Hopscotch and Other Games

This afternoon I picked up an item from my junk drawer and noticed that it sports a metal bead chain with a clasp that holds the two end beads together. When I was young, these bead chains were used as key chains, and they were prized as hopscotch markers. I considered the chain for a minute, wondering if I should save it for one or the other of my younger granddaughters to use when she is old enough to play hopscotch in a few years.

Do girls today still play hopscotch? I wondered, thinking back to the endless hours I used to spend drawing hopscotch grids on sidewalks with whatever chalk I could find. I drew them at home to practice. I drew them at school during recess and before class for competitive play with friends.

Curious about the state of things today, I checked the web and found several links to sites, like Streetplay Rulesheets, that explain the rules. In my day we drew a grid like the one in the picture here. There are many ways to draw them, as you’ll find with a quick search.

Quite surprisingly, from Wikipedia I learned that the game was originated by the Romans for soldiers, to improve their footwork. Maybe if boys today knew that, they’d be more likely to play!

Several of the websites I visited on this quest have rules for other games like Kick the Can, Red Rover, Simon Says, and so forth. What games did you play as a youngster, at school and in the neighborhood? Who did you play them with? Were you especially good at them? Have you taught any to your children or grandchildren?

If you want to share some of your old favorites but don’t quite remember how they went, do a web search, or go to the children’s room at your local library and ask the librarian to help you find a book with the rules. They’ll surely be there, along with pictures and diagrams.

Now, maybe I’ll call my older granddaughter and ask her about hopscotch. If she and her friends play this game, I might mail her the chain, and maybe I’ll put a couple of metal washers on it to give it more weight and heft. I used to be quite good at making markers that always landed on target.

Maybe I’ll also write a story or two about those games we used to play, and include the rules in the stories. Who knows? They might be a welcome diversion from Game Stations in another few years.

Have fun, and write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal

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