Kids love to move their bodies.

Leaping Activities for Kids

by Shara JJ Cooper

Leaping and jumping help children learn to control their body movements. The more they move, the stronger they will be. Plus, it'll wear them out for bed so you can all get a good night's sleep, and you aren't going to complain about that! Try including some leaping games as a part of playtime several times a week, so your child gets much-needed exercise and stimulation.

1. Leapfrog

Leapfrog is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of leaping games. This game will keep your child moving, but you might want to enlist the help of a little friend or sibling. If your tot keeps trying to leap over her fully-grown mother, she's going to wear out quickly. It'll also become more of a climbing game and then transition into a horsey ride. Before you know it, you'll have lost the leaping action altogether!

2. Hopscotch

Is there a game more classic than hopscotch? All you need is a piece of chalk or a playground with painted-on boxes and your little one is ready to jump and leap. You can even make your own hopscotch indoors with some masking tape on the floor. Of course, you can't stand idly by -- you're going to have to show her the ropes by jumping in yourself. You can also use hopscotch to teach her other skills like counting or moving midair. These skills will grow as your tot gets older.

3. Songs

It probably feels like you know 100 songs by now, and probably 100 versions of those 100 songs. It's time to put them to good use by turning them into leaping activities. For example, "Sleeping Bunnies" is great for getting kids to jump, but you can encourage actual leaping by adding sleeping frogs to the mix. Same goes for "Five Little Monkeys." Who needs little monkeys when you can have little frogs leaping on a bed!

4. Animal Mimicking

A lot of animals leap, and your little one probably knows more animals by now than anything else. Help her brainstorm for animals that leap, and as you think of them, act them out. When she gets tired of one animal, move on to the next. Think along the lines of horses, elk, deer, cheetahs, frogs, leopards, gazelles and kangaroos.

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