Thursday, January 21, 2010

21. Skipping Rope

The Idea: "Playing" is an exhibition of intelligence: the smarter an animal is, the more that animal plays. By playing, we test out ideas and learn from the results—both failures and gains. The challenges and rewards of playing is part of what keeps us motivated to play. All play stimulates the brain, and many everyday forms of playing work the eye-brain connection that we call vision. The next few episodes of 31 Eyes focus on common kids' activities that can help the vision.

Set Up For Skipping Rope:
All you need is an ordinary jump rope, or a length of cord a little longer than your arm span. Work outside with plenty of space for jumping and looking off into the distance.

How To: Twirl the rope from the back of your heels and over your head. Look straight aheaddon't look at your feet or at the rope. Practice skipping rope just by knowing where the rope is. From here you can "up-level" by:
• Alternating with foot you skip with
• Jumping with both feet simultaneously
• Speeding up the swing of the rope
• Changing the direction in which the rope travels
For this exercise, be sure to keep looking straight ahead, working to skip the rope without getting your feet caught before progressing on to another stage.

What's Going On: By looking straight ahead while skipping rope, peripheral vision is strengthened, as well as spatial and movement awareness. The sense of vision also works with the senses of hearing, touch, and kinesthetics, getting the brain to work with all the senses integrally.

More Info:
• Marc Grossman describes skipping rope as a vision exercise in his book Greater Vision.

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