Want to know the actual rules of Hopscotch? You’re in the right place!
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, plus some fun variations. 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 Roman Road, 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, use chalk (sidewalk chalk is the best kind to use). If you’re inside, you can delineate the hopscotch pattern with masking tape or painter’s tape.
The hopscotch design pictured above is the traditional version, but you can find other hopscotch diagrams online, or get creative and come up with you own.
At the top of the grid is a large half circle shape with the number ten drawn inside. Connected to that is a numbered square coming off the middle of the half moon with a nine drawn inside.
From there, you draw two side squares that are wider than the nine with seven drawn in the left square and eight drawn inside the right square. You repeat the pattern for the next set of squares. The next square – the six box – is a single square, and the five and four boxes are double squares side by side.
For the last three boxes, you draw just one square (with no square next to it) for three, two, and on. (Some variations of this grid have the one and two boxes side by side as single squares.)
You can also create a spiral court, like the one pictured here:
No matter what design of the court you choose, the basic rules will stay the same.
Remember, if you don’t have chalk or are paying hopscotch inside on a rainy day, you can delineate the grid with masking tape, painters tape, electrical tape, or duct tape.
Now that you’ve created your Hopscotch Court, you’re ready to play!
Basic Rules of Hopscotch
Following the basic hopscotch rules is not difficult. It’s the simplicity of the game that has made it so popular over the years. Even younger children can catch easily with a little practice.
The traditional rules have the first player lining up at the starting line and throwing a small stone, bean bag, small rock, bottle cap, or other small object in the first square of the hopscotch grid. (If it lands in the wrong square, outside the square or on the line, the player loses their turn.)
Note: It helps if the rock you use is a flat stone rather than round and bumpy.
The first person then 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!
If you’ve mastered the traditional way to pay, you can easily spice things up a little. Try one of these amazing hopscotch variations, each with their own set of rules. Or try to come up with you own version of the game!
1. Random Toss
Instead of going in order of the numbered squares, toss the small rock and see where it lands.
2. 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. This is a great game for really competitive kids.
3. Can You Kick It?
For a fun twist, try kicking the marker from one space to the next with your hopping foot as you make your way through the course.
Label each hopscotch square with the name of a category (animals, ice cream flavors, pizza toppings, 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.
5. 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 – Kids will increase physical activity as they engage in this active hopping game.
- Master Body Control – As they switch from one foot to the other, trying to stay within the hopscotch grid, they will gradually learn to control their own body more effectively and improve their physical agility.
- Manage Body Rhythm – Good hopscotch players manager their body rhythm well as they hop from one square to the next.
- Build Balance – Hopping on one foot requires balance and core strength, so hopscotch is a great way to build these skills.
- Strengthen Hand/Eye Coordination – Throwing the rock into a square is a good way to help build hand-eye coordination.
- Build Social Skills – Hopscotch is a social game that you play with others, so your child will build social skills while they are having fun.
So, there you have it! We hope you have enjoyed learning the official rules and variations of this fun game. Whether you play indoor hopscotch or enjoy an easy outdoor game, you can keep your kids active all year long.
The next time the kids are bored, whining, and don’t know what to do, start up a simple game of hopscotch and win the day!
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!