About Junior Hop project
Junior Hop project was born out of the passion for sports of a group of organizations that wish to tackle a European problem of children obesity by promoting voluntary activities in sport and awareness of the importance of health-enhancing physical activity through increased participation in, and equal access to, sport for all.
The coordinator of this project is the Junior Sport Association. Together with partners from Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Czech Republic, we have formed a consortium in the field of junior sport, with the aim to encourage the participation of children in sports.
The project will have a duration of 12 months and is expected to involve more than 200 members of sports organizations, more than 2500 children and more than 50 youth workers in the domain of junior sport.
After an intense awareness campaign in all the 5 countries participating about the benefits of sports among children and a seminar on the exchange of good practices between the youth workers in the field of junior sport on the innovative methods of teaching through games, we will organize in the European Week of Sport a hopscotch where are invited to jump over 2000 participants.
Our project brings added value at EU level through results as: one short movie with good practices in junior sport teaching from 5 countries; 1 seminar especially conceived for youth workers in the domain of junior sport, a Junior’s Guides with good practices and recommendations for the improvement of sport curriculum at the level of sports students that want to become sports teachers in primary and secondary school and also at the level of schools.
Through this project we will put the basis of a strong collaborative partnership, where public and private sectors work together to tackle big challenges as child obesity and poor curriculum in sports.
Playing hopscotch can help children develop their coordination and agility:
HOPPING can help children develop both physical coordination, balance, and cognitive development. For kids, it feels good to move, and when it feels good, they want to do it over and over again… just as the rules of Hopscotch require. On the other hand, hopping on one foot is one of the most complex movements the human body can perform.
DON’T STEP ON THE LINE – is a rule that can develop the body control, and makes the hopscotch so much fun. The mechanics of Hopscotch are so brilliant, forcing kids to hop, jump and stop with deliberate control. As such, Hopscotch is a master at helping children master self-control.
STOP & START – gives body rhythm. The thing about hopping is that in order to get good at it, you’ve got to get into a regular rhythm. Hopscotch gives kids lots of hopping practice, of course, which helps them find their rhythm. But more, the rules of the game require you to stop hopping, do something else, and then start again. And that’s the best practice of all for developing rhythm and also memory.
LEAPING – develops the muscles. Once children have tackled hopping, leaping comes next, which is also a big part of Hopscotch. As the game progresses, it’s often necessary for children to leap over two or more spaces at one time. Two-footed, that’s hard. But Hopscotch requires a one-footed leap, and that takes a lot of strength.
ONE-FOOTEDNESS – develops balance. A typical turn in Hopscotch looks something like this: Throw… stand… hop… stop… bend… pick up… straighten up… leap… jump… hop… hop… land… turn… and repeat. Doing all that on one foot is a real test of balance. Balance is an essential building block to all physical movement, and cognitive, emotional, and social growth as well. Hopscotch is ingeniously designed to challenge children’s sense of balance and orientation.
SPACES develops spatial awareness. The iconic spaces of a Hopscotch board determine the playscape, define the rules, and present the challenge. By fitting themselves into the boxes on the game board they are developing spatial awareness which helps them understand how they “fit” in the world and even more, how the world “fits” together, just like the spaces on a Hopscotch board.
PITCHING PEBBLES – develops eye/hand coordination. The game begins by pitching your pebble onto the game board. Until you get the pitch right, you can’t play, making Hopscotch a natural motivator for eye/hand coordination. This humble beginning is actually a test of a child’s ability to see a target with her eyes and translate that knowledge to her arm and hand to determine the right aim and amount of force necessary to reach the target.
PICKING UP YOUR PEBBLE – develops fine motor control. Achievement is part of every turn, signified by retrieving your playing piece from the game board. But Hopscotch doesn’t make it easy for little ones, which is all part of the fun. Stopping mid-way through the game board on one foot is hard enough. Now the rules requires the player to bend over and pick up their pebble. That takes a lot of body control and concentration. But Hopscotch adds one more wrinkle – the delicate control of the finger muscles to reach and retrieve the pebble.
STRATEGY – develops the ability of sequencing and prioritizing. Because the game board changes on each turn, children have to work out how they are going to approach it each time.
TAKING TURNS – good for social development. Hopscotch is a great “social campfire” for children. The simple, repetitive rules make it easy for children to learn and play and stay engaged in the game when it’s not their turn. Friendships begin on the playground because kid-sized social experiences like Hopscotch create the framework for learning about peer relationships.
WINNING/LOSING – is about character development. When light-hearted competition is introduced into play time, kids naturally push themselves to be better. No one needs to stand on the side-lines encouraging them. The natural, human drive to succeed is all the incentive they need to try harder. When children develop good sportsmanship, they are developing the skills and attitudes they’ll need for a well-balanced approach to life. Because in the end, winning feels great but losing build character.