Medium Read | 5 mins
The famous ‘hop hop’ game.
If your kids have been saying they have been playing the ‘hop hop game’ in our sessions, this is it.
I will share firstly what is involved, how to set up, how to merge other learning points into the game, and ways to increase the challenge.
Before preparation questions
What is the outcome from this game? What do you wish the child to gain after completing this activity?
I work with my students weekly, so I already have an idea of their current Phonics level and Sightword knowledge.
For my students this game is to practice their sounds and sightwords in an active way that gets them up and moving in their environment.
Sometimes the focus is also more on the physical development side. As the child uses gross motor skills to jump, hop, crawl, bend and manoeuvre their bodies. They also train their spatial awareness skills to avoid obstacles and weave around.
Preparing the environment
This game can be played both indoor and outdoor, even at the beach!
A small living room can quickly be turned into an active space to learn.
The arrangement of the environment is partially determined by the dexterity and skill of your student/child.
These are questions I think about first:
- Can the child hop safely?
- Are there any dangerous objects nearby?
- Will this effect other people in the house or outdoor area?
Setting up the hopping pathway
Here are a few variables that determine the set up:
- Timeframe of the activity – Can be shortened or lengthened by number of cards/items, and the difficulty at each point of the path.
- Difficulty of the pathway – Know your student’s/child’s physical capabilities and the movements that may interest them.
- Does your student/child loose focus quickly? – Place interest-related toys/items along the path to motivate them when they reach certain stages.
- On the path challenges – Balance beam, a bridge to cross?
- Shape of the path – Do you want your student to go under, over, around obstacles, hop forwards, hop side to side? This creative aspect is up to you.
One example: I created a zig zag styled pathway, as I wanted my student to pivot at each 90 degree, to strengthen their torso muscles and agility. All while going through their current phonemes!
“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.”
– Dr Maria Montessori
Merging learning points
The content of the pathway is entirely up to your learning topic. The purpose is to ‘visually’ recognise whatever is along the path, one hop at a time.
I will share some ideas below:
- Numbers (refer image below)
- Vocab – in ANY language
- Phonics sounds
Increasing the challenge
Three ways to increase the challenge mentally:
- Whatever the levels of your topic are, go the next step, eg. go from single sounds to adding a blend (a to an, e to et etc.) For numbers you could increase the digits, or periodically count upwards. For vocab, the child could memorise the order as they go along (bat, ball, bag) and recall them at a midway point.
- Add a time limit (as long as the environment is safe to do so)
Five ways to increase the challenge physically:
- Add more obstacles to manoeuvre around, under or over.
- Include balance beam. They are a great way to get kids in control of their bodies and actions.
- Get children to stand on one leg for each point along the path – helps core balance.
- Increase the distance between hops (as long as it is safe to do so).
- Change the direction of the hop – Front, side and back and twist!
Fun hop hop variations!
I’l share five alternative ideas:
- Place a small toy on each card and children use tongs to put them into their own bucket as they go along (fine motor skills and pincer grip practice).
- Place a lego/duplo block on each card and the child unlocks the block when they say the vocab/sound. Then they can build something at the end!
- If your cards are waterproof like the Eduuplay Phonics cards, you can play in the water!
- Playing in outdoor environments – like on grass, sand and mud with barefeet is very much a sensory experience!
- Bring a friend to play along and take turns!
Hop Hop into your next learning experience!
If you have any other active learning ideas, we would love to hear!
(Early Years CTEYL)
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”– Benjamin Franklin