Hopscotch is one of the most popular traditional children’s games in Spain and much of Latin America. Also known as Cascayu in Asturias, Mariola in Galicia or Sambori in the Valencian Community, the game has a thousand names but its essence has remained practically unchanged over time. In fact, it is a very common game in schoolyards, but it can also be an excellent alternative for the whole family to play and have a fun time.
How did the game of hopscotch come about?
The origin of the game of hopscotch is not known with certainty, but it is believed that it developed in Renaissance Europe, back in the 16th century. According to this theory, the game would be based on the book “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri, specifically in the episode in which the character leaves Purgatory and has to cross nine worlds to reach Paradise. Hence, the player represents the character, the stone his soul and the different squares, the nine worlds.
In its beginnings, each player acted as a token and had to jump to the lame leg from square to square to push the stone that represented his soul. Starting from Earth, the goal of the game was to get to Heaven, taking care not to fall into Hell along the way. In no case should the stone touch a line since between Heaven and Earth there are no borders or visible separations.
However, over the years, the game has lost this spiritual and almost religious connotation to become a common children’s game whose main objective is to make the entire journey on one leg, testing skills, both physical and psychological, of the smallest of the house.
The benefits of the game of hopscotch for children
Hopscotch is an excellent game to stimulate children’s motor development as it improves balance and coordination from an early age. Likewise, it is a good exercise to train visual-motor coordination, while it enhances agility, reaction capacity and aerobic activity in children. It also helps strengthen the leg muscles and release tension.
Recommended from 4 years of age, this game also provides many advantages for the cognitive development and learning of the little ones. Not only does it help younger children become familiar with numbers, but it is also a good memory exercise for those who have already mastered basic math. It also stimulates attention and concentration, while developing problem solving and encouraging logical thinking.
In addition, it is an excellent game to encourage patience in children and teach them to wait their turn, in the same way that it trains their frustration tolerance from an early age and in a fun way. It’s also an ideal way to stimulate social interaction, whether it’s encouraging them to make new friends or strengthening the relationship with the ones they already have, while also teaching them some basic rules in social relationships.
Take action! How do you play hopscotch?
Playing hopscotch is very simple. To start, you only need a flat stone and with the help of chalk, draw the hopscotch diagram on the ground. In the most common version of the game, the diagram is made up of small rectangles or squares with the numbers from 1 to 10. In this way, the number 1 box is drawn, then two boxes with the numbers 2 and 3 are painted on top. , above another with the number 4, then another two with the numbers 5 and 6, another with the number 7, followed by another two with the numbers 8 and 9 and, finally, a box with the number 10. However, there are other versions that go up to the number 9 or with a final box in the shape of a semicircle.
Regardless of the version of the game, the player must stand behind the first number and throw the stone with his hand. In the most popular version, the stone must land on the square with the number 1, which is called “house” and cannot be stepped on. Thus, the player begins to go around the circuit jumping on one leg in the simple squares and with both feet in the double squares. When you reach the end, you must make a 180º turn in the last square and return to the initial square to pick up the stone.
Back at the start, the player picks up the stone from the square just before and continues to the starting square. Once in the first square, throw the stone again, this time to square number 2, and go back along the path, and so on. The goal is to complete the entire series, passing the stone from square to square each turn until reaching 10. The first player to complete all the routes according to the rules of the game wins the game.
The rules of the game of hopscotch
The rules of the game of hopscotch are quite simple, but very strict. The player who breaks some of the rules must give his turn to the next player. Therefore, it is advisable to be very attentive to all the rules of the game to avoid skipping any and quickly becoming the winner of the match.
- When throwing the stone, it must fall within the corresponding box and must not touch the lines. Otherwise, the turn passes to the next player.
- When jumping over the squares, the dividing lines must never be touched. If so, the player loses his turn.
- In double boxes you can put both feet, one in each box, but on the other hand you can only put one foot. The player who breaks this rule loses his turn.
- In the square where the stone is, the feet are never placed. If the square coincides with a double, you can only jump to the one leg in the joint square.
- In case of having a box with a semicircle shape, it is allowed to rest with both feet.