Hopping

Stages of Development
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Hopping is a more advanced skill than jumping as it requires balance and strength. Children between the age of 5 and 7 should show marked improvement in speed, control and technique. Hopping is a good indicator of being able to maintain balance while moving, which is often referred to as dynamic balance. This is a difficult skill for Kindergarten children who still may be learning to jump.

Teaching tips

Hopping can be quite intimidating for beginners - ease your child's nerves by demonstrating the skill at a level that is attainable for your child. Use the KIDDO teaching cues to assist;

  1. Quiet landings (bend ankles, knees and hips)
  2. Bend your leg to push off
  3. Head up and eyes forward (look towards where you are hopping)
  4. Swing & spring
Developing Hopping through play

Some toddlers may attempt to mimic your hopping. Encourage this but don't expect them to last too long! Hopping can be one of the most fatiguing skills for children, so any attempt at this age should be praised and encouraged.

Keep a focus on technique to a minimum as children begin to explore hopping. 

  • Start by practicing balancing on one leg
  • Hold hands with the child if needed when attempting to hop to help with balance
  • Swap legs frequently where the child is confident enough to do so, to provide rest for the hopping leg
  • Use hopping as your locomotor skill in games you typically play

Once your child has developed confidence hopping,

  • Focus on bending support leg on landing and then straightening on take-off
  • See how many hops they can get in a row
  • Try hopping through and around obstacles
  • Play games such as Hopping Patterns or Stork Tag

For those children that have developed greater leg strength and confidence in their abilities to hop for longer periods of time;

  • Try to achieve greater distance by hopping over obstacles such as hoops, hurdles or small cones. Create a hopping obstacle course
  • Introduce the use of the arms to generate power
  • Play hopping games such as Lilypads and Leapfrogs
  • Introduce Hop, Step and Jump into a sandpit
Common errors
  • Unable to maintain balance for consecutive hops
  • Landing with stiff ankles, knees and hips – you may hear a slap when they land
  • Hold swing leg stiffly to front, side or back
  • Arms not actively moving to assist the action

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