skipping rope

As children’s playthings go, the skipping rope beats most toys hands down for enduring popularity. Skipping is ancient, and trying to find out its beginnings is a bit like wondering who invented playing with a ball. Like our beloved old sailboat, around here the skipping rope is something we all like to play with together.

jump rope © elisa rathje 2011

We’ve got old fashioned ropes.

jump rope © elisa rathje 2011

We’ve got speed ropes, pairs for double-dutch, long ropes for several jumpers, ropes for any kind of skipping. I’ve even inherited a beautiful traditional leather boxer’s rope, with wooden handles, which turns at an astonishing clip. It’s far away in England but I shall show you sometime.

jump rope © elisa rathje 2011

Our little one is just getting the knack of skipping. We occasionally pull off a run of three or four jumps together, turning for her. Happiness. It’s far easier for her to develop rhythm, timing, and stamina with the group ropes before taking on the work of turning a little rope all by herself.

<jump rope © elisa rathje 2011

Our tall one is refining her technique of running in and out, and loves a good rhyme. I’ve been collecting a few bits of jump rope poetry that we like to play with, leaning towards the romantic counting rhymes.

  • Ladybird, Ladybird, turn around,
  • Ladybird, Ladybird touch the ground.
  • Ladybird, Ladybird shine your shoes,
  • Ladybird, Ladybird read the news.
  • Ladybird, Ladybird, how old are you?
  • One, two, three, four . . . .
  • I can do a polka, I can do a split,
  • I can do a tap dance, just like this!
  • 1, 2, 3…
  • Calling in, calling out,
  • [Name] runs in when I run out!
  • Blue bells, cockle shells, easy, ivy, over
  • Ice cream soda, lemonade, punch;
  • Spell the initials of your honey bunch.
  • A-B-C-D…
  • Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry tart
  • Tell me the name of my sweetheart
  • A-B-C-D…
  • [Name] took me to the pictures
  • Sat me on his knee
  • And said Dilly Dilly Darlin’ will you marry me?
  • Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no…
  • She is handsome, she is pretty,
  • She is the belle of Belfast city.
  • She is courting, 1, 2, 3-
  • Please won’t you tell me, who is he?
  • Albert Mooney says he loves her.
  • All the boys are fighting for her.
  • They knock at the door and they ring at the bell,
  • Saying, ‘O my true-love, fare you well?
  • Out she comes as white as snow,
  • Rings on her fingers, bells on her toes.
  • Jenny Murphy says she’ll die
  • If she doesn’t get the fellow with the roving eye.
  • Let the wind and the rain and the hail blow high,
  • And the snow come shovelling from the sky,
  • She’s as nice as apple pie,
  • And she’ll get her own lad by and by.
  • When she gets a lad of her own,
  • She won’t turn around when she comes home.
  • Let them all call as they will,
  • For it’s Albert Mooney she loves still.

I re-learned how to run in after the rope starts turning, recently, and I’m proud of it! Now I am determined to learn to turn and skip double-dutch. I’m fond of social games that are good exercise, and I’d happily see more toys in the world that don’t require anything more than a fine day and a simple bit of something, like a skipping rope.

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