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Hopscotch for Beginners: How to Play (Step-by-Step), Rules, and Variations

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Hopscotch game drawn with chalk on the asphalt

How in the world did children entertain themselves before the days of modern video games and digital gadgets? Of course! They went outside and played games like Tag and Hopscotch! Hopscotch is a timeless game that children all over the world have been playing for thousands of years. Even with all the modern devices today, kids still love playing this simple game.

Hopscotch is a lively game that is challenging, competitive, dynamic, and also fun! It can be played alone or with friends and requires only a marker to toss and some lines on the ground. On top of that, there are many fun variations besides the classic rules to play by!

Read on to find all about how to play Hopscotch, its rules, and exciting variations.

How to Play Hopscotch (Step-by-Step)

Step 1: Gather supplies

What do you need to play this game? Not much!

A few lines drawn on the ground and a small marker to toss is all this game requires. In some parts of the world, children use twigs to scratch out a Hopscotch court on the dirt and find a small pebble for a marker. Chalk works great in asphalt or concrete and masking tape for indoor play.

Then, you need a small marker that you can toss. Anything works as long as it is light and easy to throw. A bean bag, twig, small stone, button, bottle caps – whatever you have handy will do fine.

Step 2: Draw A Hopscotch Court

After you gather your supplies, the next thing you need to do is draw a Hopscotch court on the floor. You can make your court as large you want, but the traditional Hopscotch court has eight to ten squares. These squares can be alternated as single squares and double squares (side by side).

Most of the time, the tenth square is a rest spot – where the player can land on both feet. This space is larger than the other spaces and can also be drawn as an oval. Some call this place the “home” or “heaven.” Here, the players can put down both their feet, regain their balance, and turn around to retrace their steps.

Make sure that the squares are big enough to fit the foot. It should also be large enough that the tossed marker will not bounce and slide out too quickly.

Step 3: Throw The Marker

Now that you have created your Hopscotch court, you’re all set to play! However, if you have multiple players, you need to choose who goes first. As it goes with kids and games, deciding who goes first can be tricky. To make things simple, you can start from the youngest and move towards the oldest; also, there is always the good old “Eeny, meeny, miny moe” rhyme to help out.

The first player will toss the marker into square number one. The marker must land within the square and should not touch any lines. It must not bounce out of the square or land on the borders. If your marker touched any lines or landed outside the first square, you lose your turn and need to pass your marker to the next player. However, if you did get it, move on to the next step!

Step 4: Jump Through The Grid

The player who tossed the marker into the correct square will now begin hopping through the court in one foot. Each square will get one foot, but you cannot step on the square with the marker. For instance, if the marker is in the first square, the player will skip that and hop into the second square.

On places with two squares side by side, the player will put both feet down together – one on each square.

boy playing hopscotch on playground

Players should always have their feet inside the square. Losing balance, putting down both feet, touching the borders, or hopping into wrong squares means losing your turn.

Step 5: Turn Around and Retrace Your Steps

Once the player reaches the last space in the grid, they will turn around still on one foot and head back toward the start. Unless the final grid is a safe spot, then the player can land on both feet. 

Upon reaching the square right before the marker, the player needs to bend over and pick up the marker. Then, skip over the square that had the marker, and complete the rest of the grid. At this point, player number one has accomplished round number one.

The player will now pass the marker to the next player and let him have his turn.

Step 6: Repeat, Tossing Marker To Next Square

After all the players have had their first turn, the marker comes back to the first player. They will now throw the marker into the second square and go through the grid again. The game will be played the same way as before. The player will skip over the square with the marker while going up and down the grid.

Players who lose balance, step on the borders, or miss a square, will lose their turn. They will need to repeat the same number on the next turn.

The person who succeeds in tossing their marker into every square and completes the entire court first will be the winner.

Rules of Hopscotch

As any other game, Hopscotch has rules too:

  1. Toss the marker into the correct square. The player should throw the marker into the first square in round one, the second square in the second round, etc.
  2. Toss the marker within the border of the square. If the marker bounces off the square or touches a line, the player will lose his turn. They will wait for their next turn and attempt to throw it again correctly.
  3. Do not step into any lines. The player must land their foot in the middle of the squares. They will lose a turn if they lose balance, land on both feet, or cross any lines.
  4. Never step into the square that has a marker in it. The square that has the marker needs to be skipped both on the forward and return trips.

Six Variations of Hopscotch

1. Make A Time Limit

Any game is more lively and challenging when you add a timer to it. Set the timer to a specific time, and have each player go up and down through the whole Hopscotch court within that time. Additionally, you can lessen the time in each round to make it even more challenging.

Or, you could just use the timer to see who is the fastest!

2. Sign The Line

Signing the line is another fun variation of Hopscotch. Instead of tossing the marker into the correct place, players can throw the marker into any square they want in this variation. If they successfully complete the court, they can sign their name on that square – and no one can use that square anymore. 

Once all the squares are signed, the game will end, and the person who has the most squares signed is deemed the winner.

3. Kick The Marker

Kicking the marker is a more challenging version of Hopscotch that many kids around the world enjoy. Instead of tossing, players have to kick the marker into the square with their feet. This variation of Hopscotch requires a lot more precision and coordination.

4. Add More Squares

Exactly! You don’t have to limit your Hopscotch court to 8 or 10 squares. Your court can have up to 15 numbers or even more, if you want a true challenge.

5. Change The Shape

Kids game drawing on the pavement

Who said Hopscotch has to be squares and rectangles? You can draw your Hopscotch with circles or triangles or other crazy shapes!

6. Name Categories

You can give every square of your court a category such as animals, friends, fruits, or vegetables. When the player steps into a square, they have to yell out an item within the category. 

For example, if you land in fruits, you might say apple, orange, or grape. If you can’t think of an item quick enough or repeat a thing that was already named, you will lose your turn.

Final Words

For young children, hopping through a Hopscotch court can be absolutely exciting. But, Hopscotch is not only fun – it is a great way to keep kids active and moving, giving plenty of exercise and improving both mental and physical agility. So, now that you know how to play Hopscotch, it’s time to get out and engage your kids in this great game!

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.