Hurray for Hopscotch
Remember hopscotch? For that matter, do you remember twirling hula hoops around your hips, jump rope chants, and the myriad other games we played to keep ourselves entertained?
When we were young, we couldn’t have imagined how drastically childhood would change. Today’s kids don’t have the time for such leisurely pursuits. And because neighborhoods aren’t what they used to be, jump rope chants and other games aren’t being passed down from older children to their younger counterparts.
Sadly, there’s more being lost than just tradition. Children aren’t getting the opportunity to interact as we did when we were their age. They don’t have the same chances to become skilled at the fine arts of cooperation, conflict resolution, and problem solving. And they don’t have the same chances to simply learn in natural, developmentally appropriate ways.
Take hopscotch, for instance. There may be no older children in the neighborhood to teach it to your child, but he can certainly learn it from you.
On the sidewalk or driveway, with chalk, draw a hopscotch grid. (In case you’ve forgotten, it’s 10 squares, numbered consecutively, with the numbers 1, 2, 5, and 8 in single squares and the numbers 3 and 4, 6 and 7, and 9 and 10 in side-by-side squares.) You or your child then tosses a beanbag or small stone onto the square marked with the numeral 1. The player hops over that square (when possible, there should be no touching down on the square with the beanbag/stone on it), lands on one foot in the square marked 2, jumps in the squares marked 3 and 4 (a two-footed landing with the left foot in the left square and the right foot in the right square), hops (one-footed landing) in the square marked 5, and so on up the grid. At the top of the grid, the player turns and follows the same pattern back to the beginning, once again hopping over the first square. The next player tosses the beanbag or stone onto the number 2 square.