Most children begin to explore jumping around age 2. However, like all fundamental movement skills, learning to jump is age related, not age dependent. As children develop the required leg strength, motor planning, and coordination, they progress through a series of milestones before they are ready to take flight.
Why is it important for children to learn how to jump?
-Jumping serves as the foundation for activities such as basketball, cheerleading, dancing, diving, jump rope, soccer, sprinting, and volleyball.
-Jumping helps lead to more advanced movements like galloping, skipping, and hopping on one foot.
-Jumping develops the large muscles that ultimately support the development of smaller muscles needed for activities like drawing, writing, or zipping a jacket.
How do kids learn to jump?
Reminder, every child develops at their own unique pace! Here are some common milestones you may see:
Bouncing in place while holding onto something
Bending down like a frog and standing back up
Jumping forward with one foot leading
Jumping in place with two feet
Jumping off of a small platform with two feet
Jumping over obstacles
Jumping forward with a two-foot take off and landing
How can I help teach my child to jump?
Activities like jumping often begin spontaneously. One of the best ways to encourage children to develop this skill is by giving them space, time, and opportunities to explore the movement. Here are 5 ways for parents and caregivers to help kids practice the jumping movement:
1. Demonstrate each movement! Children love to mimic other children and adults, and often by saying the word, "jump" while you are demonstrating it, children begin to learn what the word and the skill mean!
2. Animal jumping! Imaginative play is a great way to engage a child's mind while exploring movement. Try jumping like frogs or hopping like bunnies and see how creative your child can be!
3. Pillow walk! Walking and climbing on different surfaces helps to develop proprioception and leg strength for jumping. Setting up pillows at home for children to walk or climb over is a great way to improve their strength and coordination.
4. Jump around! Bouncing or jumping while holding onto the railings of a crib, holding onto something stable, or holding onto the bar of a mini trampoline are other great ways for children to explore jumping. Children will let go of the railings when they are ready!
5. Obstacle course! Set up various markers for your children to jump onto, over, or off of. Watch out, the floor is lava!
Note: This information is meant for educational purposes only. Always reach out to your pediatrician, physical or occupational therapist with specific questions and concerns about your child’s development.