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.

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Assessing the Fundamental Movement Skill of Hopping
Assessing the Fundamental Movement Skill of Hopping
Learn how to hop
Learn how to hop

Checklist of skill criteria:

  1. Support leg bends on landing, then straightens to push off
  2. Lands and pushes off on the ball of the foot
  3. Non-support leg bent and swings in rhythm with the support leg
  4. Head and trunk stable, eyes focused forward
  5. Arms bent and swing forward as support leg pushes off
  6. Able to hop on both left and right legs

Teaching Strategies

For beginners (at the emergent level of hopping skill development):
  • Focus on skill criteria number 1 & 2
  • Start by practicing balancing on one leg
  • Hold hands with child when attempting to hop to help with balance
  • See how many hops in a row
  • Try hopping through and around obstacles
  • Have a go hopping on the other leg
  • Play games such as Wicked Witch and What the Time Mr Wolf
For children at the developing level of hopping skill development:
  • Encourage children to achieve greater distance in their hops by hopping over obstacles such as hoops or small cones
  • Introduce the use of the arms to generate power
  • Hopping can be very tiring so break activities up with running, side stepping, skipping etc.
  • Play hopping games such as Hopping Dodge Ball and Rob the Nest with hopping obstacles
For children at the acquired or accomplished level of hopping skill development:
  • Try out some Hopping Patterns, children can follow feet markers (L, L, R, L, R, R, R)
  • Introduce Hop, Step and Jump into a long jump pit
  • Play some hopping games - Stork Tag
What's the Time Mr Wolf_photoWicked Witch (kick and dribble)_photo

Teaching Cues

  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

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