You know that the old school Hopscotch game from your childhood involves hopping around on one foot, but do you remember the actual rules?
We sure didn't!
But after some diligent digging and researching of this classic game, we found the Official Rules of Hopscotch, and now we're spreading the word.
The beauty of Hopscotch is that you don’t need any fancy equipment, it costs basically nothing, and it keeps the kids active all year long. Below, we’re outlining the rules of the traditional game, as well as some fun variations.
History of Hopscotch
Scholars believe that everyone's favorite playground game may actually be more than one thousand years old, originating in ancient Britain. It’s believed to have begun during the early Roman Empire, when the hopscotch courts were used for military training exercises and were over one hundred feet long. Roman soldiers would run the full course while dressed in their full armor.
Roman children began imitating them and developing a scoring system to turn it into a game. Throughout the years, hopscotch has spread throughout the world.
Sometimes you might see the world “London” written at the top of a hopscotch court. It’s a reminder of the Great North Road, which is a 400 mile road used by the Roman military that stretched from Glasgow to London.
How To Draw A Hopscotch Board
The first thing you'll need to do is draw or create a traditional hopscotch court like the one pictured below. If you’re outside, chalk will work well. If you’re inside, you can use masking tape or painter’s tape.
The hopscotch grid pictured below is the traditional version, but you can find other variations online, or get creative and come up with you own.
Now that you've created your Hopscotch Court, you're ready to play!
Basic Rules of Hopscotch
The first player lines up at the starting line and throws a small stone, bean bag, small rock, bottle cap, or other small object in the first square of the hopscotch grid. (If it lands outside the square or on the line, the player loses their turn.)
The player hops on one foot into the first empty square, and keeps going from there. At the pairs (4-5 and 7-8), you can jump with both feet. Do NOT hop into the square your marker is on. Hop all the way to the end of the court. At 10, hop with both feet, turn around, and start your return trip.
When you get back to the square with the rock in it, pick up the rock (while still on one foot!) and hop out.
If you finished perfectly, pass the rock to the next player. Now it's their turn!
On your next turn, throw the rock into the next number and repeat.
If a player steps outside of the line, lose their balance and falls, jump outside the line, misses a square, or hops into the square with the marker, they lose their turn and have to repeat the same number on their next turn.
Whoever reaches 10 first wins!
Want to spice things up a little? Try one of these variations, or try to come up with a creative variation that all your own!
Random Toss: Instead of going in order of the numbered squares, toss the small rock and see where it lands.
Timed runs: Set the timer for 30 seconds (or some other interval that works best for you). Each player must complete the course within the time frame. If you go over the time limit, you lose your turn.
Can You Kick It?: try kicking the marker from one space to the next with your hopping foot as you make your way through the course.
Categories: Label each hopscotch square with the name of a category (animals, ice cream flavors, movies, books, etc.). When a player hops into a square, they must shout an item in its designated category. You lose your turn if you can’t think of an item in that category, or if you repeat another player’s item.
Rearrange the Squares: Switch up the traditional hopscotch course. Search for new ideas online, or brainstorm new courses yourself.
Benefits of Hopscotch
This classic and simple game is much more than meets than eye. Besides being a whole lot of fun, Hopscotch offers a whole host of benefits to its players. It especially helps young kids to:
Increase Physical Activity
Master Body Control
Manage Body Rhythm
Strengthen Hand/Eye Coordination
So, there you have it! The actual rules to the classic game of hopscotch.
We'd love to see pictures of you and your family playing. Tag us (@mkewithkids) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You might show up on our social media!