Chinese jump rope is a playground game that takes a minimum of 3 people to play. Two players stand inside the Chinese jump rope and use their ankles to stretch it out in a big oval. This keeps the Chinese jump rope about six inches off the ground. The third player places one foot outside and to the right of the rope and the other foot outside and to the left of the rope. This player next jumps so that both feet land in the middle of the Chinese jump rope and the rope forms an "X" because it was dragged across during the jump. Then this player leaps out so that the rope returns to the original oval formation. The player continues to jump until she steps on the rope or is unable to maneuver both feet in or out of the oval as required. More elaborate steps can be invented and added as the players gain skill and creativity. The rope itself which can be easily made using rubber bands. This game is appropriate for children ages 8 and up.
Hold one rubber band loosely in one hand so that you can fit a finger into the center. Insert a second rubber band through the center of the first one about a third of the way. Then slip remaining part of the second rubber band around the side of the first rubber band and back through the center of itself. It will go into the loop inscribed by the first third. Pull the second rubber band all the way through so that it is tight. Two rubber bands will be linked together.
Continue chain-linking the rubber bands in the same way until all 36 rubber bands are connected in one long chain. The most difficult part of making a Chinese jump rope is to connect the first and last rubber bands so that the rope itself will be strong enough to stay linked during the game.
Connect the first and last rubber bands in the chain that will become your Chinese jump rope. Begin by pushing the last rubber band in the chain into the first one. It will seem that the entire rope is one very large rubber band going into the first one. Wrap the ends around the sides of the first rubber band, but do not pull the whole rope through the loop. Instead, pull the end of the last rubber band into the rope for the length of one rubber band only i.e. about 3 inches. Double it back through and around the first rubber band again. There will be close to two inches of rubber band available to tie around itself as when tying a knot in a piece of thread when sewing by hand. Tie a double knot.
Test the strength of your Chinese jump rope by stretching it out between two people. Then try putting around the ankles of two people and letting a third person jump in and out. One of the best things about this Chinese jump rope is that if it breaks while you are playing, all you need to do is to replace the rubber band that gave out. It is a cheap and easy toy to make yourself that you can continue to use for a long time.
Wear socks or long pants when playing Chinese jump rope to avoid minor injury in the event that the rope breaks. Be careful not to snap or hit anyone with the rope--it will act like a very large rubber band and can sting if it hits you.
Lesley Barker, director of the Bolduc House Museum, authored the books "St. Louis Gateway Rail—The 1970s," published by Arcadia, and the "Eye Can Too! Read" series of vision-related e-books. Her articles have appeared in print and online since the 1980s. Barker holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Washington University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Webster University.