Many parents report that a mini tramp is the best thing that they ever bought for their child with ASD and a lot of families own them so that their child can jump in a designated place. Jumping, I hear from my Occupational Therapist friends, is a very calming and organizing sensory activity. I try to create games that use these little trampolines because kids have them at home. Bop & Jump is one of the most loved games at our clinic and many a child has come in the clinic front door chanting You can't get me! You can't get me! Bop! Sometimes, not one word of this chant is intelligible but the melody is reproduced well enough to communicate the child's intention to play Bop & Jump, and play it soon! In other words, this game is very popular with kids.
Watch the video clip below and then read the rest of this post.
Bop and Jump teaches many things, depending on what language is used and who plays it with your child. One thing that it teaches particularly well is that there are different roles in a game (and a conversation) and each player (or speaker) may play different roles at different times. Here are the Bop and Jump player roles:
- Bopper--who stands on a designated spot, in our case a big orange flower placemat, and eventually bops the jumper with the very soft ball
- Jumper--who jumps up and down on the trampoline until the bopper, bops him or her with a very soft ball.
- Waiter--who sits in a chair and waits to be a Bopper or a Jumper (this role is only needed if more players are participating)
All the roles in this game may require hands on assistance when a child is first learning to play the game. Many children get mixed about who does what at the beginning. Parents need a very soft and safe place for the child to jump onto when bopped. I often start by just picking kids up and dropping them onto the Bop landing spot after they have been bopped. It is easier than explaining it and kids like to be picked up and dropped in a soft place anyway. Part of the charm of this game is the chant, so use this chant or another one with enthusiasm.
Parental Warning: Do not play this game if you think your child could get hurt doing it. Use your judgement on this "spot" your child (meaning help him or her jump safely) if your child needs to be spotted to be safe.