Saturday, May 21, 2011

365 Days With Kiddos - #32 - Play Hopscotch

Can you believe that in our neck of the woods it is still snowing once and awhile? When we are lucky enough to have bare, dry pavement we like to play hopscotch. The combination of sidewalk chalk, numbers, and exercise make for educational and giggle-inducing fun. Hopscotch screams childhood to me, so I was surprised to learn that it was originally used as a military training exercise during the early Roman Empire in ancient Britain. Wearing field packs while clad in full armour, the foot soldiers took the games seriously in an effort to improve their foot work. Apparently the courts were over 100 feet long, something that might be fun to replicate someday. I can see giving that a whirl on the sidewalks of Banff with a bunch of local kids. Why stop at 100 feet, let's make it 1000! Anyway, children began to mimic the soldiers by drawing their own boards, making up rules, and soon all of Europe was in on the fun.

All you and your kids need to make a board is a piece of chalk. You can even make your own using the sidewalk chalk tutorial I wrote for Craftbits. Your grid can be whatever combination of single and double (side by side) squares you like. You can check here for some images to inspire you. One variation we like to use is to write letters instead of numbers inside our squares.

Here are the rules to hopscotch, for players of two or more, thanks to mmesichaskville by Amazon.
1. Draw a hopscotch pattern on the ground or use masking tape on a floor and number each square in order. Each player has a marker such as a stone, shell, bean bag, etc.
2. Stand at the beginning and toss your marker in the first square. Hop over square 1 (you must skip any square that has a marker in it) to square 2.
3. Hop through the grid on one foot unless there are two squares side-by-side, then you jump landing with one foot in each square.
4. Hop to the end, jump and turn around 180° without leaving the grid, and hop back.
5. Pause in square 2 to pick up the marker, and out.
6. Toss the marker in square 2, hop through the same way, then square 3 and so on.

You're out if:
• Your marker fails to land in the right square.
• You hop on a space that has a marker in it.
• You step on a line.
• You lose your balance when bending over to pick up the marker and put a second hand or foot down or hop outside the grid.
• You hop into a single space with both feet.

You then place your marker in the square where you will resume playing and the next player begins.

The player who is the first to hop all the way through the grid wins. I try to minimize the competition among my kids so we focus more on the fun than on who is the winner.

Do you and your kids play hopscotch? Do you play it using the rules above or do you have your own variations? Please leave a comment below if you want to share how your family likes to play...

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Hop scotch was a favourite of mine when I was a child. It is excellent for helping children with their balance and co-ordination, and they think they are just playing a game...