How to play Jump the River, a game to develop gross motor skills.

Jumping a skill first developed typically in toddler years, but not perfected until adolescents or even adulthood! Young children love the opportunity to practice their jumping, especially in a fun and playful manner. Played either indoors or out, the Game of the Week is Jump the River!

Group Size: 

 Any size

Age Group: 

 Preschool-Grade 1

Length of Activity: 

 Under 10 minutes

Developmental Goal: 

 Develop gross motor skills and coordination


 Jump ropes, hula hoops, chalk or tape

Before You Start: 

Skills Practiced: To develop locomotor skills and stability movements

  • You can also use hula hoops or tape lines on the floor.
  • To assist children in learning the fundamentals of jumping, have children practice by taking off on two feet and by swinging their arms forward when they jump.

Set Up: 

Place an object or two lines of tape or jump rope on the ground/floor for players to jump over.

How To Play: 
  • Explain to the children that they are taking a walk in the woods and may need to cross a stream or river. Ask children to walk throughout the space and when they come to a river (rope, hoop, or tape line on floor) they need to jump over the river without getting their feet wet. Children should work independently of their classmates during this activity.
  • When landing, children should land on two feet spreading their feet about shoulder width apart so they have a wide base of support when they land. After landing, children should proceed to and jump over the next river. Emphasis should be placed on landing on both feet at the same time without falling over.

  • Ask children to draw or paint their own rivers on large sheets of paper. Make sure they draw fish, trees, and other objects in and alongside their river. Tape children's drawings to the floor and pretend that the class is going on a trip. When children reach the different rivers scattered throughout the room they must swing their arms and jump over the river, landing on the other side without falling over.
  • Teachers may also want to integrate this idea with a book they read to children about rivers or ways people travel.

Find more new and exciting games in our games database!

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