How to Play Hopscotch (or Potsy)

I remember playing hopscotch mostly on the sidewalk; but there were times that we played in courtyards and in our backyard. On a hard surface, chalk was usually used to draw the playing area. On dirt surfaces, a stick was used to draw the boxes. Drawing with sticks in the dirt is a game in itself!

There are many versions of hopscotch and children often created their own rules or adaptations of the game. There are also other names for hopscotch. Karen, a friend of mine in Bellingham, remembers playing Potsy when she was growing up in New York. Potsy is another name for hopscotch. It was also the name for an adaptation of hopsctoch. In the potsy variation, a tin can is doubled over and flattened with the heel and then kicked from flagstone to flagstone. In this variation, the flattened can is referred to as the potsy.

The most common rules for hopscotch from my childhood were that each player tries to make their way through the entire field of play, starting with box 1.

The player is out if she doesn’t throw the marker (which can be a pebble, beanbag or whatever else you have at your disposal) into the correct box; if the player steps on a line; if the player loses her balance when bending over to pick up the marker; if the player steps in a box where the marker is or if the player lands with two feet in a single square. If any of these infractions occur, then the player loses her turn and resumes from where they left off after the other players take their turns. The first player to make it through the course wins.

What variation did you play? How did you make it harder?

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