An animation: Skipping games

Children have been skipping with ropes since the 1700s; and skipping with hoops since the 1500s. In many playgrounds today, skipping is still as popular as ever. Skipping games can be musical, lively, sociable, and sometimes competitive. Girls and boys may choose to play on their own, seeing how many ‘skips’ they can do without stumbling, or they may play with a long rope, inviting players in to skip while chanting a particular song or rhyme such as ‘banana split’.

Illustrated by pupils from Monteney Primary School, Sheffield.

Some rights reserved.  ©  British Library Board / British Library

Girl 1:

300 or 400 years ago children played skipping with hoops.

Girl 2:

About 100 years ago boys and girls both skipped, but then 50 years ago it was mainly girls that skipped.

Boy:

Today lots of girls’ skip and a few boys skip as well.

Girl 3:

We sometimes like to skip to rhymes like.

All: [Singing]

Cinderella, dressed in yellow,
went upstairs to kiss her fella,
by mistake she kissed a snake,
and now she’s got a belly ache.

Girl 4:

Nowadays we don’t play French skipping, but our mums did, they skip with elastic around their ankles and then they did knees, with elastic around their knees.

Explore further

Related videos

Contemporary film still of boy skipping

Boy skipping very fast

Footage of a boy playing with a skipping rope - video

Film still of Michael Rosen speaking to camera

Michael Rosen on Skipping Games

Micheal Rosen introduces the tradition of skipping games. - video

Animation still with child's drawing of children playing skipping rope game

An animation: Skipping games

This film explores the fun and complicated skipping games that children play. - video

Historical film still of children playing a skipping game game in a street

Up down

This footage was recorded in Edinburgh in 1951 and shows girl performing the skipping rhyme 'Up and Down' - video

Related articles

""

Skipping games

Skipping games were once the most popular games in Britain but have recently been in decline, Julia Bishop explores the rise and fall of skipping games.

Related themes

""

Skipping games

Once the most popular games in Britain, skipping games have seen a recent decline in playground popularity. Explore more about their history, development and benefits here.