioned in the previous posts, you can create a game to practice these jumping variations. It can be helpful for you to model the activity first. Jump over each rope with a different type of jump (i.e. 1. Forward Jump 2. Twisting jump to one side 3. Twisting jump to the other side, 4. Sideways jump 5. Backwards jump). Say the name of the type of jump that you are doing, as you are doing it, so that the order becomes clear. Repeat the order aloud a few times so that your child becomes familiar with it and then ask him to try. You can help him to remember the order by saying it out loud as he jumps, or, if you think he can remember them all, let him do it all by himself. This activity stretches both mind and body- the added benefit of introducing the memorizing challenge is to take focus away from the jumping. These variations of jumps can be very challenging at first, so taking the focus off of how perfect each jump is in order to create a successful environment. Next, ask your child to create an order for you to try and/or invent his own types of jumps (superman, bunny hop etc.).
This is a continuation of yesterday's blog talking about jumping for Beginners (The Bunny Hop - Beginners).
Now, onto intermediate jumpers- these are kids who have experience lifting off of the ground. Layout 5 ropes/strings on the floor, these will help jumpers to gauge distance and keep track of their progress. Then step back and give your child some space to practice jumping over each rope. The concept behind jumping (leaving the ground) is counter intuitive, so let them get comfortable with the notion. At first you might notice that there is a long pause between each jump, to account for both mental and physical preparation- this is natural. Coordinating a jump takes time and effort, but with enough practice it will soon become muscle memory. As your jumper builds confidence you can help to increase coordination and decrease the time in-between jumps by putting on some up beat music and jumping together to the beat. The fact that you are now jumping together, coupled with the upbeat music, will help to streamline your child's jumps. He'll need less and less time to prepare for each jump and the mental and physical skills required will become woven together. Wa-la!
The bunny hop In the spirit of the coming or spring and out long-eared, bushy tailed friends, I thought we'd talk about bunny hops today. Hopping is a great activity to practice with kids of all ages. Not only does it build strength and coordination, but, when approached thoughtfully, can be huge confidence boost as well.
For Beginners, it's best to start with assisted jumping. Layout 3-5 ropes/strings on the floor to help your little jumper gauge distance and keep track of his progress. Then demonstrate jumping over the ropes in a simple, yet exaggerated fashion (simply count your jumps, and exaggerate everything about your jump from the knee bending to the arm swinging to the actual lift off). Then ask your budding jumper to try. If they need more guidance cue them verbally, "bend your knees, swing your arms, jump!" and/or try jumping beside them. To assist even further you can rest your arms just under their arms and let them feel the support of you holding them steady as they attempt to jump. Sometimes a child's first attemp might simply be a squat (bending of the knees while swinging his arms) before each rope, and then a step forward. While he is not jumping, this is a great foundation for jumping both physically and mentally. No matter their progress, make sure to cheer your child on to keep them feeling successful. This will help them to help build confidence and make jumping an activity that they wish to practice with you often!