Hopscotch History

History of Hopscotch:

Hopscotch is rumored to have been invented by the Romans, in order to train their army. The soldiers would hop through the courses, which would be 100 feet in length, in full armor to build their endurance and keep them fit. However, some claim that the Chinese created the game. Supposedly, earlier variations of hopscotch in China, involved boxes drawn in to the ground, with a puck to represent a soul and the object of the game to reach heaven.

 Indeed, with all these theories, the earliest recorded reference to hopscotch was in 1677! The game was titled ‘Scotch-Hoppers’ by Poor Robin’s Almanac in 1707, and was an all boys’ game. But there are many different names for hopscotch, including ‘Hop-Score’ in Yorkshire, ‘Scotch Hobby’ in Suffolk where boys would hold another boy on their back while hopping through the course, and in North Britain, ‘Peevers’ or ‘Pabats’. In India, it is called Stapu.

 Different variations of the game include the French version: Escargot (snail). In Escargot, the course is spiraled and there is no neutral or ‘safe’ zone at the end. Instead, players hop on one foot to the end of the course and back, making sure to avoid and hop over squares marked with other players’ initials. At the beginning of the game, each player marks a square with his or her name or initials. Everyone must hop over other player’s marked squares but his or her own. Players may jump with both feet in to their square however. Each time a player takes their turn, they may mark another square, thus increasing the difficulty for the other players. The game ends when a player can no longer reach the end and it is won by the player who has the most marked squares.

 So now, whenever you’re out playing hopscotch, whether it’s by yourself or with your friends, you’ll know where it came from.

By: Sarah Taylor

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