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Jumping, hopping and skipping

What skills does a child need to jump, hop and skip?

Children must be able to propel themselves off the floor, either on the spot or moving forwards. This requires strength and the ability to coordinate the movement.

Core strength

Some children may have difficulty jumping, hopping and skipping. This could be because of poor core strength which you may notice in other tasks and activities. Encourage children to do things that will improve their core strength as it will support the development of their jumping, hopping and skipping.

For ideas see our shoulder and core strength guide

How to help a child develop their jumping, hopping and skipping skills

Teach the child to jump, then hop, then skip in that order.


Get the child to practice jumping up and down on the spot before jumping forwards. Encourage them to swing their arms forwards and upwards to help propel them off of the ground. They may benefit from practicing jumping over a very short object, for example, a stick or into a hoop.

The child should jump with their feet together. A lot of children separate their feet and lead with one intially. Ensure the child lands with their knees bent to reduce impact.


The child should be able to balance on one leg for a short period of time before trying to hop. Get them practice hopping on the spot to begin. They may want to hold an adult’s hand at first for this.

Once the child can hop 3 times in a row on the spot, ask them to practice hopping forward. Hopping from mat to mat or from square to square on a hop scotch print on the floor may help.


The child must be able to hop on both of their legs before attempting to skip.

Hold the child’s hand and model skipping very slowly, step by step, whilst verbalising your movements, for example, “step, hop, step, hop”. The child may benefit from doing this to a beat. Gradually increase the speed and reduce your physical support.