Skipping Activities for Kids

How to teach skipping

Young children often ask to learn to skip. Here, you’ll discover skipping activities for kids, as well as specific strategies to teach children how to skip. Skipping is an important gross motor target. For some children, learning to skip is a real challenge! 

These skipping activities are fun ways to teach kids to skip.

Learn to Skip with Skipping Activities

If you have ever spent time in an elementary school, you may have noticed that the youngest members of the school community, specifically kindergarteners, hardly ever walk from place to place… they skip (and hop, jump, twirl, and gallop, too)!

Skipping is a developmental milestone or marker that generally emerges around age 5, with a range of age 4-6 years.  For many kids, skipping emerges without intervention, just the way reaching, crawling, or walking develops. 

For kids who struggle with gross motor skills and bilateral coordination, direct teaching may be necessary to develop this critical skill.  Once the basics are learned, skipping activities are a great way to practice.

learning to skip requires motor planning and sensory integration

Skipping is such a perfect example of motor planning and sensory integration.  It requires ideation (having the idea about how to move), planning (sequencing the movement), and execution (carrying out the movement).  

For a person to execute the motor plan of skipping, the coordinated effort of sensory systems and the brain is required. 

Skipping also provides excellent sensory input. No wonder kindergarteners like to skip from place to place… the vestibular and proprioceptive input they receive is a natural reward for all their hard work in mastering the skill!

what about bilateral coordination?

The ability to coordinate the two sides of the body involved in learning how to skip requires balance, strength, motor planning, and bilateral coordination. Bilateral coordination refers to the ability of the brain and body to process and integrate information from both sides of the brain to respond with movements in a coordinated manner. 

Many functional tasks and daily activities, such as feeding, dressing, and writing rely on bilateral coordination. 

Being able to coordinate both sides of the body is also a foundation skill for gross motor coordination activities such as walking, running, galloping and skipping.

Wondering how to teach skipping? This blog post breaks down the steps of skipping.

How to Teach Skipping

When you have a goal for a child to learn to skip, it is important to make sure that you address all of the components of skipping.  Teaching kids to skip starts with seeing what skills the individual is able to do. There are skills that are required to skip. Can the child balance on one foot and hop? Does the child have a dominant leg? Can they gallop or perform a different version of skipping? These are all good questions to ask when teaching skipping skills.

First, evaluate and observe the following gross motor skills needed for skipping:

  • Balance – check to make sure they can balance on either foot
  • Hopping – are they able to hop in place on each foot?  Are they able to hop forward on one foot?  Have them try to take 5 hops forward on either foot
  • Leg dominance – it may be helpful to know if they have a preferred leg for activities like hopping or kicking
  • Galloping – are they able to gallop? Can they gallop on either side?  This is more of a unilateral skill, which is often easier for kids who demonstrate difficulty with bilateral coordination skills.

If any of the above skills are weak, start with developing balance and hopping.  Then progress to galloping, followed by skipping. 

Then, use these strategies to teach skipping:

  1. To teach skipping, start by breaking down the steps for the child.  Provide a demonstration and simple verbal cues like “Step, hop, switch”.  You may need to provide a visual cue as well, using colored dots or markers on the floor, such as these (Amazon affiliate link) Little Polly Markers.

2. Once the child is able to complete the “step, hop, switch” sequence. This can be a very slow process at first. Some kids will need to think through the motor plan of each step. That’s ok! Use visual and verbal cues to work on the step with one foot, the hop, and the switch to the other foot.

3. Work to improve their fluency and speed of the step, hop switch sequence. Use these steps in an obstacle course or a relay activity to work on speed and gross motor coordination to improve fluent motor skills.

3. As they master the skill of skipping, you can encourage them to incorporate their upper body into the movement as well. Show them how to swing their arms in coordination with the legs. This will become more fluent and integrated with practice.  

Working on the coordination and motor planning to master learning to skip involves more than just a hop and a skip. Skipping is a complex task, but once you break it down and address underlying skill areas, it becomes easier. 

Skipping Activities

Here are some gross motor coordination games and skipping activities that address bilateral coordination and motor skills:

  • Obstacle courses – set up a simple hopping and jumping obstacle course inside or outside.  Use pool noodles to jump over with two feet, hop in and out of hula hoops, jump over cardboard bricks, etc.  Here is a post about Outdoor Lawn Games with lots of ideas for using backyard toys and equipment to address gross motor coordination skills.
  • This Ultra Dash Game is fun for kids of all ages!  You can set up an obstacle course in various ways and then the kids have to race to match the colors from the wand to the colored base.  You could incorporate skipping, jumping, and hopping into this game to work on those skills in a new way.
  • Use gross motor toys to work on balance, coordination, motor planning, and core strength.
  • Use a long jump rope to hop over on one foot. 
  • Stand like a flamingo. Try freeze dance games with a flamingo theme. When the music stops, players have to hold one leg up like a flamingo!
  • Simon says- Incorporate the hop and jump tasks needed in the task of skipping.
  • Yoga is a great activity to build body awareness, gross motor skills, and bilateral coordination.  Here are several different kids yoga resources:
  • Skip ball– this toy is a fun tool to practice skipping skills
  • Chinese Jump Rope – who remembers this classic toy? Relive your childhood while passing on this great game
  • Mini Trampoline – these are great to work on jumping, hopping, coordination, following directions, all great skills to teach skipping
  • Musical Hippity Hop Stick – this rotating stick encourages children to jump over the stick as it rotates by. If the stick touches them, the game is over. Practice this with two feet first, then try hopping over the stick
  • Hopscotch!  Don’t forget about this one!  All you need is some chalk and a sunny day to get outside and practice hopping and jumping.  This would be a great activity to set up on the playground for kids to work on skipping skills during recess. Not ready for outside play? Use painter’s tape down the hallway.

spring has almost sprung!

With Spring right around the corner, here are some Spring Gross Motor Activities to use with your students in the upcoming weeks to address gross motor coordination skills.

It’s time to get some “Spring” back in our steps!  Bring your kids outside and have some fun working on hopping, jumping, and of course…skipping!

Katherine Cook is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience primarily working in schools with students from preschool through Grade 12.  Katherine graduated from Boston University in 2001 and completed her Master’s degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study at Tufts University in 2010.  Katherine’s school based experience includes working in integrated preschool programs, supporting students in the inclusion setting, as well as program development and providing consultation to students in substantially separate programs.  Katherine has a passion for fostering the play skills of children and supporting their occupations in school. 

Creative Sight Word Activities for Kindergarten

multisensory reading and hands on activities for kindergarten sight words.

We’ve been doing a bunch of fun sight words in the past few months and here, you will find all of our favorite sight word activities for kindergarten.  This is a collection of all of our sight word activities, or multisensory learning activities focused on reading skills. The best thing about these hands-on reading activities is that they can be used for sight words as well as decodable words. These multisensory reading activities are perfect for beginner readers and Kindergarteners.  Learning and practicing sight words can be fun, creative, and NOT include just repetition with flash cards.  A little creativity and lot of fun are happening on this page.  Get ready to learn through play.  And have fun!  

{Note: This post contains affiliate links.}

Creative Ways to Practice Kindergarten Sight Words

Creative activities to learn kindergarten sight words, and hands on activities for multisensory reading.
 

 

sight word activity using ping pong ballsearly literacy activity using a sticky easel
 

Sight Words and Decodable Words

When my older kids were learning to read, they came home with lists of “sight words”. They also came home with small stapled books where they inserted the sight word into sentences driven by pictures. They were “reading the pictures”.

Since then, sight words have shifted slightly to include common lists, but more of the decodable reading. 

These hands on activities can be used with any early reading! 

Sight words are not necessarily always irregular words. They may only be taught as sight words until the sounds in the word have been taught… then it becomes decidable.

Some sight words are truly words that are known by sight…there is no way to sound them out. Other sight words can be decoded. 

High frequency words and not words that can be learned through decoding. For example… “what” is a sight word and should be learned as such.

Multisensory Reading Activities

The multisensory reading activities listed below incorporate whole body movement, heavy work input, and even vestibular input. These are just SOME ways to use all of our senses in learning high frequency words.

Other multisensory reading strategies can be used to decode parts of a word, or even sight words that are decodable. This is done by breaking apart the sounds that make up the word, or orthographically mapping the word. 

Other multisensory reading strategies include:

  • pounding words and parts of words
  • tapping of words
  • moving cubes
  • moving chips  or manipulatives like mini erasers or balls of play dough for sounds
  • using a red word/heart word for the tricky part of a “trick word” or sight word
  • spelling and arm tapping
  • writing on a bumpy screen and then feeling the bumps while spelling it aloud
  • sky writing (crossing the midline)
  • writing words on the palm
  • writing on a foam sheet

The multisensory reading strategies below are creative ways to work on sight words

Use fun materials like ping pong balls like we did in  our Sight Words Ping Pong Bounce Game.  (That was an activity that Little Guy LOVED…and he’s not even learning sight words yet!  Use those ping pong balls again for Sight Word Scooping and incorporate fine motor skills into sentence building. 

learn words and phonics with string and a multisensory reading task.


Something that you find in the junk drawer can be a learning tool.  String!  We used string to review sight words in Creative Sight Word Practice with String

 
 
 

 

Creative Sight Work Activities for Kindergarten

The senses are an essential part of daily life.  Incorporate the senses into learning with a few fun ideas:


We got moving with our Sight Word Scavenger Hunt

More movement based learning happened when we incorporated the easel in Sight Word Sticky Easel.

A few more creative ways to learn:  Does your Kindergartener love all things art?  Try some stamping with Sight Word Bottle Cap Stampers

We hope you’ve found some fun ways to learn and play with sight words with this list.  Stop back often, because we’re adding new activities all the time.  We’ll be sure to update this page with all of our latest sight word activities.

Need more ways to develop skills through play? Grab one of our Fine Motor Kits!

Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits:

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.