How To Play Chinese Jump Rope

There are many popular children’s games that have been handed down from parent to child for generations.  Recess will always be filled with kids playing the old favorites like jump rope, hopscotch and tag.  Another old favorite that many have forgotten is Chinese jump rope.

Chinese jump rope is a fun game.  The only thing you need is a rope about 5-6 feet long tied into a circle.  If you don’t have a real rope handy you can also loop rubber bands together to make a Chinese jump rope.  The game is to be played with at least three children.

To start playing, two of the kids will loop the rope around their ankles and face each other standing about three feet apart.  The rope will form a rectangle.  The third child will perform a series of moves around the rope.  The simple chant “In, Out, Side, Side, Step, In, Out” can be sung as the child first jumps with both feet “In” the rope.  Next, the child will jump with both feet “Out” on either side of the rope.  The child will then jump so their feet straddle one “Side” of the rope, then the other “Side”.  On “Step” the child will jump so one foot lands on each side of the rope.  Then they will do “In, Out” one more time. 

To finish, the child jumping will loop their ankle onto the outside of one side of the rope and pull it to the opposite side, and then do the same with the other foot causing the rope to be pulled into a diamond shape with the child’s feet on the inside. 

Finally, the child will jump high, releasing the rope, and land with both feet outside the rope.

If during the game the child lands on the rope (or does not when they should) their turn is over and the must trade places with one of the kids holding the rope.  Each child will get a turn at trying the moves until all have completed them successfully.  To continue the game, the rope is brought up the legs of the children holding the rope so that it sits higher off the ground, thereby making it more challenging.

Chinese jump rope is a universal game and has been popular in the United States since the 1960’s.


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