On playgrounds all around the world, millions of children amuse themselves in the same way. With a simple rope and a skip in their step, they jump until their hearts are racing. Jumping? With a rope? That's right! We're talking about jumping rope today in Wonderopolis.
No one knows for sure how jumping rope got its start. Some believe it may have started in medieval Europe, while others believe it began in either China or Egypt. Wherever it got started, children have been enjoying this fun game for hundreds of years.
As you probably already know, you can jump rope all by yourself. Some of the most fun games, though, require multiple ropes and several people. One of those games — Double Dutch — has been popular for many years on playgrounds everywhere.
Double Dutch involves at least three people: two people swinging two ropes in circles (like an eggbeater) while one or more others jump into the fray. Singing songs or fun chants is all part of the fun. Some kids even choose to enliven things by attempting various tricks as they jump.
Historians believe Dutch settlers brought the game of Double Dutch to the port city of New Amsterdam (now New York City). Since that time, it's been a playground staple that most kids play at one time or another.
Jumping rope is more than just a fun game, though. Did you realize that some people, including many adults, jump rope to stay healthy? It's true! Jumping rope is a great cardiac fitness exercise that some scientists believe can burn as many as 1,300 calories per hour!
Physical therapists also often encourage people with knee and ankle injuries to jump rope in order to strengthen their leg muscles. Scientists believe jumping rope can be safer than running for many individuals, since impact with the ground occurs with the ball of the foot instead of the heels.