Jumping rope to rhymes is an activity that all kids can enjoy during playtime. Whether they’re hanging in the back yard after school or looking for a pastime during a summer vacation, consider suggesting kids try jumping games guided by classic and clever rhymes. Here are a few to get you started.
Classic kids’ jump rope songs and rhymes
Cinderella is a counting rhyme. To provide a bigger challenge, have kids count by twos, threes or multiples of a given number.
“Cinderella, dressed in yellow
Went upstairs to kiss a ‘fella
Made a mistake
And kissed a snake
How many doctors
Did it take?”
2. Down the Mississippi
Add a bit of a challenge to this classic state-inspired jump rope rhyme by spelling out M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i as the kids skip.
“M-I crooked letter
Crooked letter I
Crooked letter I
Humpback humpback I
3. Miss Mary Mack
Also a popular song to clap to, Miss Mary Mack tells the tale of a girl with silver buttons down her back.
“Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back.
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 50 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.
They jumped so high, high, high
They reached the sky, sky, sky
They never came back, back back
Till the 4th of July, ly, ly!
July can’t walk, walk, walk
July can’t talk, talk, talk
July can’t eat, eat, eat.
With a knife and fork, fork, fork.”
4. Fuzzy Wuzzy
This ditty is also a tongue twister, making it extra difficult to sing Fuzzy Wuzzy and jump at the same time.
“Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?”
5. Mabel, Mabel
A perfect jump rope song to try just before sitting down to eat, Mabel, Mabel is a true classic!
“Mabel, Mabel, set the table.
Do it as fast as you are able.
Don’t forget the SALT, PEPPER, KETCHUP, MUSTARD.”
6. Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
If your kids really want to make others watch their smooth jump rope skills, this is the go-to rhyme. Mimic the actions mentioned in Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear for an extra challenge.
“Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, show your shoe,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, that will do!
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go upstairs,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn out the lights,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say goodnight!”
Kids can show off their counting skills and flexibility with 7-Up.
“7 up, 7 up, count to 11 up
1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9 10 11
6 up, 6 up, do the splits up
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
5 up, 5 up, touch the side up
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
4 up, 4 up, touch the floor up
1, 2, 3, 4
3 up, 3 up, touch your knee up
1, 2, 3
2 up, 2 up, touch your shoe up
1 up, 1 up, you’re all done up”
8. Texaco Mexico
With actions to accompany each line, Texaco Mexico is for more advanced jumpers.
Went over the hill
Where far away
And they do some splits, splits, splits
And they turn around round round
And they touch the ground, ground, ground
And they do some kicks, kicks, kicks
And they pay their taxes, taxes, taxes
And they get outta town, town, town
And they jump back in, in, in
And that’s the end, end, end.”
Make-your-own jump rope rhymes and songs for kids
If you’re feeling imaginative, try making up new jump rope rhymes with your children. It’s easier than you think! Start by humming or singing a favorite song, then try changing the words to create a funny story or teach a lesson. Feel free to add in hand gestures or cues for the feet. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
9. Happy Day
Help your little one sing this rhyme to the tune of “Happy Birthday.” This is also perfect for a group of children playing with one long jump rope.
“Happy day to you!
Happy day to you!
Happy day, dear (child’s name).
Happy day to you!”
(Repeat with the next child’s name as they take a turn.)
10. Jump a Rope
Sing this rhyme to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” while skipping individually or as a group.
“Jump, jump, jump a rope,
Merrily in the spring.
Hop, hop on each foot,
As fast as you can sing.”
(Repeat and try to skip faster with each verse.)
11. Skipping Feet
If your child can sing “Jingle Bells,” this jump rope song will be an easy one to learn.
“Skipping feet, skipping feet,
Skipping feet all day.
Oh what fun it is to skip,
The whole day away. Hey!”
The benefits of jump rope for kids
Kids may not realize it, but jumping rope to rhymes can offer benefits that extend well beyond the playground. “On the most basic level, jumping rope is a great conditioning tool for the cardiovascular system,” says personal trainer John Urena, owner of Coach U Training & Performance in Los Angeles.
Urena says there are even more positive takeaways of jumping rope to songs, such as:
- Teaching their bodies to take on the compression of gravity. “By learning how to create force with the aid of the ground, we are training the body to absorb force, as well as use energy efficiently and safely,” Urena says. This benefit can ultimately ward off physiological imbalances, pain and injury — all of which could lead to surgery.
- Learning coordination. Because it’s a cyclic activity that’s performed at a steady, regular cadence, jump rope helps kids develop coordination among their eyes, feet and hands. Singing adds even more challenge, according to Urena: “The jump rope rhymes act as a metronome to help with timing and overall coordination.”
- Boosting cognitive function. Jump rope requires kids to learn new motor patterns, which improves the nervous system communication among the brain, wrists and lower leg muscles, which, in turn, improves overall cognitive function, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
- Building foot strength. “Our feet are the base of our bodies,” Urena says. “Jumping rope promotes foot strength, coordination between foot and ground contact and builds explosiveness.” And if kids build foot strength, they’ll be strong and mobile in a variety of other ways.
Jumping rope to rhymes and songs will encourage little ones to exercise, play, build physical and mental strength and bolster their creative thinking. So, whether they’re playing at recess or at home, there’s no doubt a case for encouraging kids to try the activity.