How To Play Hopscotch: Basic Rules and Five Variations

Hopscotch is a traditional playground game for kids. Keep reading to learn how to draw hopscotch, as well as six different ways to play.

Jumping child playing hopscotch
Photo: FluxFactory/Getty Images

It's no wonder hopscotch has stood the test of time! The playground game requires nothing more than chalk and a small object, and it can be played alone or with multiple people. Kids can also stick with the traditional rules or make up their own fun variations. If your kids are new to hopscotch, teach them the classic rules. You can use the hopscotch diagram pictured below the instructions for inspiration. Here's how to play hopscotch in multiple different ways.

How to Play Hopscotch

If your kids are new to hopscotch, teach them how to play with the classic rules:

  1. Draw a traditional hopscotch diagram like the one below. (Chalk is best for asphalt and pavement outdoors. If you're playing inside, use masking or painter's tape.)
  2. Throw a small stone, twig, beanbag, or another marker into the first square. (If it lands on a line, or outside the square, you lose your turn. Pass the marker to the following player and wait for your next turn.)
  3. Hop on one foot into the first empty square, and then every subsequent empty square. Be sure to skip the one your marker is on.
  4. At the pairs (4-5 and 7-8), jump with both feet.
  5. At 10, hop with both feet, turn around, and head back toward the start.
  6. When you reach the marked square again, pick up the marker—still on one foot!—and complete the course.

If you finished without any mistakes, pass the marker to the next player. On your next turn, throw the marker to the next number.

If you fall, jump outside the lines, or miss a square or the marker, you lose your turn and must repeat the same number on your next turn. Whoever reaches 10 first, wins.

5 Fun Hopscotch Variations

Looking for new ways to play? These five fun hopscotch games make things more challenging.

Watch The Time: Set the timer for 30 seconds. Each player must complete the course within the time frame to proceed. If you go into overtime, you lose your turn.

Sign On the Line: Instead of throwing the stone in numerical order, toss it in any square. When you complete a successful turn, initial the square where your marker landed and pass it to the next player. The game ends when all spaces have been initialed. The person with the most initialed squares wins.

Kick It: Try kicking the marker from space to space—with your hopping foot—as you jump through the course.

Name Categories: Label each hopscotch square with the name of a category (books, animals, pizza toppings, desserts, etc.). When you hop into a square, you must shout an item in its designated category. If you land in pizza toppings, for example, you might say pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, sausage, peppers, or bacon. You lose your turn if you can't think of an item in that category, or if you repeat another player's item.

Rearrange the Squares: You don't need to draw the traditional hopscotch course. Look up new ideas online, or brainstorm new courses yourself. Get creative and see where your squares will lead you!

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