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Traditional Children's Games: Hopscotch

Photo: Stormy Peters

Young boy playing hopscotch.

Young boy playing hopscotch
Photo: Thomas Peters
Young boy playing hopscotch.

Around the world, children have enjoyed drawing grids on the sidewalk or on the ground and then jumping or hopping from one end of the grid to the other.

Hopscotch is played in many countries, but the children who play it draw different kinds of grids. Some grids are like the one in the photo. Others are made of squares and circles.

Still others are round with squares curling in a circle, or they are large squares with smaller squares or triangles inside.

Here are descriptions of two versions of hopscotch games provided by students: one from Colombia and another one from Indonesia.


María C. López from Colombia

When I was a little girl, most afternoons I used to play games with my friends in our neighbourhood. Rayuela, as it is called in Spanish, was my favorite game.

How to Play Rayuela
There can be any number of players, and a stone is the only object you need to play it.

If you are the first player, you draw a figure on the floor with a piece of chalk. Then you throw the stone inside square one.

After that, you have to hop into each square, starting with square 1 and ending in square eight.

If there are two squares together, you jump landing with one foot in each square; but if there is only one square, you must hop on one foot. When you reach squares 7 and 8, you have to turn back jumping again until square 1. Then you continue playing the next level.

This time you begin by throwing the stone into square number 2. In the next level, you throw it into square number 3. You continue until level 8.

The first player who does all the levels is the winner. The most important thing is that the player has to skip the square where the stone is.

Rayuela grid
María C. López

Rayuela grid

Special Rules of the Game
The game has some rules. If an of the following things happen, the player has to stop and another player takes a turn.

  • The player can't put his/her foot or feet on the lines of the square.

  • The player can't jump with two feet in squares 1, 2, 3, and 6.

  • The player can't fall down.

It is nice to remember playing games like Rayuela because it reminds me that I had a happy childhood surrounded by special people who always loved me.

One-Leg Jump (Hopscotch in Indonesia)

Yohanes Lie from Indonesia

When I was a child, my friends and I used to play many traditional games from my country, Indonesia, and a game I played a lot was called One Leg Jump.

How to Play This Game
This game is very simple. We only need chalk if we play on the floor, or something like a stone if we play on the ground.

  • To play this game, we had to draw rectangles or squares arranged side by side. We drew four or five rectangles or squares about 1 foot by 1 foot each.

  • Any number of children could play. To play this game, each player had to hop to the first rectangle, then to the second one, and then to the third one, and so on.

  • After reaching the fifth rectangle, the player had to turn around still on one leg and hop back from the fifth rectangle to the first one.

Special Rules of the Game
There are some rspecial rules of this game.

  • While hopping, the player must not step on the line between the rectangles, and must keep his balance. If, for instance, the player's other leg (the one which is lifted) touches the ground, the player fails.

If a player breaks a rule, as punishment, the failed player must stand on one leg for about 5 minutes.

More traditional children's games:

Visit the Photo Gallery and view international students demonstrating traditional games they played as children

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