This child’s skipping rope consists of a rope (about 1.5m long) with wooden handles each end. The handles are shaped so as to be comfortably gripped, with a long thin handpiece. On top of this is a spherical wooden piece through which the rope is threaded and knotted invisibly inside, to secure it. The spherical piece moves independently from the handle, so the rope can spin around whilst being used, and not become tangled.
This skipping rope could be used by an individual child, holding both ends; or played with by 3 children together, one on each end and the third jumping in between. The aim is to rotate the rope over the head of the skipper, and then under their feet, in a continuous sequence. The skipper has to judge the right time to jump so as not to interrupt the movement of the rope round and round their body. In its simplest form, the prowess of the skipper is judged by how many successive jumps they manage before tripping or becoming entangled. Many variations have been invented over the years, some of which involved the chanting of rhymes in rhythm with the jumps.
Whilst primarily intended as a toy for children in the playground or back garden, skipping has also proved popular with adults as a way of keeping fit. Boxers, in particular, have found skipping useful in their training routines. It requires balance, control, stamina and lightness of footwork – all considered important in boxing.
A new type of skipping game became all the rage in the 1970’s in New York – Double Dutch skipping. This uses two quite long skipping ropes, being spun alternately and simultaneously. The jumper(s) being required to skip from both feet alternately, rather than with two feet together. All sorts of complicated, speedy routines have been perfected and competitions were set up and became hugely popular.