We grew up in little house in a large subdivision. These “subs” were popping up in the shadows of large cities all over America. They were the product of the post World War II Baby Boom. My siblings and I were born at the tail end of the boom, but our childhood, and I’m afraid now our aging years”, were dramatically impacted by the boom. As a child, it was great! New neighborhoods sprung up, and EVERY house was full of kids! It was a time when parents didn’t have to drive their children places for “play dates”. You simply walked over to a friends, stood on their porch, and with a melodic lilt, called out your friend’s name. “KAAARRRRRRREEEEEEEEENNNNN!!! (This proved to be a great time saver. Instead of ringing a bell, possibly waking up a sleeping child and suffering the wrath of a frazzled mom, you were able to announce from the porch, whom you came to see.) Of course, all those neighborhoods still exist, but there is now an age diversity in the families that live on those streets. There may be elderly couples with no children, quasi empty nesters with children away at school. Families with young children, and young couples that haven’t started families yet. But back then, you couldn’t shake a stick without hitting a kid 🙂

Not only were their children in each house, but there were sidewalks, much like the yellow brick road, that took you where ever you wanted to go! We used the sidewalks for many things other than just walking to school. We learned how to ride bikes on them, and we followed our moms around the block while they pushed our youngest sibs in prams. It was a seemingly unending outdoor chalkboard, with artwork that connected one house to another. BUT, in my opinion, the BEST thing about the sides was their ability to be turned into a hopscotch course by simply drawing lines diagonally from the corners, making a big “X”.

As with all childhood games, rules and courses varied, but below are some directions to get you and your children started!

Typically, a hopscotch course is drawn on a smooth, flat surface using chalk. You can find or create many variations but these were the 2 we used as children. (If you notice, Fairy has a slightly different course.)



Sidewalk Course  



Playground Course     

When drawing a hopscotch course on a sidewalk, simply draw lines diagonally, from corner to corner, creating an “X”. Number as diagramed. NOTE: The finally block is referred to as “Safe” “Free” or “Home”. It is a place to turn around and rest for a minute before starting back.

When drawing a hopscotch course on a blacktop playground or driveway, follow the pattern above making each square about 18″ wide, but you can play with size to see what works best. The squares need to be big enough so you can hop into it without stepping on a line, but they need to be small enough so you can hop over a block.

NOTE: You can find many more hopscotch courses on-line, or create your own once you know the rules.

Each player finds a small, flat stone or you can use bean bags.

The first time through the course, simply hop through it as follows: In the single blocks (1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12 in the sidewalk course and 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10 in the playground course) you hop into the square on 1 foot, and must stay on that foot hopping into the next square(s) until you reach double blocks. (2/3, 6/7, 10/11 in the sidewalk course and 4/5, 7/8 in the playground course) When you get to to the double blocks, you jump into them, placing one foot in each block.

Continue hopping and jumping until you get to the “Free” area. In the “Free” area, you can have both feet on the ground and turn around. Continue back through the course in the same way.

On your next turn, you must toss your rock into the 1st block. A block with a rock in it cannot be stepped on. So, on your first turn, you toss your rock into square 1, and you must jump over block 1, and continue hopping through the rest of the course. On your way back, when you are on block 2, you must bend over and pick up the rock in block 1. You can then hop in block 1 since there is no longer a stone in it, and finish the course.

On your next turn, you toss the rock into block 2. This continues until your have gone through all blocks.

Two People:
When 2 people played, we took turns after each try, whether you were successful or not. Other people play that 1 player keeps going until they commit a “foul”. The game is played as above, with the added complication of your opponent’s stone. You may not hop in a square that has a stone in it, whether it is yours or your opponent’s. The “winner” is the first person to successfully complete the last level.

EDIT: After a “foul” you lose your turn. When it is your turn again, continue at the last level you fouled out on.

You can “foul” out which ends your turn by:
*stepping on a line
*putting both feet down anywhere other than the double blocks or “Free” block
*putting a hand on the ground while picking up a stone
*tossing your stone into the wrong block

NOTE: When playing with younger children, you can modify the rules so it is not so frustrating. For example, when my children were young, they had to hop into the single boxes on one foot, but they could get their balance by putting both feet down before they continued to the next square.

Hopscotch is a wonderful summertime game. The only equipment necessary is chalk, a smooth surface, and a stone. After your children are familiar with the game, let them experiment with designing their own courses. I think you will find that they can come up with some pretty interesting and challenging ideas!

Were you a hopscotcher???




  1. I was a hopscotcher in my youth but we drew the grid in the dirt with a stick. Also had one that was drawn line a snail.

    1. I can remember making snail hopscotch courses too! Some of ours got so crazy they were almost impossible to do!  And I can remember making a course in the dirt with a stick, too, when we went to the park for picnics. Portable fun 🙂

  2. I went to Catholic school and there wasn’t room for a proper playground so we usually played on the parking lot. I remember one of the dads painted a few games on the blacktop for us. There was 4 square, which the boys always played and hopscotch. It was great fun to finally have something to do. I do remember, though, that he reversed the numbers on the side by side blocks. It drove me crazy! My little ones are still too young for hopscotch but I may just have to go out and make one for myself!

    1. Yep… that's the kind of thing that would make me crazy, too 🙂 But isn't it amazing how many things kids can find to do without a playground? Like jump rope and marbles and a ton of ball games!

  3. Your posts are always so entertaining to read. Thanks. We must be around the same age because our experiences are always so similar. I totally forgot that we use to stand on front porches and call out the name of our friends. WOW. As a girl we use to do the x thing on the sidewalk. So fast, so simple, so fun. My best friend lived a few doors down and sometimes we would make a hopscotch that spanned 3 houses! I taught my children to play and now we are teaching my grandchildren. We use to use bottle caps instead of stones.

    1. Thanks for sharing that memory. It reminded me that we use to do the same thing, trying to make the longest hopscotch course ever! Ah… summer fun 🙂

  4. I loved hopscotch growing up, but over the years I’ve sort of forgot how to do it (besides the hopping part). Thanks for sharing!

  5. I went to Catholic school as well, and have fond memories of playing hopscotch and foursquare on our equipment-less playground. My children have hopscotch on their summer wish list– thanks for the refresher!

    1. Again… as with all the games and rhymes I am sharing… these are my memories of how we played the games. Although, with these "tried and true" games, there are seldom one set of rules. Rather they tend to morph quite rapidly 🙂

  6. my dad actually busted out a can of paint and painted a hopscotch course (and a foursquare square) on the driveway for us. I can’t remember any of them now, but I made up all sorts of other games too using those painted boxes, and often just went and hopped around by myself even when the other kids weren’t available. They’ve mostly worn off now, but are still faintly visible…and oh the memories 🙂

    1. What an incredible dad! When I write a post on ball games, I'll be sharing some of the games we played with 4 square boxes. If it triggers any memories, I hope you'll share your games then, too 🙂

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