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An image of hopscotch on the ground.

How to set up and play a hopscotch game

Kids all over the world have been playing hopscotch – or something very close to it – for decades. There’s just something about the combination of luck, skill and well, hopping that just appeals to everyone. So how do you play hopscotch? It may have been a while since you last leapt your way across a chalk grid on the school playground, so refresh your memory with these simple hopscotch rules for kids. 

How to play hopscotch

For lots of hopping fun, share these easy hopscotch rules before the game begins.

  • Draw a court of 10 numbered squares on the pavement, playground, patio or the beach, as shown in the picture above.

  • Throw a pebble into the first square (no.1) to begin the game.

  • Skipping the square with the pebble, hop from one square to the next right up to the end of the court (no.10). Then turn back, collecting the pebble before you finish. Then it’s the next player’s turn. 

  • Remember: if a player manages to throw their pebble into the right square, and finishes their lap without any mistakes, they can start with the next numbered square (no.2) on their next go. If they make a mistake – oops – they’ll have to try to throw the pebble into the same square again. 

  • The first player to reach 10 wins the game!

Top tip: There are plenty of ways to draw a hopscotch court, so the rules can vary. When two squares sit side by side, you can jump on them with both feet, with your left leg in the first square (e.g. no.4) and your right in the next (e.g. no.5). “Safe” numberless squares can be stood in normally, so use them to catch your breath!

Other ways to play a hopscotch game

Once your kids have mastered the classic rules of hopscotch, why not mix it up a bit with these five fun variations?

  1. Kick the pebble. One historical version of the hopscotch game involves kicking the pebble (rather than picking it up) on the way back. This is pretty challenging, as both your throwing and kicking skills have to be good to make it to the finish!

  2. Sign the square. Keep the chalk handy for this one! Player A throws the pebble on a random numbered square. If they can complete the course and pick up the pebble with no mistakes, they can claim the square and sign their name. Player B then follows suit. The player with the most signed squares at the end wins the game.

  3. Time your game. If your kids like to do everything at speed, this version of hopscotch will go down well. Pick a reasonable time in which players should be able complete a turn, and start the clock. If a player fails to return within the set time, then they miss their turn. 

  4. Twist the court. This dizzy-making version is called ‘Escargot’ (‘snail’) in France. Draw a spiral court. Players then have to hop to the centre and reverse back out again. If a player wins a square, they can initial it, and are allowed to put both feet in it on their next turn (others still have to hop over it, though). The player with the most squares wins.

  5. Add a challenge. Getting tired of the classic hopscotch rules? Add a few creative challenges of your own to the game to keep it fun. Choose a couple of different moves, like spinning around or touching your toes, and assign them to squares on the court. Hopscotch is even more fun if you have to do a little dance on all the even numbers.

Once you know how to play hopscotch, it's simple enough to make up your own extra rules so that it’s a new game every time – hours of fun can be yours. And with Persil liquid ready to do all the hard work at the end of the day, there's no need to worry about chalk stains on clothes. So draw up a court, and hop to it!

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