About the game

Hopscotch (or Hoppy as it is called in Australia) has been around for a very long time. The earliest known Hopscotch pattern is a row of six parallel lines (like a ladder with rungs but no sides) from the seventeenth century, although the game itself is much older than this. Some people think it might date back to Ancient Rome. In the past, Hopscotch games were played by both adults and children, boys as well as girls. Now, it’s mostly a children’s game.

Children all over the world play Hopscotch in much the same way, but the patterns they draw can be very different. Children in Scotland have a game called Banana Beds where the pattern is like bananas lying next to each other. In Japan there is a pattern that looks like an old telephone with a rotary dial, and in France there is Escargot, a pattern that looks like a snail. In Vietnam there is a game called Build A House, which has floods, fires and the Mekong River, and in China there is a game with a pig’s head at the top of the pattern where a pudding or a cat’s head was drawn in some other countries. There are many different versions of the game, depending on where you live, where you play and who you play with.

In Australian schoolyards, the most common pattern is Aeroplane Hoppy with eight squares. It’s usually painted on the ground, or embedded in the artificial playground surface so, unfortunately, it can’t be changed. Some schools have chalk for children to use at recess and lunch time, so they can draw their own patterns and make up their own games. This means that Hopscotch can last for the whole term or longer because it’s always changing.

There are two kinds of Hopscotch games:
                           Games with a taw
                           Games without a taw

A taw is the playing piece you throw into a square before you start hopping. You can find out more about taws on another page of this website.

Games without a taw sometimes involve different actions, like hopping in a certain way or following instructions called out by another player. One version of the game uses a ball.

There are three ways of winning a game of Hopscotch: being the first person to complete the whole game, being the last person playing when everyone else has dropped out, and owning the most squares with your initials in them.

Playing on a 12-square Hopscotch pattern drawn with chalk
These girls are playing Ball-scotch with a basketball
Children who live in this Malaysian village have scratched Hopscotch grids into the ground

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