How To Play Hopscotch And Some Other Fun And Free Games To Play For Health And Happiness

Games lubricate the body and the mind.
~ Benjamin Franklin

How to play hopscotch? I have found that it is often the most simple games that can be the funnest to play. Hopscotch is one of those. The rules are easy and simple but the games is not necessarily super easy as you’ll see when you start to play it and depending on how long your court is. You can see a picture of what the “usual” court looks like in hopscotch games as a carpet that can be used indoors.

But before we get to the actual rules of hopscotch or how to play the game hopscotch, let’s enjoy a quick review of the game and how it came to be.

The first recorded history we have of the game hopscotch comes to us from 1677 found in Poor Robin’s Almanac. In that almanac at the time the game of hopscotch is known as “Scotch-hoppers” maybe as a reference to it having been first identified in the United Kingdom at least as a Scottish game.

Hopscotch is nowadays known as a children’s schoolyard game but in fact, back in the day i.e. the 18th century (1700s) it seems that even adults “lawyers and doctors” played hopscotch.

The Oxford Dictionary puts the origin of hopscotch in the 19th century from the formation of the words Hop + Scotch.

Hopscotch is a game that seems to be universally loved and enjoyed by children the world over. In India hopscotch is known as Stapu or Kith-Kith. In Spain Rayuela, South America it is known as golosa. In Poland it is called klasy. The Italians know hopscotch as campana or mondo. The Persian term is LayLay. It is called Escargot in French and Himmel und Holle in German.

There are ofcourse other names for hopscotch in other countries, but those are the more well known versions.

Okay, let’s play hopscotch.

How to play hopscotch
The first thing you need to do is set up a court. You can use an indoor court that is normally made from foam or carpet. Or you can chalk up your own court for playing outside.

Many kits that you can buy have a book with how to draw up your own hopscotch court. But here and here are images of the classic hopscotch courts and here is the more familiar modern hopscotch court.

The first thing you need to do is figure out who is going to go first. Hopscotch can have any number of players, from 1 onwards.

A good way to determine who goes first is to flip a coin, do rock, paper, scissors or use die depending on how many players you have.

Each of you will need a marker. This marker can be a bean bag, a stone, a coin a casino chip it really doesn’t matter.

As you can see from the above images, the hopscotch court is a ladder of single squares as well as double squares side by side that go up to the number 10 or so. There is nothing to say you can’t make your court longer than that either for a more challenging game.

The first square closest to you is numbered 1 and continues numbering up as you go to the end or the “home” of the court which is usually the last base at the top. Usually this “home” base is a circle or semi-circle and is considered a safe place and even though it is only one base it can be landed on with both feet.

So to start, you take your marker and throw it into square 1. Then you hop up all the squared until you reach the end or “home”. However, the square that your marker is in, in this instance square 1, must be hopped over, you can’t land on it. Single squares must be hopped into with only one foot and side by side squares must be straddled – the left foot in the left square and the right foot in the right square.

When you reach home you can rest for a moment and then you turn around and go back to the beginning the way you just arrived. So you’ll start in square 9 let’s say and then move to 7 & 8 if they are a double square and then 6 etc. When you arrive in square 2 you are on one foot and you pick up your marker which is in square 1 and hope over it to land at the beginning.

Then you throw your marker from the starting point into square 2 and repeat the hopping and straddling up and down the court missing square 2 this time. You again pick up your marker when you are returning to the beginning while in square 3 etc. And on and on you go until your turn comes to an end.

This is how your turn at hopscotch comes to an end. If you throw your marker and it lands on a line or bounces out of the court of bounces into the wrong square your turn ends.

If when you are hopping or straddling up and down the court your foot or feet land on a line your turn ends. If you land with both feet in a single square your turn ends. If you fail to pick up your marker on the return journey your turn ends. If you land on the square with your marker in it, your turn also ends.

When your turn ends your friend begins. When there turn ends, depending on how you decide to play, you either start off from the beginning again or you can start from where your last turn ended.

That’s how you play hopscotch. Simple really isn’t it. And free fun for all. But trust me as you’re trying to throw your marker into the higher numbered squares it gets progressively harder!

Another fun and free kid’s game to play is called Red Light, Green Light. It is so easy that even toddlers can play this fun outdoor kid’s game.

How to play the kid’s game Red Light, Green Light
One person is designated the traffic cop or “it”. I prefer to call them the traffic cop. All other kids start about 20 feet or further (closer for younger kids, further away for older kids) away from the traffic cop.

The traffic cop faces away from the other kids and the goal of the other kids is to touch or tag the traffic cop so that they can become the traffic cop.

To begin, the traffic cop yells “green light” and the kids start moving towards the traffic cop. The traffic cop can then yell “red light” any time he wants to. As soon as the traffic cop yells “red light” she spins around and if she finds any of the kids moving when she spins around they have to start from the beginning.

Then the traffic cop will turn around again facing away from the other kids and yell “green light”. This continues until the traffic cop has been tagged and someone else becomes the traffic cop and the fun begins again. This game can be played literally for hours.

The key to becoming good at the kid’s game Red Light, Green Light is to move quickly but not so fast that you can’t stop on a dime!