Hands-on History – Hopscotch

Hopscotch is an old traditional game that can still be fun today. With these easy steps, you can create your own hopscotch at home!

What you need:


A marker for each person playing. For example, a stone or a pebble.

The Rules & How to Play

Step 1 – Draw a hopscotch grid on the ground using chalk on a patio or concrete.

The squares need to be big enough to fit one foot in and to make sure that a stone thrown into it will not bounce out too easily. You can use any combinations of single or double boxes.

Step 2 – Throw your stone into square one.

The stone has to land in the square without touching the border or bouncing out. If you don’t get it within the lines, you lose your turn but if your stone lands in the square correctly, you go onto the next step.

Step 3 – Hopping and jumping through the grid.

Hop through the squares skipping the one you have your stone in. Each square gets one foot – your starting foot is up to you. Always keep your feet inside the appropriate square(s), if you step on a line, hop on the wrong square, or step out of the square, you lose your turn.

Step 4 –   Pick up the stone on your way back.

When you get to the last number, turn around and hop and jump your way back in reverse order. While you’re on the square before the one with your stone on, lean over and pick it up then skip over that square. You can’t jump or hop in a square from which you have just picked up your stone.

Step 5 – Repeat

When you completed your turn with the stone on square one, you then continue by throwing your stone onto square two on your next turn.

To complete the course, you travel with your stone by throwing it into each square.

The first person to do this wins the game.

Out of Play – If your stone lands on the borders or lines of the grid, you are unable to take your turn, and the next person should start.

Win – To win in a group, you must be the first to get back to the beginning having travelled through the grid in numerical order.

Win alone by getting back to the beginning successfully.

History of Hopscotch

We don’t really know who first played hopscotch. Some theories suggest it originated in ancient Rome where the soldiers used it for military training.

The Roman soldiers would have been dressed in full battle armour and trained to hop up and down a 100 foot-long series of squares that had been scratched into the ground to improve their strength and agility.

Or possibly, Roman children had drawn hopscotch courses and playing it for fun.

However it arrived, people have enjoyed playing hopscotch for many years and you can have a go now too.

Hands-on History activities are specially created heritage events for children. We usually run them on Tuesdays during the school holidays.