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Hop, Skip, and Jump: A Beginner’s Guide to Hopscotch Rules (2023)

Hopscotch is one of the most classic and beloved playground games of all time. It’s simple, fun, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Whether you want to play hopscotch with your kids, your friends, or by yourself, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about this timeless game.

In this guide, you’ll learn hopscotch and its history, basic steps to draw hopscotch board, hopscotch variations, and rules. As a bonus, you can explore the benefits of paying hopscotch for physical and mental health.

Ready to hop into action? Let’s get started!

What is Hopscotch, and Where Did it Come From?

Hopscotch is a playground game that involves tossing a small object, called a lagger, into numbered squares or rectangles outlined on the ground and then hopping or jumping through the spaces to retrieve the object. It’s mostly a children’s game though adults, even elders, can play with several players or alone.

The origin of Hopscotch is not clear, but some historians believe that it dates back to ancient Rome, where soldiers used to practice their footwork and agility. The game spread to other parts of the world through trade and colonization, and different cultures developed their versions and names for it.

The following are names of Hopscotch in different countries:

  • Iran – Laylay
  • France – Escargot or Marelle Ronde
  • India – Kith-Kith or Stapu
  • Ghana – Ampe
  • German, Switzerland, and Austria – Himmel und Holle

Hopscotch is still popular among kids and adults, as it offers a fun way to exercise, socialize, and learn. The game can also be adapted to different levels of difficulty and creativity by changing the shape, size, and number of squares on the board.

How to Draw a Hopscotch Board on the Ground?

What is Required to Draw a Hopscotch Board?

You’ll need chalk to draw on the ground and tape or paint if you want a permanent hopscotch board. You can use any flat that allows you to draw with chalk and play without disturbance.

How Many Squares in a Hopscotch Board?

The hopscotch board consists of 8 to 10 squares arranged in a linear pattern. They are numbered from 1 to 10, with 1 at the bottom with angle-wide or double-wide squares.

Type of Squares in a Hopscotch Board

The double-wide squares are usually the 4-5 and 7-8, placed side by side horizontally. You can also choose which squares to be single and double-wide. The last square, 10 or 8, is mostly extra wide and serves as a rest or stop area where you can regain your balance and turn around. They can also be nicknamed “heaven” or “home.” The German version of Hopscotch, Himmel, and Holle means Heaven and Hell.

5 Variations of Hopscotch Board

Variation 1: A Basic Hopscotch

A Basic Hopscotch

This is what the usual hopscotch board looks like. The baseline to start should be a step before square 1. When starting with this game, practicing with this model is better. This model is also known as plain hopscotch.

Variation 2: Variations to Add in a Basic Hopscotch

Variations to Add in a Basic Hopscotch

This variation of basic hopscotch is also called color hopscotch. You can use different chalk colors to get this done or get more involved by painting different colors to each square.

Variation 3: Multiple Shapes Hopscotch

Multiple Shapes Hopscotch

Now this variation of hopscotch is going on the difficult version. Because the shapes are set apart from each other, the players would be spending a lot of their energy hopping or jumping from one square to another. For better understanding, you can number or name each shape to guide the players.

When naming, you can get as creative as possible, from object names and pizza toppings to cities in your country.

Variation 4: Twisted Hopscotch

Twisted Hopscotch

You remember the term used for hopscotch in France, Escargot, meaning snail. The game here is the name; players can start from square 1, hop into the center, pick their lager, and make their way out.

When successfully achieved the game, players can mark their initials in the square, which will be their “heaven, home, or resting spot” in their next game.

Variation 5: Square Hopscotch

Square Hopscotch

You can call this variation swamp hopscotch too. Considering the square areas are dry lands and lines separating each square are wet or swamp. The player has to pick their lagger without getting wet or stepping on the damp.

The above are popular variations of hopscotch you can try playing. Try decorating each square, such as stars, flowers, animals, superhero symbols, or cartoon characters. Make sure they don’t interfere with the numbers or the lines of the squares.

How to Play Hopscotch Following the Classic Rules?

Now that you have drawn your hopscotch board, you are ready to play hopscotch following the classic rules. You will need a lagger, a small object that you can toss and catch easily.

Lagger can be:

  • Stone
  • Beanbag
  • Shell
  • Plastic button
  • Marker
  • Coin
  • Bottle cap
  • Washer

The following are the classic rules of the hopscotch game:

Rule 1

Decide who will go first. You can use any method you like, such as rock-paper-scissors, drawing straws, or tossing a coin.

Rule 2

The first player should stand in the baseline/ start square of the board and toss their lagger onto square 1. The lagger has to land inside the square without touching the border or bouncing out. If the player succeeds, they move on to the next step. If failed, they lose their turn and pass the lagger to the next player.

Rule 3

Let the first player hop through the squares, skipping the square with their lagger inside. The main rule of hopscotch is to use one foot to jump inside each square, except for the double-wide squares, where players can use both feet at the same time (one in each square).

Players must skip over the squares with the lagger inside. Players can’t place more than one foot on the ground at a time, step on a line, lose balance, or touch the ground with their hands. Doing any of these, the player must pass on the lagger to the next player.

Rule 4

Once the player reaches the end of the board (square 10 or 8), the player should turn around (remaining on one foot) and hop their way back in reverse order.

When the player gets to the square right before the one with the lagger in it, they should lean down (still on one foot) and pick up the lagger.

The important step for the player is to skip the square and finish up by hopping off the board behind the baseline. Given that we have considered the starting square to be 1 here. Imagine the player’s lagger is in square 2, then the player must skip square 2 and hop on to square 1, then complete the turn in the baseline.

Rule 5

If the player completes square 1 without any mistakes, they can advance to the next number. They toss the lagger to the next square and repeat the same process. If the player is to make a mistake during their second or third stage, the second player gets a chance to start. Player 1 may have to resume their stage when Player 2 makes a mistake.

Rule 6

Each player takes turns until someone wins. The players take turns tossing their laggers and hopping through the board until someone finishes all levels first. If no one finishes until the last square, then the one who farthest wins.

Well, the above are the basic rules in the hopscotch game. However, you can also make up your own rules or try some variations to make it more fun and challenging.

What Are the Benefits of Playing Hopscotch for Your Physical and Mental Health?

Playing hopscotch helps pass the time while also being good for your physical and mental health.

1. Improves Balance and Coordination

Hopping on one foot requires you to use your core muscles and stabilize your body. This helps you develop better balance and coordination skills that are useful for other activities like sports, dancing, or riding a bike.

2. Boosts Cardiovascular Fitness and Endurance

Hopping and jumping are aerobic exercises that increase your heart rate and breathing. This improves your cardiovascular fitness and endurance levels which are important to your overall health and well-being.

3. Strengthens Bones and Muscles

Hopping and jumping are weight-bearing exercises that put stress on your bones and muscles. This can be a great advantage in preventing osteoporosis and sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) as you age.

4. Enhances Cognitive Skills and Memory

Playing hopscotch requires you to remember numbers, patterns, rules, and strategies. This helps you enhance your cognitive skills and memory, which are essential for learning and problem-solving.

5. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Playing hopscotch is a fun and relaxing way to release your stress and anxiety. It helps you distract yourself from preoccupied thoughts and be present. It also releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals that make you feel happy and calm.

6. Fosters Your Social and Emotional Skills

Playing hopscotch is a great way to socialize and make friends. It helps you develop your social and emotional skills, such as communication, cooperation, empathy, and sportsmanship. It also boosts your self-esteem and confidence as you achieve goals and overcome challenges.


Hopscotch is a fun and easy game that can be played by kids and adults alike. It’s a great way to exercise, learn, socialize, and have fun at the same time. All you need is chalk and a lagger to draw a hopscotch board on the ground and start hopping. You can also be a single player in hopscotch.

Hopscotch is a game that never gets old or boring because it can be adapted to different levels of difficulty and creativity. We hope this guide helped you learn how to play hopscotch and inspired you to try it yourself or with others.

So what are you waiting for? Grab some chalk and a lager, and start hopping today! You’ll be surprised by how much fun you’ll have and how good you’ll feel. Hopscotch is the ultimate playground game for kids and adults!

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Emily Davis
Emily Davis

A Richmond native, Emily Davis combined her love for her city with her passion for parenting to create As a mother of two, Emily understands the joys and challenges of parenthood and established the site to connect, support, and inspire local families. When she's not sharing valuable parenting tips, Emily is exploring Richmond with her children or diving into her hobby of photography.

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