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Hopping! A Before Kindergarten Skill

update: 10/11/2021; originally posted 07/2015

It's so funny to watch my almost 2 1/2 year old hop, or rather bounce his body up and down while his feet stay firmly planted on the ground! This is a skill that will develop between now and the time he turns 3.

So why am I putting it in my "B4K - Before Kindergarten" series? Well, apparently there are quite a few kids entering kindergarten that don't hop well and it is a skill that kindergarten teachers need students to be able to do so that they can plan activities and games. If they have to teach hopping that takes away time to teach the academic skills they had planned to teach.

So, practice hopping at home! If your child can do it already, great! Pass this post along to someone you know who has a 2 1/2 to 3 year old! If after practicing for a while, your child is struggling please contact an Occupational Therapist who can look into why this is difficult for your child as there could be underlying coordination, strength or balance issues.

Set It Up!

Draw a hopscotch game on the sidewalk or driveway, or find one in your community (I know lots of playgrounds have them!). I color-blocked mine in orange, yellow and green so that I could work on colors with my son. I also did the numbers since counting to 10 is also a before kindergarten skill! I love multi-tasking! (See my post 10 ways to Count to 10!)

You Can Do It!

Did you ever play hopscotch the "right" way when you were a kid. I don't think I ever did! Here are the rules for traditional hopscotch. Get an object to toss and toss it on the first number. Then hop over that number and go all the way to the end and come back.

When you get back to the square with your object in it, bend down and pick it up, hop in that square and continue back to the start. The next time you go, toss it into the second square. The time after that toss it into the third square. And so on...

The first person to step on a line or toss the object in the wrong square or touch two feet down is out.

Make it Just Right for Your Child!

Ok, so we totally don't play that way! We just hop to the end and back, going until we are bored or too tired to hop! With Big Sister, we counted and focused on hopping in different ways (one foot in each, two feet in each, one foot all the way and the other foot all the way back, etc...) and with Little W we went ahead and named the colors as he "hopped" (walked/ran) on each one.

Tips for Success
  • Make the squares about the size of a tile so your child doesn't have to hop too far (or purposefully make them bigger to work on big hopping!)

  • If it's raining (or otherwise not an outside kind of day) use the tiles in your home or use painters tape to mark out a hopscotch board on your floor.

  • Put different types of information in the squares. We did numbers but you could also do letters or sight words or shapes or different questions they have to answer (you'd read the questions to them!), feeling words or actions to act out or animals that they could make the sound of or ... well, you get the picture! Almost anything can be in the squares!

Have fun hopping! What will you put in your hopscotch squares? Let me know in the comments!

-Lauren :)

PS: Check out more in this series: B4K - Skills Your Child needs Before Kindergarten

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