Bring Back the "Old" Games

By , September 7, 2007 10:33 am

I walked out of my front door yesterday and was delighted to see this graffiti on my driveway:

My kids had been playing Hopscotch! I wonder how many children today even know what Hopscotch is, let alone how to play it. Probably if you are interested enough in my blog to be reading it, then your children know how to play games like Hopscotch, so I am “preaching to the choir” here, but I want to write about it today anyhow!

My parents were English and I remember my Mom teaching me to play hopscotch when I was little. I taught my friends, and we all used to play this fun hopping game. So, it was a real pleasure for me to see my children enjoying it too.

As I researched this post, I discovered that Hopscotch began as a military training exercise in ancient Britain during the time of the early Roman Empire. Soldiers had to hop across a 100′ field while in full armor and carrying all their equipment. This was thought to increase stamina and agility for battle. Roman children copied and modified the game drawing a smaller court and adding a scoring system. Thus, the Hopscotch game was born and was soon played by children all over Europe. Interesting, isn’t it!

Teaching children the “old” games is a great way to get them outside and away from TV and video games. Plus, since it seems we soon may have no more un-recalled toys left in our playrooms, Hopscotch is a perfect game since it requires only some chalk (preferably chalk that was NOT made in China) and a flat stone.

If you need to refresh your memory, check out the BBC Schools website for detailed
rules of how to play this old game (apparently popular with children in Victorian England). The site also has a short video of a girl playing hopscotch so you can really see how it is done!

My good friend Wishy, who has lived in India, told me about a variation of hopscotch that all the children played there. I believe that the rules of “Indian Hopscotch” are basically the same, but she said that they draw the boxes really, really big so the hopping part is much more challenging.

A few more Hopscotch links:

Hopscotch 101 (History, rules, variations, etc.)
Hopscotch by Dagonell the Juggler (Brief history and different variations)

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One Response to “Bring Back the "Old" Games”

  1. Jenny says:

    I played hopscotch as a child- I don’t remember where I learned about it though!I think my grandma may have given my sister and I a set of jacks too. Those were the “good old days” before hand held video games!

    [Reply]

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