Instructions for Chinese Jump Rope

Striped jump rope on yellow background

A game of Chinese jump rope involves moves similar to hopscotch. Although it is traditionally a children’s game, Chinese jump rope can be part of an adult’s fitness routine as well. It builds stamina, agility and balance. In this game for three or more players, jumpers complete a sequence of moves jumping over an elastic rope held by two other players. Chinese jump ropes are readily available at toy stores, in toy departments and online. For very little cost, a Chinese jump rope can provide fun and encourage physical fitness for players of all ages.

Position two players, the rope holders, facing each other at a distance of four to six feet on a level, hard surface with their feet shoulder width apart. Place the Chinese jump rope around the outside of their ankles so it is taut and forms a rectangle.

Agree on a pattern of jump moves before the game. A common jump move is “2-4-6-8” in which the jumper jumps from side to side, straddling opposite sides of the rectangle between the rope holders. With the “In-Out” move, both feet land inside the rectangle on the first jump and outside on the second. For the “In-On” move, both feet land inside on the first jump then on opposite sides of the rope on the second. For the “Crossover” move, the jumper jumps from outside the rectangle on one side over to the opposite side, catching the near side of the rope as she jumps, thus crossing one side of the rectangle over the other. The jumper’s feet will be inside the crossed-over rope and she then jumps straight up out of the rope to release it. A typical move pattern includes all of the moves, ending with the jumper’s feet on top of opposite sides of the rectangle.

Start outside the rectangle with both feet on the ground. Complete the agreed-upon move pattern without pausing between moves. Call out the name of each move as you do it. Your turn ends when you make a mistake, pause between moves or complete the entire move pattern successfully.

Change places with one of the rope holders after your turn. Now the rope holder becomes the jumper. When the first rope holder completes his turn, he changes places with the second rope holder, who then gets a turn.

Raise the Chinese jump rope so it is around the rope holders’ knees. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until all players have had a turn.

Move the jump rope so it is around the waists of the rope holders. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 again until all players have had a turn.

Vary the game by changing the move pattern after everyone has had a turn. Have the rope holders hold the rope around one ankle or have them spread their feet wider to alter the width of the rectangle for the next round. Challenge the jumpers to invent their own moves.


Make your own Chinese jump rope by tying six to eight feet of elastic in a loop. Players can perform the move patterns with their hands if the game becomes too challenging when the rope moves higher or if the player has a physical challenge.


Playing on soft or uneven surfaces such as the lawn may cause the players to turn ankles or incur other injuries.