Jumping games for kids can be an excellent form of exercise and fun. Obviously, jumping can be a great way to get cardiovascular exercise, work on lower extremity strength, coordination, and stamina. However, it can also be a great way to provide sensory input via the proprioceptive and vestibular systems.
When we jump, we stimulate receptors in our joints which provide proprioceptive input to our brain. Proprioception is awareness of positions and movements of the body in space. Jumping also stimulates the vestibular system which is located within the inner ear and responds to movement and gravitational forces on the body. Our vestibular system helps contribute to balance, gaze stability, postural control, and equilibrium. So, let’s get to it and do some JUMPING!
Hopscotch is fun for all ages. Grab some sidewalk chalk and get creative with your kiddos to make various hopscotch courses. You can incorporate single and double leg hops, forwards, and backwards hops, or even try making a sideways hopscotch course to encourage lateral jumping!
Stuck inside with some stir crazy kids?? Have no fear, grab some couch cushions/pillows, and get to it! Place them around your home and have the kids jump from cushion to cushion to avoid falling into the LAVA (touching the floor). The bonus with this activity is that since the couch cushions provide a dynamic surface to jump onto/off of, your child is getting even more proprioceptive input to their feet/ankles versus jumping on the floor!
For younger kids, enjoy some game time practicing various animal jumps. You can hop like frogs, bounce like bunnies, or jump like kangaroos! You can also incorporate this with different animal walks like bear crawls, crab walks or penguin steps.
Grab some yarn and create a laser beam obstacle course around the house or in the yard. Have your child jump through the course forwards, sideways, or even backwards.
Did you think box jumps were reserved for gym junkies? Your kids will benefit from them too! Whenever you are on a walk, encourage jumping up/down from curbs (forwards/backwards/sideways). You can also practice jumping up/down and landing on one foot. Another place for practice is small flights of stairs where you can practice one or two foot hops all the way up/down!
Another classic, but awesome pastime for kids (and adults if you feel like a little blast of cardio) is jump rope. Not only does it stimulate the vestibular and proprioceptive systems, but it also takes a lot of coordination and timing to be successful. If this is too challenging, you can always lay the rope on the floor and practice jumping over it!
We hope you enjoyed these jumping games for kids!
Karleigh enjoys play based pediatric therapy as it gives her to the opportunity to create both a positive and exciting experience for children. Karleigh works at NAPA Denver and likes to ‘jump’ from patient to patient.