Once toddlers are running, climbing on furniture and managing stairs they are ready to practice jumping!
At first their feet may only just clear the ground, but with practice and maturity they will graduate to jumping off a small beam or step, to jumping over a low obstacle to eventually jumping for a distance (long or broad jump) or height (vertical leap). These skills continue to mature and be refined throughout the lifespan with practice.
Benefits of Jumping:
Improves balance and coordination
Is a whole body exercise
Improves cardio-vascular health
Improves bone density
Improves muscle strength
Jumping is also Fun!
Jumping is somehow closely linked to our emotions of joy and excitement. We sometimes involuntarily jump for joy and throw our arms up in the air when expressing emotions.
Jumping is a whole body exercise which is comprised of the preparation phase (bending of the knees, hips, arms swing backwards), the take off phase (arms are propelled forwards and upwards as the body pushes off from the ground) and the landing phase (the arms come down to extend in front of the body and the feet land together with knees and hips bent). This requires motor planning and sequencing skills.
Jumping should not be done for extended periods of time and should be balanced with other forms of physical activity in order to avoid any stress related injuries.
Click below to download some fun jumping activities!